Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"The Poe Shadow" by Matthew Pearl

The year is 1849 and Edgar Allen Poe is dead. Quentin Clark considered himself Mr. Poe's lawyer and is very upset at the manner of death and the persecution he perceived laid on Mr. Poe. Why wasn't Poe able to start the magazine he wanted? Why were so few people at his funeral and his grave left unmarked? Quentin sets off to find the "real" cause and manner of death, leaving everything important behind. His engagement and his law practice are in jeopardy. But he doesn't see it. Quentin sees nothing but his desire to clear Poe's name and reputation. He does need help however, and enlists the aid of the man he believes is a man Poe used in his stories. But, who is the real Dupin? Who wanted Poe dead? Who wants Quentin to stop looking?

The premise of this fictional work is a good one, but I found myself bogged down with mundane things too many times. I love to read mysteries and wanted to love this one. It is good for those who love extraneous details and "stop and go" storytelling. I will look for more work by Matthew Pearl.

My favorite quote is: '"I see," he replied knowingly and with a tone of some satisfaction. "Mr. Clark, the most dangerous temptation in life is to forget to tend to your own business -- you must learn to respect yourself enough to preserve your own interests. If pursuing the causes of others -- even in charity -- prevents your own happiness, you will be left with nothing.' pg. 220

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