The Last Dickens–Matthew Pearl

This book is amazing.  I had read Pearl’s earlier work, The Dante Club, but had not followed his work since.  I happened upon this novel while on vacation and am delighted.  Dickens is dead and his last novel unfinished–or is it?  James Osgood, of Osgood and Field, Dickens’ American publishers, becomes involved in the search for Dickens last pages as he investigates the death of his employee, Daniel Sand.  Daniel happens to be the brother of the young widow, Rebecca Sand, who is one of the women to recently join the firm’s office and who joins Osgood on his quest.  The story moves from Boston to New York to England to India and back and between the time of Dickens’ death and his first American tour, but Pearl brings it all together in a masterful conclusion.  In the meantime, he explores issues of gender, early publishing, and New York politics in the late nineteenth century that make this more than just a historical crime drama.  Now I have to find The Poe Shadow.

Finished 5/21/12

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