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The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl
Edgar Allan Poe died in 1849, he was considered a second-rate writer who drank himself to death, although mystery shrouded his final days and cause of death. In The Poe Shadow, author Matthew Pearl (The Dante Club) centers his novel around Quentin Clark, a lawyer who had corresponded with Poe and admired his work. Clark witnesses Poe's funeral and decides he must discover what really happened to him. With a fervor that even surprises himself, Clark digs deep into Poe's life and story, and then travels to France to find the real man who was Poe's inspiration for his literary detective, C. Auguste Dupin. When Clark arrives in Paris, he finds two men claiming to be Dupin. Clark finds that not only is his law practice and engagement to his fianceé in peril, but perhaps even his life. The Poe Shadow has received mostly positive reviews with the Rocky Mountain News saying, "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."