Death by Dickens!

Dear Charlie,

I hope you don’t mind that I drew attention to your darker side, but I made a thing.



Also someone posted this excerpt from your notes on Bleak House, which fits in nicely.





P.S. Someone kindly pointed out that I’d forgotten about Oliver’s mom and Oliver’s friend Dick in Oliver Twist, and THREE other characters I had missed in Bleak House. And then someone else reminded me of the baby in Our Mutual Friend I’d forgotten. You’re even more homicidal than I thought. I have now added all of these people, bringing the death toll to 58 people and two dogs. 🙂

P.P.S. It’s been brought to my attention that I forgot about poor Lion, the dog who was poisoned in Little Dorritt, and Jip from David Copperfield. Dog deaths are now up to four, you dog-hating bastard.

P.P.S.S. Here’s the badly formatted key:

Pickwick   Papers Mrs. Weller unknown
Oliver Twist Agnes Fleming childbirth
Nancy beaten
Fagin hung
Bill Sikes fell off a roof and hung himself
Bullseye fell off a roof
Nicholas Nickleby Ralph Nickleby suicide – hung himself
Smike tuberculosis
Old Curiosity Shop Nell Trent unknown
Daniel Quilp drowned in marsh
Barnaby Rudge Hugh hung
Dennis hung
John Chester duel
Martin Chuzzlewit Jonas Chuzzlewit suicide – poison
Montague Tigg stabbed/staked
Dombey & Son Paul Dombey unknown
James Carker hit by a train
Mrs. Skewton complicatons from stroke
Alice “worn out”
David Copperfield Clara Copperfield died of “firmness”
baby Murdstone unknown
Mr. Barkis rheumatism?
Francis Spenlow fell out of a carriage
Dora Spenlow unknown
Jip old age / broken heart
Ham Pegotty drowned in storm
James Steerforth drowned in storm
Nicholas Nickleby Walter Bray guilty conscience?
Frederick Verisopht duel
Bleak House Nemo opium overdose
Jenny’s baby unknown
Neckett “illness”
Grindley law suit fatigue
Krook spontaneous combustion
Jo complications from smallpox
Josiah Tulkinghorn shot
Honoria Dedlock exposure
Richard Carstone law suit fatigue
Hard Times Stephen Blackpool fell down a hole
Merrylegs old age
Jupe unknown
Little Dorrit William Dorrit unknown
Frederick Dorrit unknown
Merdle suicide – cut his throat
Lion poisoned
Rigaud/Lagnier crushed by a house
Tale of Two Cities St. Evrémonde stabbed in bed
Terese Dafarge shot
Sydney Carton beheaded
Great Expectations Mrs. Gargery complications from head injury
Compeyson drowned?
Abel Magwitch complications from fight
Miss Havisham complications from burn
Our Mutual Friend George Radfoot drowned
Gaffer Hexam drowned
Baby Johnny just died
Betty Higden old age
Roger Riderhood drowned
Bradley Headstone drowned
Edwin Drood Edwin Drood ???




20 comments on “Death by Dickens!

  1. Jonesey says:

    This is awesome in too many ways to count.

  2. Lorena says:

    Over the past year, I’ve had regular updates on Mr. Dickens’ death rates but to see it all in a beautiful chart … truly amazing!

  3. Karen K. says:

    That’s all kinds of awesome!!! I especially love the graphic for Arthur’s mother dying via collapsing house in Little Dorrit. Reminds me of The Wizard of Oz.

    And is there a key? I’m pretty good at guessing most of them but it’s been awhile since I read some of the books (I still have three to go: Pickwick, Drood, and OCS, plus some of the shorter works. My favorite by far is Bleak House.

    Love your blog, now I’ll have to go back and read the entire thing!

    • melissa says:

      Thanks! I do have a key, but it’s a very messy Excel spreadsheet at the moment. Maybe I’ll purdy it up and post it too. 🙂

      Also, I don’t know if it’ll make you feel any better, but the house graphic was for Rigaud. Arthur’s mom actually made it to the end of the book unscathed. 😉

  4. Sonja Schardt says:

    Great! I really like that! I am just reading “Barnaby Rudge” for the first time; now I know what I have to expect.
    So far (in my reading) nobody has been killed yet.

  5. Marsha says:

    Wow! I especially like the graphic of the character in Bleak House who died of spontaneous human combustion.

  6. Ciarán says:

    “One would have to have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without dissolving into tears… of laughter.” – Oscar Wilde

  7. Liesa says:

    Oh Melissa. There are no words to describe how awesome this is.

  8. Cecilia says:

    My favorite is James Carker´s. I´ll wait for that key…

  9. Tom says:

    Unless I’m mistaken… Little Johnny dies in Mutual Friend.

  10. Kim says:

    Great! I’d love to order this as a poster.

  11. Lewis says:

    Gride is murdered in his bed by thieves in Nicholas Nickleby.

  12. Will Nettles says:

    There is a confirmed death in Edwin Drood, the only character who knew what actually happened to Drood died before he could finish telling the story.

    But he probably didn’t die as a direct result of the narrative, the speaking tours and the London air probably were more at fault.
    Thanks for posting this blog. W

  13. Jim says:

    Hate to be a pessimist but Dickens killed off a third dog. Henry Gowan’s dog, Lion who was poisoned by Rigaud in Little Dorrit.

  14. Jemma says:

    Another dog! Jip in David Copperfield

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