'Matthew Pearl is the new shining star of literary fiction - an immensely gifted author' - Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code.
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.
“An imaginative, clever and satisfying literary detective story, bristling with the sights, smells and sounds of 19th century Baltimore - a real treat for Poe fans”
Kate Mosse, author of Labyrinth
“Pearl does an ingenious job of shedding new light on the puzzle...brilliantly evokes the kind of dedication that Poe still enjoys”
Alice Fordham, The Times
“An absorbing combination of cerebral twists and visceral turns”
“Genuinely thrilling... An unusually arresting piece of crime fiction”
“A mind-twisting literary thriller...With nefarious characters, a Machiavellian plot and a denouement monologue to wow even Hercule Poirot, The Poe Shadow will keep you guessing”
Daniel Steffans, Time Out
“It's possible to imagine Edgar Allan Poe enjoying The Poe Shadow”
Mark Lawson, Guardian
“This is a book full of surprising discoveries and reversals, but also a fascinating portrait of a society closer to fracture than anyone is prepared to admit...One of the novel's strength's is that it values intelligence, and the process of analytic thought as much as it does the sensational moments”
Roz Kaveney, Independent
“Pearl's is an ambitious project; literary criticism, biography, reconstruction, reportage and fiction, all in one volume...Where else could you find all this and disquisitions on the slave trade, voter fraud in local elections and the workings of the US postal system? And the truth about Edgar Allan Poe's death?”
Nicola Smyth, Independent on Sunday
“This is a story not for people who like reading novels but for the much larger number who like solving puzzles”