The Poe Shadow

Version: Unabridged
Author: Matthew Pearl
Narrator: Erik Singer
Genres: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published In: May 2006
# of Units: 14 CDs
Length: 14 hours
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Baltimore, 1849. The body of Edgar Allan Poe has been buried in an unmarked grave. Everyone seems to accept the conclusion that Poe was a second-rate writer who met a disgraceful end -- except for a young Baltimore lawyer named Quentin Clark, an ardent admirer who puts his own career and reputation at risk in a crusade to salvage Poe's.

As Quentin explores the puzzling circumstances and unanswered questions of Poe's demise, he realizes that he must find the one person who can help: the real-life model for Poe's brilliant fictional detective character, C. Augustine Dupin, the hero of ingenious tales of crime and detection. Soon Quentin finds himself enmeshed in sinister machinations involving international political agents and the lost secrets of Poe's final hours, and must himself turn master investigator to escape Poe's grisly fate.

Drawing on original, groundbreaking research, the bestselling author of The Dante Club has once again crossed literary history with sublime craftsmanship and devious twists to create a beautifully detailed, ingeniously plotted tale of suspense.

Reviews (4)


Written by Anonymous on March 25th, 2011

  • Book Rating: 3/5

I enjoy historical fiction so I probably liked this more than most. However, there just isn't enough mystery surrounding Poe's death to warrant an entire novel. The ending was quite anti-climatic. Pearl tried to generate more mystery and thrills than actually exist, but it never really went anywhere. I also never really cared that much about the narrator. Though I admire Pearl's attempt at creating a riveting historical mystery, he never really succeeded.


Written by Nancy on February 10th, 2011

  • Book Rating: 1/5

I just couldn't figure out what was going on: not the main character's motivation, the point of his obsession, who was who and what was what. It was just a garbled mess.


Written by Sterling, VA on September 17th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 1/5

This book is a talking head book, meaning that characters talk to each other and little else goes on. It was flat and boring. I could barely make it through the 6th disk when I finally admitted that I couldn't stand one more second of the slow plot or the pedantic writing style.

Poe Shadow

Written by Anonymous on August 1st, 2006

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Wordy, obviously intended to evoke style of mid 1800 American writing. Not certain if the story failed to really draw me in due to the archaic style or the narrator's pleasant but somewhat flat delivery. Found myself irritated with the protagonist rather than sympathetic. Wound up not really understanding the author's choice of subject. Poe's fate just not that engrossing after this read.

Author Details

Author Details

Pearl, Matthew

Matthew Pearl is the "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Dante Club" and the editor of the Modern Library editions of Dante's Inferno (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) and Edgar Allen Poe's "The Murder in the Rue Morgue: The Dupin Tales. The Dante Club" has been published in more than thirty languages and forty countries around the world. Pearl is a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School and has taught literature at Harvard and at Emerson College. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He can be reached via his website,