The Poe Shadow Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Poe Shadow

In Baltimore, 1849. Quentin Clark, a smart young lawyer, has everything one could hope for. He has a beautiful home, a solid legal practice, and an engagement to a lifelong friend. All of this is to fall by the wayside when he is compelled to watch a funeral that has only four witnesses and no service to speak of. There are no wreaths, there is no weeping.
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Imagine Quentin's disbelief to read in the paper of the death of Edgar Allan Poe, a writer for whom Quentin has the utmost passion, with whom he had begun correspondence only just prior to the writer's death, and whose demise garnered only a slight mention on the inside pages of the local paper. Further mystery develops when Quentin learns that the pitiful funeral service he witnessed was for Poe. How is it that a writer of such brilliance could be so overlooked? How can it be that an author of such outstanding works as THE RAVEN or THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE could be so reviled by his peers and critics in the ensuing obituaries that followed?

Quentin begins the search for those answers, ignoring his duties as a lawyer and as a fiance. Only when he runs into dead ends and then is threatened to leave the manner of Poe's death alone does he realize he cannot complete his investigation alone. The only one who can possibly help is the one man on whom Poe based his most illustrious and brilliant detective, C. Auguste Dupin. Traveling to France, Quentin finds two people who may or may not be the real Dupin, and each begins their own investigation into the mysterious death of Poe. Quentin wants it done for the sake of Poe's legacy. The two competing Dupins have their own reasons for undertaking the work, which could affect their futures as well as those of Quentin, Poe, and the world.

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Chapter Analysis of The Poe Shadow

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 50%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% Time/era of story:    -   1600-1899 Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   a lawyer creature Age:    -   20's-30's


United States    -   Yes Misc setting    -   resort/hotel

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   little dialog

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