Below is an extract, redacted, from a Wikipedia piece on the book I have just finished reading.
The hype surrounding the conclusion of the series was unprecedented; ——- fans were reported to storm the piers of New York City, shouting to arriving sailors (who might have already read the last instalment in the United Kingdom), “Is ——- alive?” In 2007, many newspapers claimed the excitement at the release of the last volume ————– was the only historical comparison that could be made to the excitement at the release of the last Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Any idea which book it might have been?
it was described by Queen Victoria as “very interesting and cleverly written.”
in a 1962 TV version a later Doctor Who played the villain and the actress who later became Frank Spencer’s wife was the heroine.
No more clues. I confess that I had never read the book before but I had read several others by the author. I would certainly add it to my recommended list. It was a rattling good yarn, no less, with large dollops of morality thrown in. The villain is exquisitely drawn. Almost Shakespearean in character perhaps although as this was set in the 19th century it is not one of Bill’s works. The heroine was perhaps a little too good to be true. There was no glue sniffing, no hallucinogenic drugs, no three-day benders on Alco-pops, no screaming for David Cassidy, no wardrobe malfunctions and of course, no four letter words.
Has your curiosity got the better of you yet? Scroll down for the answer.
Well that of course was the final clue. The book was The Old Curiosity Shop. By Charles Dickens no less. I suppose it is one of those classic reads that everybody says they have read but never has. I have several of those. Lord of The Rings is the first that springs to mind. I struggled through The Hobbit but despite half a dozen goes I never made it through TLOTR. I was more an ISIRTA man. No problem with TOCS though. It kept me on edge for a day and a half. If you haven’t read the book yet and feel moved to do so let me warn you that the heroine, Nell, dies and although the villain also meets an unfortunate end I think I could have killed off Quilp in a much better way. Nell’s grandfather also pegs out. Most of the other characters get their just deserts or on the other side live happily ever after. I hope I’m not spoiling it for you.
Dickens never attempts to liven things up with a Super Hero. There is no Super- or Batman although there may have been a robin in there somewhere. He just writes wonderful prose that pushes the story on leaving you, at the end of each chapter, awaiting the next exciting episode. For published in ‘episodes’ it was…….. Imagine, you get your weekly copy of the SCMP Magazine and there is the next chapter of The Old Curiosity Shop. You would wait over 70 weeks until the final chapter were delivered. Personally I thought the horse was a bit of a star and I am not sure Charles D. would be allowed to call a character Dick Swiveller nowadays. I think that would be struck out. I’m sorry Mr. D., could you tone it down a bit please? There may be kiddies reading.
Any way, I am sufficiently enraptured of CD’s writing that I have immediately embarked on Nicholas Nickleby. The splendidly named Wackford Squeers is a man I seem to recall may have once headed up a school I attended. Now this book I have watched serialised on TV but never read. So off we go and I shall (maybe) report back on whether this is another early Potter-work or whether perhaps it is more in the fashion of Jilly Cooper. Please let it be the former.