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About the book
  • Published: 15 August 2016
  • ISBN: 9780099593485
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 816
  • RRP: $27.99

Death and Mr Pickwick


Formats & editions


An extraordinary novel about an extraordinary novel – Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers

Shortlisted for the HWA Goldsboro Debut Crown

It is 31 March 1836. A new monthly periodical is launched entitled The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. Conceived and created by the artist Robert Seymour, it contains four of his illustrations. The words to accompany them are written by a young journalist, under the pen-name Boz. The journalist's real name is Charles Dickens.

The Pickwick Papers soon becomes a phenomenal, unprecedented sensation, read and discussed by the entire British Isles. Before long, its success is worldwide.

Stephen Jarvis's novel tells of the dawning of the age of global celebrity. It is a story of colossal triumph and of the depths of tragedy, based on real events - and an expose of how an ambitious young writer stole another man's ideas.

  • Pub date: 15 August 2016
  • ISBN: 9780099593485
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 816
  • RRP: $27.99

About the Author

Stephen Jarvis

Stephen Jarvis was born in Essex. Death and Mr Pickwick is his first novel.


Praise for Death and Mr Pickwick

“An outstanding debut novel.”

Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

“This is a masterpiece of imagination supported by a mountain of research.”

Christian House, 4 stars, Sunday Telegraph

“This is a masterpiece of imagination supported by a mountain of research.”

Christian House, 4 stars, Sunday Telegraph

“A novel as crowded, rude and brilliantly inventive as the great pre-Dickensian caricatures it celebrates.”

Lucy Hughes-Hallett, Observer

“Some may view this book as a remarkable piece of literary detection, others a dazzlingly written and superbly imagined exposition on how art and writing are gestated and born. Or both.”

Daily Mail

“Astpnishing”

David Sexton, Evening Standard

“It offers a readers experience as immersive as Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, and as visionary in its capacity to connect us with past lives.”

Lucasta Miller, Independent

“A huge and hugely impressive first novel for both fans of immersive reads and of Dickens’ London.”

Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist

“An impressive debut.”

Frances Wilson, New Statesman

“In this astounding first novel, Jarvis re-creates, in loving and exhaustive detail, the writing and publication of Charles Dickens’s first novel, The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club...it is a staggering accomplishment, a panoramic perspective of nineteenth-century London and its creative class.”

Publishers Weekly starred review

“A bravura exercise in fictionalized literary criticism.”

DJ Taylor, Guardian

“You’ll be reluctant to leave its rambunctious world of creative intrigue and betrayal.”

Hephzibah Anderson, Mail on Sunday

“Original and very enjoyable… The narrative may be complex but the reading experience is leisurely and pleasant.”

Lindsay Duguid, The Times Literary Supplement

“It’s a great, rich, swarming, seething broth of a story-behind-a story… You don’t need to be a Dickens nerd like me to be captivated by this epic of ambition and skullduggery.”

Kate Saunders, Saga Magazine

“Richly imaginative,… Jarvis’ first novel represents a major achievement.”

Good Book Guide

“A book as crowded and rude and brilliantly inventive as the great pre-Dickensian caricatures it celebrates.”

Lucy Hughes-Hallett, New Statesman

“Brimming with colourful characters, written with tremendous verve and bursting with information... it exuberantly resurrects an age of transition and enthrallingly depicts the pleasures and pressures of creativity.”

Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

“A vast, sprawling epic, packed with digression and detail, it is a brilliant achievement for a first-time novelist.”

Nick Rennison, BBC History Magazine

“The work of a genius”

John Bird, Big Issue

“Engrossing detail… Exuberantly broadens out from indictment to celebration… Teems with vividly idiosyncratic characters…. Burstingly informative and thronged with colorful characters, this panoramic novel about the shady start and sunny breakthrough of a literary phenomenon is a phenomenon itself.”

Peter Kemp, Sunday Times


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