Charles Dickens Mystery & Detective Fiction Analysis
Crime and imprisonment are frequent themes in the novels of Charles Dickens; few modern readers are unaware of the efforts of Fagin to ensnare the young Oliver Twist into a life of crime, and few are unaware of the horrible significance of the Bastille and the guillotine in A Tale of Two Cities. Nevertheless, Dickens’s most important works to focus on the nature of crime are Bleak House, the plot of which is the classic mystery-story pattern of the effort to uncover secret guilt, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, that famous unfinished detective novel that has so piqued the interest of numerous amateur sleuths.
Because Dickens spent much time in his early life as a court reporter, he published several minor works focusing on mysterious murder and detective investigations even before Bleak House and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. An early Dickens story, “A Confession Found in a Prison in the Time of Charles the Second,” written in 1841, which has been suggested as the source of Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Tell-Tale Heart,” focuses on the obsession to commit murder. In “Three Detectives: Anecdotes,” published in the early 1850’s, Dickens deals with the methods of the detective branch of the newly created Metropolitan Police Force.
The first of his full-length novels to deal with a mysterious murder and an investigative effort to discover the murderer,...
(The entire section is 1842 words.)
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