"To his already prodigious command of mystery and intrigue, Matthew Pearl now adds a deeply genuine affection for and masterly insight into the life, work, and strange fate of Edgar Allan Poe; and the result is an even more compelling work than the extraordinary 'Dante Club,' one that confirms Pearl's position at the very forefront of contemporary novelists." -- Caleb Carr, bestselling author of THE ALIENIST and THE ITALIAN SECRETARY


"Matthew Pearl has now created a two-book franchise on the cusp of mystery, literature and historical fiction. First he worked Longfellow and Oliver Wendell Holmes into 'The Dante Club.' Now, in 'The Poe Shadow,' he teases a globe-trotting 19th century mystery out of this summer's most surprising 'It' guy, Edgar Allan Poe." -- JANET MASLIN, CBS SUNDAY MORNING

"Pearl takes us back to those few lost days through the inquiries of Quentin Clark, a Poe-mad young Baltimorean who is dismayed not just by the writer's death but by the press's apathetic reponse to the news... A wonderfully knowing tone... 'The Poe Shadow' is thick with intrigue and thicker still with carefully researched details... He doesn't just disinter Poe's story; he disinters the language of Poe's time." -- THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

"The Poe Shadow belongs firmly in the Dupin/Sherlock mold of cerebral armchair investigations revolving around detailed study of newspapers and the welcome return of inverted clue logic -- not why something is , but why it isn't . This retro-ratiocination breathes refreshing life into the genre by returning to first principles. Beneath the cloak of this well-paced detective story and its understated wit, however, is a scholarly piece of work, a meticulously researched and detailed discussion of the events surrounding Poe's death. In fact, one wonders where reality ends and fiction begins, a question that Pearl dutifully discusses in the afterword. As a period piece the book is gloriously and sumptuously detailed, and if I ever get to Baltimore in the mid-19th century, I daresay I shall not be surprised by what I find." -- JASPER FFORDE, THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD

"Fans of Pearl's bestselling debut, The Dante Club, will eagerly embrace his second novel, a compelling thriller centered on the mysterious end of Edgar Allan Poe, who perished in Baltimore in 1849... Pearl masterfully combines fact with fiction and presents some genuinely new historical clues that help reconstruct Poe's final days... The exciting plot, numerous twists and convincing period detail could help land this on bestseller lists as well." "A solid hit." -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"[A] remarkable novel by Matthew Pearl, whose previous book, The Dante Club, showed him to be a writer of rare talents... Pearl has constructed a masterpiece of historical mystery fiction." -- GLOBE & MAIL (Canada)

"A Pearl of a mystery... Like its predecessor, this novel not only sets itself in an earlier time, it adopts the literary style of its subject... full of the kind of obsessive asides that lace Poe's work... Life may be stranger than fiction, but Matthew Pearl is adept at portraying the mystery in both." -- THE BOSTON GLOBE

"Pearl's narrative is distinguished by a genuine appreciation for Poe's ongoing influence... Blending scrupulous research with his own fictional flourishes, Pearl invents a young lawyer, Quentin Clark, who becomes obsessed with rescuing Poe's reputation after witnessing the author's hasty, ill-attended funeral. Neglecting both his law practice and his fiancee, Clark travels to Paris to find the detective who served as the model for Poe's Murder in the Rue Morgue sleuth, C. Auguste Dupin - the only man, Clark believes, who can solve the puzzle of Poe's untimely death. What follows is a satisfyingly Poe-like tale of psychological intrigue, villainy and murder, all dressed up in rich period detail and locution." -- THE BALTIMORE SUN

"Cultured Pearl sparkles in second novel. Matthew Pearl has become a darling of fans of serious fiction, and it's no wonder. The author established -- and distinguished -- himself on a firm foundation of highly imaginative and intricately plotted themes in The Dante Club, which he now has followed with another rich and beautifully crafted novel... Pearl, who shows no signs of a sophomore slump in this work, continues to dazzle with his imagination and skill. One can't wait to see what he'll do next." -- FORT-WORTH STAR TELEGRAM

"[An] entertaining and enlightening historical novel by Matthew Pearl. 'The Poe Shadow' examines the known details of Poe's final days in Baltimore, and even offers facts, never before published, about Poe's mysterious death... Pearl is... also a gifted writer, whose prose is easy to digest, as he weaves an intricate mystery that will be fulfilling even for those not familiar with Poe... 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. This dual reward is a testament to Pearl's skill in making 19th-century facts come alive in a taut story line that delivers entertainment as well as insight." -- THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS

"A remarkable blend of scholarly research and imagination." -- THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

"Matthew Pearl's second novel, The Poe Shadow demonstrates the author's uncanny ability to turn history into thrilling fiction... Filled with plot twists and surprises, Pearl's mystery-thriller does not disappoint. Pearl's second book is a must-read not only for fans of Pearl but for fans of Poe as well." -- THE RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH

