The Last Dickens: Book summary and reviews of The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl

The Last Dickens

By Matthew Pearl

The Last Dickens
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2009,
    400 pages.

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Book Summary

In his most enthralling novel yet, the critically acclaimed author Matthew Pearl reopens one of literary history’s greatest mysteries. The Last Dickens is a tale filled with the dazzling twists and turns, the unerring period details, and the meticulous research that thrilled readers of the bestsellers The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow.

Boston, 1870. When news of Charles Dickens’s untimely death reaches the office of his struggling American publisher, Fields & Osgood, partner James Osgood sends his trusted clerk Daniel Sand to await the arrival of Dickens’s unfinished novel. 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 he hopes will save his venerable business and reveal Daniel’s killer.

Danger and intrigue abound on the journey to England, for which Osgood has chosen Rebecca Sand, Daniel’s older sister, to assist him. 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 Dickens’s 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 murderous mastermind.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Some awkward prose distracts ... while the ending may strike some readers as a cop-out." - Publishers Weekly.

"A pleasing whodunit that resolves nicely, bookending Dan Simmons's novel Drood as an imaginative exercise in what might be called alternative literary history." - Kirkus Reviews.

"A whole world of life-and-death nefariousness awaits both him and the reader, who will be well rewarded." - Booklist.

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Author Information

Matthew Pearl Author Biography

Photo: Sigrid Estrada

Matthew Pearl is the author of the novels The Dante Club, The Poe Shadow, The Last Dickens, and The Technologists. His books have been New York Times bestsellers and international bestsellers translated into more than 30 languages. His nonfiction writing has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe and Slate.com. He has been heard on shows including NPR's All Things Considered and Weekend Edition Sunday.

Matthew Pearl grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and is a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School. He has also taught literature and creative writing at Harvard University and Emerson College, and has been a Visiting Lecturer in law and literature at Harvard Law School. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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