Virginia, January 29, 2012 (view all comments by Virginia)
I read a lot of historical fiction and/or mysteries and I had high hopes for this one but it was the worst book I read in 2011. The word tedious springs to mind. No likable characters and no feel for time or place. Ending was contrived andwent against all that had happened up to that pount.
redrockbookworm, July 22, 2008 (view all comments by redrockbookworm)
During the hours before his death, Augustus Langor, retired former NYC detective and widower recalls the circumstances surrounding his investigation of the gruesome murder of a cadet at West Point. The year is 1830 and the institution had not yet earned the reputation it enjoys today so the powers that be engage his services in an attempt to avoid any negative publicity. During his investigation he enlists the help of Cadet Edgar Allan Poe to be his eyes and ears on campus, holding clandestine meetings with him to discuss various clues and suspects. The novels characterization of Cadet Poe is that of an overly pensive, tormented and romantic individual who is aching to "connect" with someone. This is probably an accurate depiction of the "Literary Poe" but it makes for a rather boring, "Poe the Murder Investigator".
I found the voice of this book to be rather stilted and annoying, and Landor and Poe imbued with neither compassion nor humanity.
Guess the bottom line is, even a lover of historical fiction such as myself wants more than just characters in a historical setting. I want a story with characters that draw me in and a story that fills my senses. A Pale Blue Eye left me running on empty.
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by Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review),
"[A]nother literary tour de force....At novel's end, the reader may want to start again from the beginning."
by Library Journal,
"[T]his period mystery moves methodically to the suspects, the motives, and the clues that twist and turn like the Hudson itself. The novel is further charmed by a skillful and lyrical writing style and the intrigue of West Point, now and then."
by Joyce Carol Oates,
"Louis Bayard is a writer of remarkable gifts: for language, for imagination, for that mysterious admixture of audacity and craftsmanship that signals a major talent in the making."
by Entertainment Weekly,
"Louis Bayard...turns from Charles Dickens to Edgar Allan Poe with debonair wit....[S]ucceed[s] by emulating the suspense structure of Poe's exquisitely lurid short stories and...adding the romanticism of Poe's lyric poetry. (Grade: B+)"
by Dustin Thomason, co-author of The Rule of Four,
"A first-rate thriller with language that sparkles on the page."
by Dallas Morning News,
"Mr. Bayard has a gift for Poe mimicry and, as well, for constructing a labyrinthine plot. The story's climax is a parody of author Poe's nightmarish flourishes."
"A deliciously spooky pastiche of the high and low Gothic traditions and the tender heroines who live and die by them."
—New York Times Book Review
“Harwood, master of creeping Victorian horror, does it again . . . Twisted in every sense of the word and wonderfully atmospheric.”—Booklist
Confused and disoriented, Georgina Ferrars awakens in a small room in Tregannon House, a remote asylum in England. She has no memory of the past few weeks. The doctor, Maynard Straker, tells her that she admitted herself under the name Lucy Ashton, then suffered a seizure. When she insists he has mistaken her for someone else, Dr. Straker sends a telegram to her uncle, who replies that Georgina Ferrars is at home with him in London: “Your patient must be an imposter.” Suddenly her voluntary confinement becomes involuntary. Who is the woman in her uncles house? Georginas perilous quest to free herself takes us from a cliffside cottage on the Isle of Wight to the secret passages of Tregannon House and into a web of hidden family ties on which her survival depends.
“Redolent with a sense of foreboding . . . This gothic tale will sweep you up into the very heart of Victorian England. A splendid read!”—Historical Novel Society, Editors Choice
“A richly textured . . . [and] masterfully constructed narrative . . . Readers are guaranteed a thoroughly diverting time in Harwoods not-to-be-trusted hands.”—The Independent (UK)
“The crisp prose and twisty plot will encourage many to read this in one sitting.”—Publishers Weekly
by Harper Collins,
At West Point Academy in 1830, the calm of an October evening is shattered by the discovery of a young cadet's body swinging from a rope. The next morning, an even greater horror comes to light. Someone has removed the dead man's heart. Augustus Landor—who acquired some renown in his years as a New York City police detective—is called in to discreetly investigate. It's a baffling case Landor must pursue in secret, for the scandal could do irreparable damage to the fledgling institution. But he finds help from an unexpected ally—a moody, young cadet with a penchant for drink, two volumes of poetry to his name, and a murky past that changes from telling to telling. The strange and haunted Southern poet for whom Landor develops a fatherly affection, is named Edgar Allan Poe.
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