The Poe Shadow.

Position:Book review

** The Poe Shadow By Matthew Pearl Unearthing Poe.

In 1849 Edgar Allan Poe, 40, visited a Baltimore tavern and died shortly thereafter. Labeled a drunk, he was buried in an unmarked grave. Quentin Clark, a Baltimore attorney, vows to rescue his literary hero's reputation. Hoping to solve the mystery of Poe's death, Clark delves into the circumstances surrounding his last days and hunts down, in Paris, the real-life model for Poe's legendary fictional detective, C. Auguste Dupin, of The Murders in the Rue Morgue. But as Clark approaches the truth, he finds himself enmeshed in duplicitous dealings that may threaten his life.

Random House. 384 pages. $24.95. ISBN: 1400061032

Rocky Mountain News ***1/2

"Pearl is a detailed historian, flooding the story with arcane Poe facts and trivia from this time.... The Poe Shadow works well on two levels: It's effective history, sure to please fans of Edgar Allan Poe, and also it can stand alone as a fine piece of mystery writing, brimming with suspense." GARY WILLIAMS

Boston Globe ***

"Like its predecessor, this novel not only sets itself in an earlier time, it adopts the literary style of its subject.... Pearl evokes his absent hero with longer sentences, often twisted into internal dialogues full of the kind of obsessive asides that lace Poe's work." CLEA SIMON

New York Times **

"Baroquely orchestrated complications ensue, up to and including a threat to the future of the French republic.... Although Pearl has a real affinity for 19th-century America, he overwhelms the strengths of his book with a hurricane of ersatz Victorian prose." CLAIRE DEDERER

Wall Street Journal *1/2

"I kept waiting for The Poe...

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