Collins, C. A. Soft Cover. London: Chapman & Hall, 1870. First Edition. Good.
April, 1870 - September, 1870. First edition in the original six monthly parts. Original publishers blue-green pictorial wrappers with illustrations by C.A. Collins, with thirteen of the fourteen plates, including engraved portrait of Dickens and vignette title, by Samuel Luke Fildes. Part 6 in earliest state with "Price Eighteenpence" pasted over the printed "Price One Shilling" (later states are printed with the corrected price); Part 5 with only the first of three advertisements at rear; Part 4 without the 8-page Chapman & Hall inset, as usual, else complete; Part 3 with only the first and third out of the five rear advertisements usually found; Part 2 lacking the Gaimes, Sanders & Nicol ad on cork, as usual, as well as the other back advertisement and the rear wrapper; Part 1 lacking "Edwin Drood Advertiser" insert at front, also lacking plate No. 1 and fifth ad in back advertisements, as well as rear wrapper; all leaves disbound from original string binding, p. 17-32 have been hand sewn together with rear insert, with the advertisements placed in front of p. 17 rather than after the text. A good set with significant wear and soiling, but presentable with the complete text of Dicken's last published work. Hatton & Cleaver pp. 373-384. Originally published serially in the six monthly installments, The Mystery of Edwin Drood was also published in book form on August 31, 1870. Both the later serial installments and the first book form edition were published posthumously after Dickens' death in June 1870, leaving the novel unfinished. The story is named after the titular character Edwin Drood, although the text largely focuses on his uncle John Jasper, an opium addict and choir master who is romantically interested in his nephew's fiancé. In the story, Drood disappears under mysterious circumstances, and, due to Dicken's premature death at 58, the mystery is never resolved. Accordingly, many of the novel's fans speculate as to whether or not Drood is dead and, if so, who killed him. Many authors have attempted to resolve the plot, including Dickens' son Charley in 1873 and Thomas James, a Vermont-based printer and con artist who claimed to have channeled the deceased Dickens and learned his intended ending for the novel.