Review by Booklist Review
Calling all Dickens fans! Here's a book so delightful, so inventive, you won't know whether to gobble it up in one sitting or keep putting it down, just to prolong the fun. The premise is both ingenious and intriguing: an international conference has been called in Rome (sponsored by the Japanese) to complete unfinished or fragmentary works of music and literature. The attendees include Sherlock Holmes, Philip Marlowe, Hercule Poirot, and Nero Wolfe, among other sleuthing luminaries, all of whom have been assembled to finish The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Dickens' last novel. As the book is read (and imprinted on the detectives' brains through a new Japanese telepathic technique), the group must try to reach a consensus about who killed Drood. Through a brilliant turnaround, however, the ultimate question-- hinted at but only answered in the final pages--becomes, Was Charles Dickens actually murdered? Fruterro and Lucentini cleverly mix the actual text of Drood (worth reading alone) with the ruminations of their distinguished cast, past conjectures about the Drood case, and a nonstop sightseeing tour of Rome. A singular achievement not to be missed. ~--Ilene Cooper
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Charles Dickens died before the last installments of The Mystery of Edwin Drood were written, so the book has tantalized readers for many years. In this clever combination of literary scholarship and satire, such famous fictitious detectives as Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Jules Maigret, and others gather at a conference in Rome to mull over the clues and offer their solutions to the mystery. As the discussion continues and the characters interact, even the relationship between Dickens and Wilkie Collins is brought into question. The text of The Mystery of Edwin Drood (also known as MED) is interspersed between their discussions. This is a very pleasant way of reading literary criticism. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-- Ann Irvine, Montgomery Cty. P.L., Md. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A bevy of fictional detectives--from Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown to Raskolnikov's nemesis, Porfiry Petrovich--convene at a conference in Rome to complete Dickens's last novel, left tantalizingly incomplete at the author's death. The playful collaborators (The Sunday Woman, 1973) intersperse chapters of Drood with their detectives' speculations; hence, most of the words here are Dickens's--and terrific words they are, as jovial, empty-headed Edwin Drood confesses his non-love to his long-plighted troth Rosa Bud (a non-sentiment she completely reciprocates); quarrels with swarthy, intense Neville Landless; and disappears following a Christmas Eve reconciliation party given by his opium-smoking uncle, choirmaster John Jasper--all amid a swirl of unforgettable minor luminaries, from kindly minor canon Septimus Crisparkle and fatuous auctioneer Thomas Sapsea to hypersensitive Helena Landless and mysterious investigator Dick Datchery. Dickens is a tough act to follow, however, and the present-day chapters are weakened further by the authors' (or their translator's) tin ear for the speech of Nero Wolfe, Philip Marlowe, and Lew Archer; of all the fictional detectives here, only Hercule Poirot consistently shines in a surprising variety of roles. After reviewing the evidence and endlessly debating the long-contested premise of Jasper's guilt, the conference plumps for a solution that's surprising, logical, well-documented, and entirely new--though most readers will wonder whether it's really worth all the byplay that precedes it. A clever, eventually successful tour de force, mostly for audiences who'd like to renew their acquaintance with Drood--and who don't mind paying top dollar for the privilege.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.