"On March 31, 1836, the publishers Chapman & Hall launched the first issue of a new monthly periodical entitled The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. Conceived and created by the artist Robert Seymour, it contained four of his illustrations; the words to accompany them were written by a young journalist who used the pen name Boz. The story of a club presided over by fat, loveable Mr. Pickwick, assisted by his cockney manservant Sam Weller, The Pickwick Papers soon became a sensation, outselling every other book except the Bible and Shakespeare's plays, read and discussed by the entire population of the British Isles, from the duke's drawing room to the lowliest chophouse. The fame of Mr. Pickwick soon spread worldwide--making The Pickwick Papers the greatest literary phenomenon in history. But one does not need to have read a single word of The Pickwick Papers to be enthralled by the story of how this extraordinary novel came to be. The creation and afterlife of this masterpiece is the subject of Stephen Jarvis's novel, Death and Mr. Pickwick. This vast, intricately constructed, indeed Dickensian work is at once the ultimate homage to a much-loved book, tracing its genesis and subsequent history in fascinating detail, and a damning indictment of how an ambitious young writer expropriated another man's ideas and then engaged in an elaborate cover-up of The Pickwick Papers' true origin."-- Provided by publisher.