Bleak House by Charles Dickens
"Bleak House" is Charles Dickens' masterful assault on the injustices of the British legal system. This "Penguin Classics" edition is edited with an introduction and notes by Nicola Bradbury, as well as a preface by Terry Eagleton. As the interminable case of 'Jarndyce and Jarndyce' grinds its way through the Court of Chancery, it draws together a disparate group of people: Ada and Richard Clare, whose inheritance is gradually being devoured by legal costs; Esther Summerson, a ward of court, whose parentage is a source of deepening mystery; the menacing lawyer Tulkinghorn; the determined sleuth Inspector Bucket; and even Jo, the destitute little crossing-sweeper.
A savage, but often comic, indictment of a society that is rotten to the core, "Bleak House" is one of Dickens's most ambitious novels, with a range that extends from the drawing rooms of the aristocracy to the poorest of London slums. This edition follows the first book edition of 1853, and includes all the original illustrations by 'Phiz', as well as appendices on the Chancery and spontaneous combustion. In his preface, Terry Eagleton examines characterisation and considers "Bleak House" as an early work of detective fiction.