Ten members of Whodunit attended the June meeting. We discussed the historical novel "The last Dickens" by Matthew Pearl.
As is our usual custom we each gave the book a rating out of a possible 10 points. "The last Dickens" garnered an average score of 5.66 with only two members saying they would read another title by this author.
Plot summary from Wikipedia:
The novel is set in the US, England, and India in 1867 and 1870. When news of Charles Dickens’s untimely death reaches the office of his struggling American publisher, Fields & Osgood, partner James R. Osgood sends his trusted clerk Daniel Sand to await Dickens’s unfinished last novel – The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
But when Daniel’s body is discovered by the docks and the manuscript
is nowhere to be found, Osgood must embark on a transatlantic quest to
unearth the novel that will save his venerable business and reveal
Daniel’s killer. Danger and intrigue abound on the journey, for which
Osgood has chosen Rebecca Sand, Daniel’s older sister, to help clear her
brother’s name and achieve their singular mission. As they attempt to
uncover Dickens’s final mystery, Osgood and Rebecca find themselves
racing the clock through a dangerous web of literary lions and drug
dealers, sadistic thugs and blue bloods, and competing members of the
inner circle. They soon realize that understanding Dickens’s lost ending
is a matter of life and death, and the hidden key to stopping a
The novel also includes interspersed sections about Charles Dickens's 1867 reading tour of the United States
The novel was well researched and had a lot of potential.
The cover was attractive.
Members enjoyed finding out about the remarkable and fascinating Charles Dickens.
It was interesting to read about the social conditions of the 1870s.
It was hard to connect with the myriad characters, thus it was hard to connect with the novel.
The novel was verbose and over-long, with a subplot set in India which seemed unnecessary.
Amazingly researched, but poor execution of the fictional rendition.
The novel didn't live up to its potential.
The novel was described as an historical thriller. The Whodunit members could not find anything 'thrilling' about it.
Some suggested that this author, with his talents for historical research would be more suited to writing narrative non-fiction.
There will be NO July meeting of the Whodunit Book Club. Our next meeting will be held on August 25th when we will discuss "The Drop Zone" by Bob Kroll.
The lucky winners of free books this month were: