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Our Mutual Friend (Vintage Dickens)by Charles Dickens
Synopses & Reviews
The author of How to Be Good and High Fidelity contributes an introduction to this classic—a sophisticated mystery, a love story, and a tale of the corruptive power of wealth
John Harmon returns to England after years in exile to claim his inheritance: a great fortune and a beautiful young woman to whom he is betrothed, but has never met. When Harmon's body is pulled out of the Thames, all of London is fascinated by the mystery of the murdered man and his unclaimed riches. Scavengers, social-climbers, lawyers, teachers, a money-lender, a dolls-dressmaker, and men and women both honest and villainous will all become embroiled in this tale of love and obsession, death and rebirth.
John Harmon is a young man estranged from his family, yet on his way from South Africa to London to receive his inheritance. But, according to his father's will, he can only claim it if he marries Bella Wilfer, a beautiful London girl whom he has never met. Before John arrives to claim his birthright, an unknown body is found drowned in the Thames and identified as him. The money passes instead to family servants Mr. and Mrs. Boffin, who welcome into their home the disappointed bride-to-be. But when their associate Silas Wegg tries to blackmail the Boffins with an alternative will, Bella must decide where her loyalties lie.
A sophisticated mystery, a love story and a tale of the corruptive power of wealth. This was Dickens' final complete novel and is a testament to his comic genius.
When John Harmon returns to England to receive his inheritance he learns he can only claim it if he marries Bella Wilfer. To observe her more closely he takes on another identity and begins to work for her guardian, Mr Boffin. This darkly comic novel transports the reader from the murky world of London's scavengers to the social climbers seated at the Veneering's dinner table. Memorable villains and enchanting heroes people Dickens' final complete novel.
About the Author
CHARLES DICKENS was born on February 7, 1812 in Landport in Portsmouth. His father was a clerk in the Navy Pay Office who often ended up in financial trouble. When Dickens was twelve years' old he was sent to work in a shoe polish factory because his father had been imprisoned for debt. In 1833 he began to publish short stories and essays in newspapers and magazines. The Pickwick Papers, his first commercial success, was published in 1836, the same year that he married Catherine Hogarth. The serialisation of Oliver Twist began in 1837 while The Pickwick Papers was still running. Many other novels followed and Dickens became a celebrity in America as well as Britain. He also set up and edited the journals Household Words (1850-9) and All the Year Round (1859-70). Charles Dickens died on June 9, 1870 leaving his last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.
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