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Publisher's Summary

A thrilling radio re-imagining telling the story of Charles Dickens' last days and providing a brand-new conclusion to his famous unfinished novel.

April, 1870. Bone-weary, sick and struggling with a hidden guilt, Charles Dickens is grappling with what will be his final book - The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Two months later, he is dead and the novel remains unfinished: only six of the 12 planned instalments had been completed.

Centring around the title character, whose sudden disappearance throws the town of Cloisterham into a panic, the story introduces us to a host of potential suspects who could have caused him harm. Edwin's fiancée, Rosa Bud, was having second thoughts about their engagement, his uncle, John Jasper, was known to be jealous of him, and orphan twins Neville and Helena Landless had both tangled with Edwin too. Rumours of murder abound, but his fate is left unanswered....

Set in a phantasmagorical, drug-fuelled landscape where nobody is who or what they claim to be, and motives are more tangled than the alleyways of the nightmare city where the action unfolds, this compelling mystery is one of the greatest puzzles of literature. In this new, fast-moving and impressionistic retelling, we track Dickens as he works on the novel in the weeks before his death and follow his daughter Kate as she strives to solve the mystery of who killed Drood - and understand the demon that drove her father to fatal exhaustion.

Also included is a bonus documentary, The Mystery of the Mystery of Edwin Drood, in which Frances Fyfield uses her crime writer's insights to try and find out what really happened to Dickens' eponymous hero.

Cast and credits:

Written by Charles Dickens. Adapted by Mike Walker. Produced and directed by Jeremy Mortimer. Executive producer: James Robinson.

Kate Dickens...Pippa Nixon

John Jasper...Joel McCormack

Edwin Drood...Iwan Davies

Rosa Bud...Isabella Inchbald

Princess Puffer...Rachel Atkins

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 21st December 2020-1st January 2021.

The Mystery of the Mystery of Edwin Drood

Presented by Frances Fyfield. With Simon Brett and Professor Jenny Hartley. Produced by Tom Alban.

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 19th January 2021.

©2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

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  • 11-13-21

Appalling, Insulting, Amateur Production Failure

This is one of the worst versions of Edwin Drood. A production failure. The storyline is weak. There is no drama. No Over the top characters that Charles Dickens is notorious. The main actress Isabella Inchbald who plays Rosa Budd is so flat she may as well be working in a modern washing up commercial she is bland has no vigour, no style, absolutely no idea how to portray a character in the style of Charles Dickens, which totally spoils this production. So irritating is also the fact they blatantly use a Girl for the scene of cheeky boy character at the graveyard tomb with Mr Durdles. Pathetic & annoying. I have several audio productions of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, all of which are very good. You know it is Dickens. This is so amateur it is insulting to Dickens as well as the audience.