In the Shadow of the Master
With Edgar Allan Poe turning 200 on January 19, 2009, publishers are paying tribute to him with anthologies that recognize his contribution to both the mystery and the horror genres.
The Mystery Writers of America presents a collection of Poe tales with afterwords by 20 distinguished writers who honor Poe's powerful influence on the modern crime story. Stephen King, reflecting on “The Tell-tale Heart,” credits Poe with writing “the first tale of criminal sociopathy.” Lisa Scottoline, in her perceptive appreciation of “William Wilson,” cites a score of contemporary works that silently acknowledge its influence in their exploration of “the spookiness that comes from the fragmenting or doubling of the self, and the splintering of identity.” P.J. Parrish, writing reverently on “The Black Cat,” praises it as, among other things, “an early example of genre-crossing” in its splice of horror and detection. Contributions from Lawrence Block, Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, Tess Gerritsen and others—many of them Edgar winners—vary in their appreciation from the deeply personal to the respectfully analytical, and from the lightly humorous to the deadly earnest. (Jan.)