With Twelve Illustrations by S.L. Fildes, and a Portrait. London: Chapman and Hall, 1870. 2 pp undated ads plus 32 pp ads dated Aug. 31, 1870. Original green cloth decorated in black and gilt.
First Edition in book form. This remains one of the great unfinished and unsolved literary mysteries: only six serial parts were written when Dickens died on the 9th of June 1870. Numerous other writers have completed the tale, as they saw fit; even today, this mystery prompts other mysteries -- such as the recent books THE LAST DICKENS by Matthew Pearl and DROOD by Dan Simmons.
This copy is in the first binding state (with the saw-tooth border on the front cover). Stab-holes are visible near the gutter of the leaves, indicating that this is a copy bound from those original serial parts (the publisher invited buyers of parts to bring them in to be put into the official binding); this copy does include the ad catalogue found only in some copies. Condition is very good plus, perhaps near-fine: there is little exterior wear other than minor rubbing at the extremities, but some gatherings of leaves stand a little proud (though all is snug). The original pale-yellow endpapers are atypically clean and whole. Smith I pp 111-117. Item #14073