"Delicious... Pearl's plot is ingenious and clever... the suspense crackles... Keep[s] the reader on edge until the denouement." -- THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL

"This literary history is sure to delight" -- NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

"As in his novel The Dante Club, Pearl is as fascinated by atmosphere as by plot. 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. The fog of bad faith is paralleled by the darkness where the streetlights end and by deluges that cannot wash away treachery and oppression... This is a book about Poe and his death that takes us smoothly through the evidence, theories and people. Pearl does not so much wear his research lightly as hand it over to his investigators. One of the novel's strengths is that it values intelligence, and the process of analytic thought, as much as it does the sensational moments." -- THE INDEPENDENT (LONDON)

"Virtuoso period intrigue" -- THE INDEPENDENT (LONDON)

"Another fiendishly clever and startlingly bloody tale... literary criticism, biography, reconstruction, reportage and fiction, all in one volume." -- THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY (LONDON)

"Pearl writes deliberately in the style of Poe, and his attention to period detail is remarkable. A cast of real-life worthies mingle with fictional characters in 19th century America. And like his idol's best work, The Poe Shadow is a study in obsession... The Poe Shadow is a hugely enjoyable read in its own right, and a clever literary exercise to boot." -- THE SUNDAY MERCURY (UK)

"Masterful blend of historical and fictional figures, meticulous research, and nineteenth-century literary style." -- BOOKLIST

"In his second novel, Pearl demonstrates a clear mastery of Poe mythology and uses his knowledge of 1850s Baltimore to excellent effect... Highly recommended." -- LIBRARY JOURNAL

"In The Poe Shadow, Pearl examines the circumstances of Poe's actual demise in 1849. Pearl mingles real people in Poe's life with fictional characters (you can't tell the difference without looking at the books' endnotes). Pearl's chief invention is Quentin Clark, a lawyer of Poe's generation who's eager to pump up the writer's then-low reputation. Clark becomes obsessed with the scant details of Poe in his final hours: He journeyed to Philadelphia in hopes of raising funds for a literary magazine, but within days was dead in a Baltimore tavern. In addition to Clark, Pearl creates two amusing gents, Auguste Duponte and Baron Dupin, who Clark thinks may have been the models for Auguste Dupin. They alternately help and compete with Clark to unravel the details of what may have been Poe's premature death... Ingenious... with a rich knowledge of Poe's life and work." -- ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

"Evoke[s] brilliantly the kind of dedication that Poe still enjoys." -- THE LONDON TIMES

"Fascinating reading... The mixture of elements deployed to such effect in Matthew Pearl's bestselling debut The Dante Club can also to be found in his latest work, which, like its predecessor, is part-detective story and part-literary history. Centring on the week in 1849 that led to the mysterious death, at the age of 40, of the writer Edgar Allan Poe, it deftly weaves fact, hypothesis and fiction." -- THE LONDON TIMES (Saturday)

"Tangled literary tale would have pleased Poe. 'The Dante Club' was a spinoff from Pearl's senior thesis at Harvard about Dante's reputation in 19th-century America. His new novel, 'The Poe Shadow,' is similarly informed by literary research: He has dug up some intriguing facts about the death of Edgar Allan Poe and wrapped them in an intricately tangled tale... Pearl does a meticulous, finely detailed and convincing job of re-creating the texture of life in mid-19th-century Baltimore, from the herds of pigs scavenging in the streets to the tensions over slavery... Poe would have liked it." -- MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL

"Pearl's Dante Club follow-up is cut from far less bloody cloth: Edgar Poe's dead and buried, but the truth will out! The details seem maddeningly slight—Did he take a train from Baltimore to Philadelphia? Did he drink? One, or how many? But the odds are stacked for thrills: two rival Dupins in a death match, a sweet American girl thrown over, a sexy French one lurking. The lawyer-hero's quest— to save Poe's reputation as a drunkard and a no-good—is quaint, almost offensive, to modern logic, but the ardor carries its own discomfiting enigma, and the book digs in as an ordeal of the mind in which a fairly decent man must account for his sanity." -- VILLAGE VOICE ("The Summer's Best Books")

"Edgar Allen Poe died a mysterious death and is perfect fodder for this well-done mystery." -- THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE

"Builds builds to a satisfying and entertaining conclusion that nicely mixes history and fiction into a story that feels like it could be true. The Poe Shadow astutely mimics the ratiocination involved in Poe’s Dupin tales... No one will ever know the circumstances surrounding Poe’s strange and untimely death, but it can be a lot of fun to theorize." -- ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

"The novel is a homage to its subject: Clark has many of the characteristics of Poe’s protagonists – he is a man in the grip of obsession, acting under strange compulsions; a man whom neither the reader nor other characters can entirely trust; whose very existence has a dreamlike quality…The homage extends to the plot as well. In Dupin and Duponte, for example, Pearl revisits the doppelganger theme that so fascinated Poe. In terms of research, some of it original, Pearl has covered the ground with admirable thoroughness. The great advantage of this book, however, is that it will send many readers back to Poe’s stories – innovative, hugely influential and as readable now as the day they were written." -- ANDREW TAYLOR, THE SPECTATOR (LONDON)

