Matthew Pearl and Louis Bayard

DiscussãoHistorical Mysteries

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Matthew Pearl and Louis Bayard

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Ago 2, 2006, 10:14 am

Two American mystery authors who've both written two books, who prefer a nineteenth-century setting and whose most recent works deal with Edgar Allen Poe: for these reasons, I thought they wouldn't mind sharing a thread :)

In a nutshell, my thoughts are:

PEARL: The Dante Club - great revelation of the killer's identity, great evocation of what led him/her to kill, but a leaden prose style and an unforgivable "red herring" who was just there to be a red herring.

The Poe Shadow - a better prose style and a few nice insights into Poe's inspirations, but not as enlightening as it could have been and not one I plan to read again.

BAYARD: Mr Timothy - loved it! Literary fanfiction at its best (a very plausible reading of what happened to the Cratchits after the events of A Christmas Carol and a nice gothic mystery with loads of atmosphere.

The Pale Blue Eye - another worthwhile novel: more of a "whodunit" and has a genuinely surprising ending. Solid historical recreation of West Point and the young Edgar Allen, as well as some great pastiches of Poe's poetry.

Ago 2, 2006, 5:42 pm

I'm glad you posted about Bayard. I've got Mr Timothy on Mt TBR and an ARC of The Pale Blue Eye is hovering above my computer as I type. Guess I'll toss one of those two in my bag after I get through with the library books. :)

Ago 2, 2006, 6:34 pm

Finally someone else who didn't completely adore The Dante Club! The one thing I really enjoyed about it was the revelation of the killer's identity (because it made me think, "Oooh, why didn't I see it myself?!"). It seemed to be trying too hard to be Umberto Eco -- not one of my favourite authors to say the least.

I guess I'll skip The Poe Shadow, then. But I'll try Bayard.

Ago 4, 2006, 9:10 am

Yes, The Dante Club was a touch dry, all in all - drier than Eco's The Name of the Rose, which I admired as authentically "medieval". But I hope you enjoy Bayard!

I was wrong about Bayard only having written two books - he's written four in total! But only two historical mysteries so far.

Ago 19, 2006, 7:28 pm

I just purchased The Pale Blue Eye and I am looking forward to reading it. I will give Mr. Timothy a try.

Set 26, 2006, 12:03 am

New to the group - thanks to Bibliotheque for the invitation...

I had the pleasure of attending a reading that Louis Bayard gave of The Pale Blue Eye during last summer.

He a terrific writer but an even better speaker, and a very interesting guy to boot.

I heartily recommend checking out his website,

He is still on tour promoting The Pale Blue Eye, and even if of this LT Group's member are in Canada, the Harper Collins web site states that he'll in Toronto on October 18 at the International Festival of Authors.

After his reading, Mr.Bayard talked about his next book which will feature the famous (or infamous) early 19th century French Detective, Vidoq.

I expect that it will be a great read.

Out 8, 2006, 5:18 pm

Thanks very much for coming along, mbahawk :D Vidocq is one of these figures I've heard of but know nothing about, but if it's 1) dark and mysterious 2) Parisian, I'm there! Thanks very much for the heads-up!