The Hum Bug Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Hum Bug

Pocket, Nov 2001, 25.00, 400 pp.
ISBN: 0671041150

    Edgar Allan Poe is unable to feed his family on the wages he makes as a journalist/editor in Philadelphia. He relocates, with his family, to New York City where writing opportunities are much better. When he sees a handbill for the P.T. Barnum's American Circus, Edgar turns irate because he knows that at least one falsehood exists on the handbill he was given. He confronts Barnum, but obtains nothing but blarney from the glib talker.
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    Barnum is very impressed with Poe and visits the writer in his home when the media blames Barnum's American circus for causing a murder to happen. Poe who has solved murders before (SEE NEVERMORE) agrees to investigate. When the victim's missing arm is mailed to Poe's home, he concludes he is on the correct path and if can stay alive long enough he will solve the case.

   Poe is clearly the star of this book as he uses his belief in his superior brain power to slice and dice everyone using self-deprecation so nobody will be offended. The HUMBUG is a serious historical mystery though Barnum lightens up the atmosphere with his unique brand of showmanship. Though a nineteenth century who-done-it, mystery lovers of all sub-genre persuasions will enjoy Harold Schecter's tale.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of The Hum Bug

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Plot & Themes

How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given Time/era of story:    -   1600-1899 Spying/Terrorism Thriller    -   Yes What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   50% Special suspect?    -   lover Murder of certain profession?    -   businessmen Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   Big focus on forensic evidence Kind of investigator    -   amateur citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings of fear/loss/inadequacy Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes General Crime (including known murderer)    -   Yes Who's the criminal enemy here?    -   finding a known killer

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   writer


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Harold Schechter Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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