Alas! we shall never know the true fate of Edwin Drood, or whether the one who acts with obvious villainy is truly the villain. Nor shall we know which of several potential suitors, if any, eventually wins the hand of the beautiful but delicate Miss Rose Bud. What sinister purpose was served by Jasper's midnight visit to the crypt? And is the inquisitive Mr. Datchery a detective, a blackmailer, or neither?
From its opening scene in a London opium den, it's apparent that The Mystery of Edwin Drood was to have been a shade darker than Dickens' previous novels and more akin to the "sensation novels" of Wilkie Collins. Yet it is still suffused with Dickens' startling wit and peopled with his unique and lovable eccentrics. It's such a shame that he died with the second half of the novel unwritten.