The Drood Inquiry

Witness Statements

The death of the reporter of these events, Mr Charles Dickens, brings the investigation to an abrupt end; his publishers Chapman and Hall have claimed in a public statement that ‘Beyond the clues therein afforded to its conduct or catastrophe, nothing whatever remains’. And yet subsequently, four of Mr Dickens’s friends and family have come forward with details which he revealed to them before his death. We must therefore ask ourselves how it is this information did not arise sooner - were the four trying to suppress Dickens’ plans to maintain the mystery? Had the publishers failed to thoroughly investigate for any surviving knowledge of the story’s conclusion? Or, as some have argued, are the four statements to be viewed with suspicion? Of the many who have attacked the following witness statements, Gavin Brend gave the most articulate discussion in ‘Edwin Drood and the Four Witnesses” (The Dickensian, 52, 1956). He argues that the delay between Dickens’s death and the release of these witness statements suggests either that we cannot rely on them as accurate memorial reconstructions, or more damning yet that they may be deliberate falsehoods told by the witnesses in later life to capitalise on their link to a renowned author.