Many mysteries are intriguing, but none so much as a real one. The question surrounding the suspicious circumstances of the death of EAP have long puzzled readers and armchair detectives alike. Less dry and wordy than The Dante Club (Pearl’s previous novel), The Poe Shadow has been crafted with ingenuity and a hint of conspiracy and menace. Quentin Clark risks his professional reputation as well as his personal relationships for his principled idealism, and pursues what others see as a pointless obsession to uncover the truth about a man he admires and believes in, in spite of Poe’s unsavory popular image. Matthew Pearl is improving as a writer of historical fiction. The Poe Shadow intrigues from start to finish.