it's been a while since i've read any dickens and i don't know if i was properly in the mood for this one -- i found his padding to be a little frustrating, perhaps because i knew that i would come to the end of the book without there being a resolution. especially frustrating were the pages dedicated to the domestic battle of wills between billickin, and twinkleton. but there is some beautiful language here, and the characters breathe. the main mystery for me is who is mr. datchery? it seems to me he has come to solve the mystery of edwin drood but i don't know why -- personal curiousity, a debt of honour to an old friend? i dearly would love to know his story. it will be interesting to see if the book drood, by dan simmons touches upon him at all, and if it will shed some light.