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The Poe Shadow [Kindle Edition]

Matthew Pearl
2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
Kindle Price: £4.68 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

Baltimore, 1849. The body of Edgar Allan Poe has been buried in an unmarked grave. The conclusion that Poe was a second-rate writer who died a drunkard is accepted by all. But none of this deters Quentin Clark, an ardent admirer who risks his own career and reputation in a passionate crusade to salvage Poe's.

Clark discovers that Poe's last days are riddled with vital unanswered questions. But just when Poe's death looks destined to remain a mystery, Quentin seeks out the one person who can solve this strange case: the real-life model for Poe's brilliant fictional detective character, C. Auguste Dupin.

Having successfully recruited the man he believes to have inspired Poe's Dupin, Clarke is confronted by another claiming to be the true model. The two master detectives each seek to prove he is the real 'Dupin' by solving the mystery of Poe's death. Clark finds himself enmeshed in sinister machinations involving international political agents, a female assassin, the corrupt Baltimore slave trade and the lost secrets of Poe's final hours. With his own future hanging in the balance, he must turn master investigator himself to unchain his now imperilled fate from that of Poe.

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Product Description


'Pearl has written a wonderfully engaging, thrilling 19th-century tale.' -- Amy Mathieson , The Scotsman

'Pearl’s is an ambitious project; literary criticism, biography, reconstruction, reportage and fiction, all in one volume.' -- Independent on Sunday

Pearl has covered the ground with admirable thoroughness -- The Spectator, Andrew Taylor

[the novel] values intelligence, and the process of analytic thought as much as it does the sensational moment -- The Independant, Matthew Pearl

‘Pearl has researched Poe’s life extensively, and this novel will appeal to enthusiasts of the legendary writer’ -- Daily Mail


Fascinating reading

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1103 KB
  • Print Length: 447 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345496760
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (31 Oct. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #522,944 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lowly lies... 28 Jun. 2006
I've always had a soft spot for the poetry and fiction of Edgar A. Poe, one of the greatest writers in American history, as well as the grandfather of whodunnits and modern horror.

And Matthew Pearl apparently has a soft spot too -- his follow-up to the bestselling "Dante Club" is a creepy, atmospheric, clever mystery surrounding the early death of Poe. The main character can be clueless, but it's made up for by genius detectives, retro writing, and musings on how a genius's art can affect others.

Edgar A. Poe is dead, unmourned and almost forgotten at the age of forty. This comes as a shock to pen pal Quentin Clark, who rapidly starts to suspect foul play. Even his recent engagement comes second to his wish to find out the facts. So he travels to Paris to find Auguste Duponte, the inspiration for Poe's brilliant C. Auguste Dupin, and convinces the reclusive ex-detective to come to Baltimore and solve the mystery.

Unfortunately, they are being followed by flashy Baron Dupin and his assassin wife; Dupin wants to make a name for himself, and pose as the REAL inspiration. Duponte ignores his obnoxious rival as he and Quentin go through Baltimore, collecting scant evidence, talking to witnesses and investigating Poe's own letters. But soon this investigation turns lethal, and Quentin finds himself as the primary suspect of Poe's death...

Edgar A. Poe's death is still something of a mystery, and people still debate what killed him. Rabies? Alcohol? TB? Nobody really knows, even now. So it was a brilliant stroke for Pearl to turn it into a murder mystery, complete with the real-life details as clues (such as Poe's dying cry of "Reynolds!"), and real-life people as characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing 11 Feb. 2008
If, like me, you really enjoyed "The Dante Club", you should avoid "The Poe Shadow". Pearl revisits the "literary thriller", but this time the outcome is trully disappointing. There is no obvious "plot", just a rambling, repetitive narrative. The characters are flat, two-dimensional, and completely lacking in motivation. The entire book rests on the main character's obession with Edgar A. Poe, but the reader is never given a good reason for this obsession. The man is silly, shallow, and boring - rarely have I come across a main character who has no redeeming feature! The author also spends endless sections describing the Baltimore of the day, whose only purpose, really, is to show off the extensive historical research which he certainly undertook. And all this is served up in a contrived, annoying 19th century literary style. I literaly had to force myself to read through to the end.
I suggest you give this a pass; personally, I plan to give Pearl one more chance to make good on the promise of "The Dante Club", because this was certainly not it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars rattles along like a hansom cab! 12 July 2006
A superb thriller based on the mysterious death of Poe, and utilising some superb research by the author throwing new light on this 150+ year-old mystery!

