There is no greater mystery in the literary world that what happened to Edgar Allan Poe in his final days. And in The Poe Shadow, Matthew Pearl tackles that very subject.
Quentin Clark has it all: a partnership in one of Baltimore's best law firms, money and the love of his childhood friend Hattie. But as news of Poe's death reaches Clark, he puts his entire life in jeopardy as he sets out to learn the truth. Clark tries his best to encourage the police and Poe's acquaintances to show more care, but no one seems to listen. Realizing he's in over his head, Clark heads to Paris to seek out the man who served as the basis for the first literary detective, C. Aguste Dupin. Throughout Clark's journey, he learns there is more to Poe than he ever imagined, and the mystery surrounding the writer's death is far greater as well.
Pearl clearly did his homework in discovering as much as possible regarding the circumstances of Poe's death. Though the tale is fiction, it is centered in fact, driving readers to want to seek out more information regarding the writer and the mystery that was the end of his life. Clark is a sympathetic man, even though he's clearly obsessed and putting his life, career and family at stake. But even as his obsession grows to dangerous levels, you cannot help but turn each page to see where the situation will take him next, which is why I give this a strong four out of five croaks of "Nevermore."
Total Books Read: 8 / 50 (16 percent)
Total Pages Read: 2,980 / 15,000 (20 percent)