(book 4 for RIP)
An Unpardonable Crime by Andrew Taylor.
Paperback: 485 pages
Publisher: Hyperion (March 9, 2005)
Taylor’s novel was published in 2003 in the UK as The American Boy. The title character is Edgar Allan Poe, who lived in England from 1816 to 1820 while his foster father, John Allan, set up a British branch of his import-export business. This literary-historical mystery (whose new title nabs a line from Poe’s story "William Wilson") incorporates the boyhood Poe, the mystery of the disappearance of Poe’s biological father when Poe was an infant, and the later mystery of Poe’s behavior and disappearance before his death into a Regency drama of crossed love, class barriers, embezzlement, and murder. All of this comes about through the character of Thomas Shield, Poe’s teacher at boarding school, who gets drawn into the wealthy boy’s life and into a series of mysteries surrounding the boy. Wonderful evocations of Regency England, suggestive about the later horrors in Poe’s life
Well now.. this book kept me reading! Short (very short) chapters! Very British in the language of the book. And very interesting.
Most of the book barely touched on the murder (or murders) until near the end, but the story that Thomas Shield is telling, in the first person, certainly kept me reading and picking up the book each time I sat down. To me, that makes for a good read!
As I mentioned.. there is murder in the book but the story leading up to the discovery of “who done it, and why” etc.. came all together near the end. I don’t think it was a “murderous” or as “gothic feeling” as other books I have read but still.. I will say that it IS a very entertaining read.
The Amazon review makes it sound more of a story about a young Edgar Allan Poe, and certainly he is in the book, but I didn’t feel it was “just his story” being told. There were numerous characters of interest throughout the book.
Much of how woman were treated in those days was also covered quite nicely. You never realized you were being given “historic information” just for the sake of saying it.
Very well written.
A Very enjoyable read.
So much so that I have sent for another of Andrew Taylors books in hopes that he can entertain me a second time!