The Drood Readalong opens at last!

Well here we are at last. On 1 April 2014, at around 8am GBT, the doors to The Drood Inquiry will open – just a fraction – as we gear up for our September launch. When you visit, you will find access to the Case Review and Character Profiles, providing you with the first monthly instalment of Dickens’s story, and a rundown of the various people you will find frequenting it. This is an opportunity for us to give you a sneak peek of what to expect in September, when we’ll be offering more pages detailing not only Dickens’s stories but the theories and solutions as well; it’s also an opportunity for you to feedback to us if you have any suggestions for layout, or (fingers crossed not the case) any technical issues or glitches you discover in your use of the early site.

Meanwhile, and more importantly, with the release of the first instalment tomorrow, the Drood readalong will begin over here on Cloisterham Tales. John Drew will be opening discussion with some thoughts on the first instalment, and then it’s over to you to add your own ideas and comments  – all are welcome. There is only one rule that we insist upon, and it is this – NO SPOILERS!  Reading a month at a time allows us to try and imagine what it was like for first-time readers, and central to that idea is to assume no knowledge of what happens in the coming months – moreover, we have a lot of new readers joining us who will not appreciate having key plot details revealed along the way. Please note, for those of you who prefer to read from a hardcopy rather than a screen, the first monthly instalment comprises of chapter one to five – no reading ahead!

Other than that one rule, discussion is open to go in whatever direction interests you. As the month progresses other guest bloggers will come in with particular ideas or themes that they have been struck by, as well as interesting pieces of contextual information to give you a fuller sense of Drood as it first appeared. We’re looking forward to reading with you all.

Published by Pete Orford

I'm course director of the MA in Charles Dickens Studies at the University of Buckingham in conjunction with the Dickens Museum in London. I am currently editing Pictures from Italy for the Oxford Dickens collection, and I'm Chief Investigator for The Drood Inquiry ( My book "The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Charles Dickens’s unfinished novel and our endless attempts to end it" was published by Pen and Sword Books in 2018.

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