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An Unpardonable Crimeby Andrew Taylor
This wonderful, elegant mystery is a real page-turner. The historical context of 19th-century England and the inclusion of a young Edgar Allan Poe make this unique thriller truly irresistible.
Synopses & Reviews
An irresistible literary thriller in the tradition of The Alienist and An Instance of the Fingerpost, set in early 1800s England and involving a young Edgar Allan Poe.
Edgar Allan Poe is an American boy in England, a child standing on the edge of mysteries. In 1819, two Americans arrive in London. Soon afterward a bank collapses. A man is found horribly mutilated on a building site and an heiress flirts with her inferiors. All the while, Poe's young schoolmaster struggles to understand what is happening before he and his loved ones are destroyed. But the truth, like the youthful Poe himself, has its origins in the New World as well as the Old — in a bitter episode of corruption during the War of 1812.
With settings ranging from the coal-scented urban jungle of late Regency London to the stark winter landscapes of rural Gloucestershire, An Unpardonable Crime is a multilayered literary murder mystery, a historical novel, and a love story. In addition to shedding fascinating light on Edgar Allan Poe, the book is a fast-paced suspenseful read, filled with shocking revelations.
"[A] fluid, atmospheric period thriller....While this effort is not as successful as Charles Palliser's superb, intricately plotted 19th-century thriller The Quincunx, it is a pleasurable read that will engross many." Publishers Weekly
"Taylor knits his considerable skills as a crime writer and as a master of historical detail...smooth, agreeably complex....Taylor's creamy prose falters only in one of those mind-numbing wrap-ups that make Conan Doyle a chore." Kirkus Reviews
"Wonderful evocations of Regency England, suggestive about the later horrors in Poe's life, marred a bit by a cumbersome (almost 500-page) plot and delivery." Connie Fletcher, Booklist
"Taylor...makes much of the Poe connection that inspired his work, but the story could easily stand on its own. This lengthy murder mystery slowly builds to its compelling climax..." Library Journal
"[A] remarkable thriller, elegantly written...a work of superlative fiction." Denver Post
"An absolutely unputdownable read." Charles Palliser, author of The Quincunx and The Unburied
"The most underrated crime writer in Britain today." Val McDermid
"Like Hitchcock, Taylor pitches extreme and gothic events within a hair's breadth of normality." Times Literary Supplement
"A sophisticated writer...with a high degree of literary expertise." New York Times Book Review
"Taylor is a major thriller talent." Time Out London
"One of Britain's best writers of psychological suspense." The Times (London)
"The most interesting novelist writing on crime in England today." Harriet Waugh, The Spectator
This irresistible literary thriller in the tradition of The Alienist and An Instance of the Fingerpost is set in early 1800s England and involves young Edgar Allan Poe.
England 1819. Two enigmatic Americans arrive in London and soon after a bank collapses. A man is found dead on a building site; another goes missing in the teeming stews of the city's notorious Seven Dials district. A deathbed vigil ends in an act of theft, and a beautiful heiress flirts with her inferiors. A strange destiny connects each of these events to an American boy, Edgar Allan Poe, who was brought to England by his foster father and sent to the leafy village of Stoke Newington to be educated.
An Unpardonable Crime is a twenty-first-century novel with a nineteenth-century voice. It is both a multilayered literary murder mystery and a love story, its setting ranging from the coal-scented fogs of late-Regency London to the stark winter landscapes of Gloucestershire. And at its center is the boy who does not really belong anywhere, an actor who never learns the significance of his part.
About the Author
Andrew Taylor is the award-winning author of the ground-breaking Roth Trilogy. He lives in England. For more information, please visit www.andrew-taylor.net.
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