"A wonderfully engaging, thrilling 19th-century tale." -- THE SCOTSMAN

"[A] mind-twisting literary thriller. 'The Poe Shadow' by Matthew Pearl steps back in time to the Baltimore and Paris of 1849... With nefarious characters, a Machiavellian plot and a denouement monologue to wow even Hercule Poirot, 'The Poe Shadow' will keep you guessing." -- TIME OUT

"Pearl's second novel successfully mixes fact and Poe's own fictional characters. Quentin Clark, lawyer and ardent Poe fan tries to unravel the mysterious circumstances of the writer's death. With careful attention to detail, Pearl has another bestseller on his hands... In a word: fascinating." -- HERALD SUN (Australia)

"The remarkable conceit of Matthew Pearl's novel 'The Poe Shadow' is that Poe's Dupin gets recruited by a young Poe enthusiast to unravel the mysterious circumstances of the author's end... the daguerreotypes on the walls, athenaeum reading rooms, temperance societies, slave traders and pigs devouring garbage in the streets all contribute to the sense that the author could confidently amble his way around the antebellum city like any of its residents." -- THE LOS ANGELES TIMES

Just added! "'The Poe Shadow' is a captivating and page-turning chronicle that immerses the reader in the Baltimore and Paris of the late 19th century. Slavery, temperance and alcoholism, female emancipation, Baltimore politics and the burgeoning U.S. Postal System all take turns on Pearl’s pages as Clark searches for the final truth... Whether you read it as mystery, as literary biography or as straight fiction, it’s an entertaining ride all the way." -- THE LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR

"Matthew Pearl, whose debut was the best-selling 'The Dante Club,' has created a fascinating character in Quentin Clark, a young Baltimore lawyer circa 1849 who puts his own career in jeopardy to salvage the reputation of Edgar Allan Poe in 'The Poe Shadow.'" -- THE SAN-ANTONIO EXPRESS

"Echoes of Poe’s works and those of his contemporaries make this book a rich, subtle and complex experience... A novel that starts off with 'realism' as its premise ends up questioning the very nature of truth and reality. That is the power of this extremely well-written and entertaining book." -- DAILY NEWS AND ANALYSIS (India)

"Pearl has mixed so much historical fact with his dramatic licence that the whole premise - the peculiar events surrounding the 1849 death in Baltimore of Edgar Allan Poe, the master of American macabre writing - reads like a true story. Pearl creates a roster of fascinating characters and has an authentic feel for Paris and Baltimore of the mid-1800s. He leaves behind enough mystery to make any Poe fan, Poe himself for that matter, proud." -- CANADIAN PRESS (CP)

"Readers are left with an astoundingly well-devised mystery that even the great Poe would have loved." -- STEPHEN HUBBARD, BOOKREPORTER

"On the heels of his bestselling debut novel, The Dante Club, Matthew Pearl returns with an addictively page-turning historical thriller that revolves around the bizarre events surrounding the death of Edgar Allan Poe in Baltimore in 1849... A richly described, intricately woven, and obviously meticulously researched literary mystery that readers will remember, well, for evermore. Highly recommended." -- RANSOM NOTES (Barnes and Noble newsletter)

"No one truly knows what happened to Poe in the days before his death, but Pearl's fascinating theory (which draws liberally from both fact and fiction) provides a satisfying hypothesis. The Poe Shadow is an entertaining tale of ratiocination that would make Poe himself proud." -- BOOKPAGE


"Spring 2006 sees the follow-up to Matthew Pearl's excellent debut, THE DANTE CLUB, finally arrive. After nearly three years of waiting, readers are not disappointed by THE POE SHADOW. His writing is just as detail descriptive and this plot just as peppered with great characters and twists. As you delve deeper into the story, you begin to understand Quentin Clark's 'obsession' with the deceased Poe. Only a true lover of literature can make this obsessive desire of Clark's believable, and Matthew Pearl IS that talented author. When the bestseller lists are chock-full of 'pulp thrillers', it is very welcome to see quality writing." -- Dan Radovich, Books-a-Million, Chicago

"If you are a fan of Poe's, then this book should be the next one you read. It's brilliantly researched, alive with characters of the time, and the writing/plot will intrigue every reader." -- T. Walsh, Lawrenceville, NJ

Pearl, a scholar of the first order, is a devoted learner determined to connect the idiosyncrasies of literary giants - known as madmen in their own time - to their literature and to the world they lived in. And, lucky for us, he has turned his passion for sharing his discoveries into literary masterworks, bringing to life before our eyes both the enigmatic and frenzied Dante and Poe, flawed human beings with single minded literary genius." -- S. Wade, Louisville, KY

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