Winter/Spring 2023: The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens

February 26, March 26, and April 30 at 1:00-3:00 PM (PDT) | Virtual Event


The next three Pickwick Club sessions will focus on Dickens’s last and most enigmatic work, the unfinished Mystery of Edwin Drood. Considered by many lovers of detective fiction to be the ultimate mystery novel, since its author died without providing a solution, Drood has challenged and intrigued the imaginations of generations of readers.

Join Dickens enthusiast, writer, and Friends of the Dickens Project board member, Carl Wilson for a series of discussions about this book. Wilson notes:

"I first read Drood in 1980 when Leon Garfield published his completion of the novel. I was fascinated then, and still am, by his theory that Dickens would have presented Jasper as a divided self, anticipating Stevenson's Jekyll and Hyde by almost twenty years. Although no one will truly know, that theory has stayed with me since, and I would suggest that first-time readers pay close attention to Dickens's various descriptions of Jasper throughout the five completed and sixth partially completed monthly numbers."


Reading Schedule

The Mystery of Edwin Drood reading schedule
February 26 Chapters 1-9 zoom-video-recording button
March 26 Chapters 10-16 zoom-video-recording button
April 30
Chapters 17-end zoom-video-recording.png

Questions to consider for the first session: The opening chapter reads like almost nothing else that Dickens wrote. What is the purpose of such tortuous writing? What is the result of Dickens choosing to write much of the opening pages in present tense? Wilkie Collins thought that Drood was "the melancholy work of a worn-out brain." Do you agree?

Recommended Edition: We recommend the Penguin Classics edition of the novel for its appendices and notes, but other versions are fine. First-time readers should avoid the Introduction if they don't want spoilers. Download the novel to read at or to listen at

The Santa Cruz Pickwick (Book) Club, a branch of the Dickens Fellowship, is a community of local bookworms, students, and teachers who meet monthly to discuss a nineteenth-century novel. The Santa Cruz Public Libraries provide support for the reading group.

Santa Cruz Public Libraries