The Drood Inquiry

Kate Peruginni

Though Kate Peruginni never claimed to have been told anything directly regarding Drood’s conclusion, as Dickens’s daughter, and wife of Charles Alliston Collins, she had to close relations to the creative force behind The Mystery of Edwin Drood and her opinions therefore are not without merit. In addition to speaking forcefully in favour of Forster’s recollections of Dickens’s intentions, she also spoke of her father’s interest as an author, arguing that ‘It was not for the intricate working of the plot alone, that my father cared to write this story.’ Instead, she felt:

he was quite as deeply fascinated and absorbed in the study of the criminal Jasper, as in the dark and sinister crime that has given the book its title, but it was through his wonderful observation of character, and his strange insight into the tragic secrets of the human heart, that he desired his greatest triumph to be achieved.

This brings to mind Dickens’s letter to Forster suggesting that the end would be something “not communicable”; in other words, to simply summarise the plot would be to strip the scene of its power, whereas the true triumph of the story’s conclusion would not be in a surprise twist, but the way in which Dickens described it.