As is well known, Dickens died before he could complete his novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Last week I watched the new TV adaptation , which had the story finished by Gwyneth Hughes. It’s so long since I read the book that I couldn’t remember where it ended; no doubt that’s why it all seemed pretty seamless to me. The second part was more interesting than the first and with all the opium fantasies floating around you could really believe that Jasper wasn’t sure himself exactly what he’d done. I thought the stalking could have been more frightening and it was something of a cop-out to find at the end that Jasper was a bad man because his daddy didn’t love him. Aaah. Or possibly, Aaargh!
At the weekend I watched all six hours of the 1998 series of Our Mutual Friend, thanks to LoveFilm. It’s difficult to adapt such a long and complex novel for television and this was a good shot. It certainly kept me entertained. Peter Vaughan was superb as Mr Boffin as was David Bradley as Rogue Riderhood. Full marks all round for acting.
On one of my favourite blogs, Mary’s Library, Mary was writing about her continued failure to finish The Pickwick Papers. I struggled with it several times, always failing to get past the unbearable facetiousness of the opening chapters. Eventually I persevered until Sam Weller appeared and he was enough to see me through to the end. There are Dickens novels I enjoy so much that I actually worry that I may not have time to read them again but once was enough for Pickwick. Yet this is the book which made Dickens’ name, which shows how new and fresh it must have appeared at the time. Here’s a little poll to find out if it is bottom of everyone’s list.