1839. It tells the story of Nelly Trent and her grandfather as they wander the English countryside, north of London, trying to evade Daniel Quilp, probably Dickens’ most evil villain. Nell’s grandfather has borrowed money from Quilp to support a gambling habit and has lost everything, including the curiosity shop. But Quilp isn’t sitting still, his spies are everywhere. Meanwhile a stranger is also looking for Nell’s grandfather. Dickens’s depiction of the fate of his main characters is famously harrowing and unfailingly suspenseful, but not the least of its charms is that it is embellished with a supporting cast of figures as grotesque and colorful as anything in the Old Curiosity Shop itself.