The writing is excellent, true to the flavour of the period, but without being ponderous (unlike some other authors trying this style), anachronistic or - worst of all - modernly knowing and arch.

You can tell Pearl loves and knows the period, and Poe - so if you're a Poe afficionado, you'll love this book. But you don't have to be one to enjoy this engrossing historical thriller. You get a wonderful feel of 19th century Baltimore (and Paris), with enough action, twists and turns to keep you turning the pages.

And the new facts the author has uncovered have significantly added to what we know about Poe's last few tragic days, and perhaps solved one of the greatest mysteries in American and world literature.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Big disappointment 8 Aug. 2006
Having read Dante Club with great pleasure, I was eagerly looking forward to Poe's Shadow, which sounded like a great idea for a historical/literary thriller. Unfortunately Poe's Shadow left me cold, bored and wondering where exactly it went wrong for Matthew Pearl... Maybe he focused too much on his (admitedly) meticulous research and undoubted passion for Poe and his writing, but the plot lacks interest, rambles on for pages and pages (which should have been edited considerably) and most of the time has nothing to do with Poe's death...Add to that characters lacking credibility and logic in their motivations and actions, and really annoying 19th century literary style and you have a book which you can safely put on your 'to avoid list'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull but inspiring in some respects 30 April 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was looking forward to this book by Matthew Pearl after enjoying the Dante Club. However, it definitely didn't follow up on that particular book. It was dull and I had difficulty understanding why anyone would want to give up all that was going on around him to establish what happened to Edgar Allan Poe in his final days, just because he happened to like him as a writer. It's a bit like somone today investigating what happened in Michael Jackson's final days just because he liked Thriller. I clung on to the end though because I was hoping for a dramatic but totally rational explanantion of the events leading to his death and how these were uncovered but that never came.

As for the inspiring bits, well, the main character's stay in France and the ongoing mentions of the political situation there inspired me to go and find out more about events back then. Probably not what the author had in mind when he wrote this book, perhaps a few more converts to the work of Edgar Allan Poe rather than political history. Says it all really.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Never quite made it.
I did read to the end, but will not keep this book. As with all Matthew Pearl novels I have read, it has an intriguing basic premise, but ultimately disappoints.
Published 17 months ago by M. Johns
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not bother
Difficult to know where to start! Shallow characters. Massively overdetailed plot. Very irritating period speech. Tedious tedious tedious to read! Read more
Published on 16 April 2013 by pantodame
3.0 out of 5 stars A Hard Read
I am a big fan of Poe and the synopsis of this book promised a lot. I really did like the book too but getting towards the end it becomes a bit tedious. Read more
Published on 19 Jan. 2013 by David Why
2.0 out of 5 stars wooden performance
I was looking forward to this as I am a fan of Poe's short tales, Hop Frog being my favourite. However, I found this book disappointing - the dialogue was wooden and unconvincing -... Read more
Published on 25 Jun. 2011 by -tjm-
4.0 out of 5 stars Convincing 19th Century literary style
This is a novel where the narrator is a 19th Century Lawyer in Baltimore, with no pretensions to literary ability, and then another reviewer complains it has an "annoying 19th... Read more
Published on 9 Jun. 2011 by Lewis Duckworth
1.0 out of 5 stars Wish I'd read the reviews before buying !
Just had to add my comments to the readers who found this book dull and rambling. The characters were dreary and completely failed to grip me - the likelyhood of Quentin the main... Read more
Published on 25 April 2010 by Ali H
2.0 out of 5 stars A struggle to enjoy
Usually this is just the sort of book I'd go for - a dark Gothic novel with elements of mystery. Unfortunately, for me, it was extremely difficult to get into the book. Read more
Published on 11 Feb. 2010 by MISS L M ALLPORT
3.0 out of 5 stars A BIT OF A LET DOWN
We really, really wanted to like this book - Poe was a great writer and had a fascinating life with quite a few mysteries in it. Read more
Published on 5 July 2008 by Book Grouper
1.0 out of 5 stars Big disappointment
Having read Dante Club with great pleasure, I was eagerly looking forward to Poe's Shadow, which sounded like a great idea for a historical/literary thriller. Read more
Published on 7 Feb. 2008 by Magda Majkowska
2.0 out of 5 stars Overkill
Pearl's latest foray into the literary thriller genre (following The Dante Club, which I did not read), revolves around the mysterious real-life death of Edgar Allen Poe. Read more
Published on 10 Sept. 2007 by A. Ross
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