Keshena Hanson: The Mystery of Edwin Drood – Solved! (Maybe)

John Jasper has just confessed to the murder of his nephew in front of Rosa Bud. Unknown to him, Datchery is listening in, having investigating him for many months. Datchery goes to find a police officer and they arrive just in time as Rosa is about to agree to marry Jasper for if she doesn’t, he will kill Helena and Neville Landless. The twins have become Rosa Bud’s most trusted friends in the time of Edwin’s murder. With Datchery’s observation, and Rosa’s confirmation, Jasper realizes he is caught and allows himself to go quietly. Just as the officer went to place the handcuffs around the wrists of Jasper, the door opens and a shaggy dressed figure enters the room.

“Wait, stop!” He calls, his knotted beard swaying as he speaks, “This man is innocent, at least of murder. I can explain.”

The room paused, confused by the man’s statement. But, one by one, they recognized him as Edwin Drood!

With the unexpected return of a very much alive Edwin Drood, the mystery was fully revealed. After his talk with Neville Landless that supposedly fateful evening, Drood began to make his way home. He paused outside of a pub on his way though, intrigued by the cheers and celebration of a group of travelers. They invited him in and told him tales of their thrilling adventures, traveling from coast to coast, meeting new, exciting people, seeing the most exotic lands. In the morning they would leave for Egypt, not to return for several months. Drood, now free of the unwanted marriage, accepted their invitation to go with them without a second thought. So after joining the party, he left with the men and they passed along the same river Edwin had met Neville just a few hours prior. By that river, a couple of the men had a quick scuffle in which Edwin tried to intervene, and ended up with all three men falling into the river. From that, he lost his watch and shirt pin, unnoticed by him until much later. As for the ring, before he and the travels go aboard a ship, he goes to his father’s grave to apologize for not marrying Rosa and leaves the ring there where it would be found several months later, adding to the belief that Edwin was killed.

But why did Jasper confess to a murder that didn’t happen? He was under the influence of opium and was dreaming. When he learned of his nephew’s disappearance, all he could remember was that dream and imagined that it had indeed happened. He was remorseful at first, terrified of what he thought he had done, but then the realization that he could have Rosa came through. But, as he hadn’t committed the murder, he was released from custody and was not sent to jail. However, with everyone knowing he thought about murdering his nephew, he would leave Closisterham.

At the end of Drood’s explanation, there was one more realization to be made. Drood himself discovered that Mr. Dick Datchery was not the man he says he is. The disguise then thrown off and revealed the employee of Mr. Grewgious, Mr. Bazzard. Grewgious sent his clerk in disguise to investigate the matter. Mr. Bazzard willingly did as instructed and followed the leads that he could, leading to what was almost John Jasper’s imprisonment. Following this reveal, Mr. Bazzard would go on to produce the play he had been writing.

As for Rosa Bud, she would not accept Jasper’s proposal of course, and she and Edwin would remain as brother and sister. She would continue to live at the boarding house where she would remain very happy in the presence of her friends, including Helena. Neville would finish his education and take an apprenticeship near the boarding house so that he would be able to see Helena every day.

Everybody is mostly happy, no one dies, and they all continue with their lives.

Edwin Drood is alive because the title of the book and the fact that we never see a body. If it was a murder, wouldn’t we know by the title? Then, after six months, they still have not found any clue? Where ever Drood was hidden wouldn’t spell of a rotten corpse? While the novel makes it obvious that Jasper had something to do with Edwin’s disappearance, it is far too obvious to keep secret. It’s a mystery, what kind of mystery reveals the killer halfway through the novel? Knowing Jasper’s history of substance abuse, and what he dreams of, and talks of when he is under the influence of drugs. Having these dreams, and then his nephew is nowhere to be find, he could have assumed he did it. It would explain why he was so pale when he learned that Drood was missing, and why he assumed it had been murder. He could then focus the suscpion on Neville and leave himself innocent to others. After this, he would realize that no one stood in his way to marrying Rosa, but she would need some “persuasion” (hence, threating to hurt those she cares about).

As for Mr. Bazzard being Datchery, it makes sense that Mr. Grewgious would want to know what happened to Drood and the ring. He was very much attached to it and would have wanted it back. He knew that Mr. Bazzard was interested in theater (he wrote a play after all) so it wouldn’t have been hard for Bazzard to find a costume. We also do not see Bazzard after Drood takes the ring, we only hear about him from Mr. Grewgious. With Grewgious acting as his alibi, he could investigate Drood’s disappearance without fear of being discovered.

And personally, I just like mysteries with happy endings.