What are the roles of Datchery and Deputy in the book?

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The character of Dick Datchery is one of the many mysteries in Charles Dickens ’s novel about Edwin Drood’s disappearance. A stranger with vivid white, apparently in disguise, arrives in Cloistenham and takes rooms near Jasper; he tells no one of his business there, professing to be idle. Much of...

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The character of Dick Datchery is one of the many mysteries in Charles Dickens’s novel about Edwin Drood’s disappearance. A stranger with vivid white, apparently in disguise, arrives in Cloistenham and takes rooms near Jasper; he tells no one of his business there, professing to be idle. Much of his time is devoted to following Jasper, and he is obviously intent on finding the truth about Edwin’s fate. In part he appears late in the unfinished novel, the reader never learns his true identity. Along with other elements of the book’s resolution, over the years many people have speculated on his identity. Among the suggestions are Mr. Grewgious, Bazzard, Tartar, or Helen Landless (as it is mentioned that she has earlier disguised herself as a boy). A notable speculation is that rather than a character per se, he is a representation of the novelist, as Dickens was experimenting with literary form by inserting himself into the action.

Datchery’s investigation includes speaking with the Princess Puffer, who helps them learn of Jasper’s opium habit. Datchery keeps track of the information by chalking it on his wall. Datchery also learns that an old woman had asked a young man, who said his name was Edward, for money to buy opium.

Datchery has hired the Deputy to keep track of Jasper’s whereabouts. Only Datchery knows his real name.

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