EDGAR ALLAN POE AND THE LONDON MONSTER (Poe & Dupin: #1) Written by Karen Lee Street
2016, 384 Pages (Pegasus Books)
Genre: mystery, suspense, literature, detective, based on true events, historical mystery, fiction, true crime
Summer, 1840, London – Edgar Allan Poe sails from Philadelphia to meet up with his friend, C. Auguste Dupin. Poe is hoping that his friend can solve a case for him- a personal family mystery. Upon the death of his father, Poe is given some letters that were supposedly written by his grandparents. The letters show that his grandparents, Henry and Elizabeth Arnold, were actors struggling to make a living in London. The letters seem to suggest that two were involved in stalking and assaulting women. Are these letters real and if so were what the couple discussing imagined or real? As Poe and Dupin get deeper into the mystery, they soon find themselves being stalked and maybe in danger.
The story about the London Monster is true, but Poe had nothing to do with the case. I have only read a few short stories and poem by Poe, but I do know Dupin is a character that Poe created. I will say that because I am not well-versed in Poe I probably missed many little details or “easter eggs” that Street that would have endeared me more to this novel. I enjoyed the way Street used a real case and re-imagined it with Poe being directly involved. And, having Poe’s own character, Dupin as a friend is really interesting. It makes me want to pull out the Dupin stories and see where all the connections are. I respect the amount of research that went into this novel. I did find that at times the novel did lag with too much information. And, Street starts ideas but does not explore them fully so they seem like cluttered threads. There is supposedly a sequel in the works so maybe this will be clearer in the next book…which I will read.