First monthly number: case review

Today on the Drood Inquiry you can see the first part of our case notes – a graphic summary of the first monthly part and its main plot points (see ).

At present of course our followers are all taking the opportunity to read the full text in its original instalments, but when the site launches in September, and visitors are asked to give their opinion on the end, we are expecting new visitors to the site who may not have the benefit of a recent reading fresh in their mind. It makes perfect sense therefore to offer a quick summary of the plot so far, either for those who need to refresh their memories, or indeed for new readers who might appreciate an overview before they dive into the full text, and this is where the case notes come in.

But, we asked, why provide simply a written summary when the full text is available on the site, and so at a very early stage we looked into whether we could do something a little bit different. The positive response we received to Alys Jones’ character illustrations tied in to the idea of exploring that visual world of Drood with a graphic novel. You’ll notice therefore that in the case notes words are kept to a minimum; instead the aim, or rather the challenge, is to capture the theme and topic of Dickens’s text in an almost exclusively visual format. This not only requires a frank assessment of what they key plot points might be, but also the hard task of trying to avoid bias or subjectivity in presentation of character. You know, so people can draw their own conclusions (pun intended. And apologised for).

We hope you like the result, and would love to hear your opinion on the rendering of Cloisterham and its inhabitants – is it how you visualised it in your mind’s eye? Let us know.

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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