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About the book:

I present to you . . . the truth about this mans death and my life.

Baltimore, 1849. The body of Edgar Allan Poe has been buried in an unmarked grave. The public, the press, and even Poes own family and friends accept the conclusion that Poe was a second-rate writer who met a disgraceful end as a drunkard. Everyone, in fact, seems to believe this except a young Baltimore lawyer named Quentin Clark, an ardent admirer who puts his own career and reputation at risk in a passionate crusade to salvage Poes.

As Quentin explores the puzzling circumstances of Poes demise, he discovers that the writers last days are riddled with unanswered questions the police are possibly willfully ignoring. Just when Poes death seems destined to remain a mystery, and forever sealing his ignominy, inspiration strikes Quentinin the form of Poes own stories. The young attorney realizes that he must find the one person who can solve the strange case of Poes death: the real-life model for Poes brilliant fictional detective character, C. Auguste Dupin, the hero of ingenious tales of crime and detection.
In short order, Quentin finds himself enmeshed in sinister machinations involving political agents, a female assassin, the corrupt Baltimore slave trade, and the lost secrets of Poes final hours. With his own future hanging in the balance, Quentin Clark must turn master investigator himself to unchain his now imperiled fate from that of Poes.

Following his phenomenal debut novel, The Dante Club, Matthew Pearl has once again crossed pitch-perfect literary history with innovative mystery to create a beautifully detailed, ingeniously plotted tale of suspense. Pearls groundbreaking researchfeaturing documented material never published beforeopens a new window on the truth behind Poes demise, literary historys most persistent enigma. The resulting novel is a publishing event that, through sublime craftsmanship, subtle wit, and devious twists, does honor to Poe himself

From the Hardcover edition.

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