cover image Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster

Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster

Karen Lee Street. Pegasus Crime (Norton, dist.), $25.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-68177-220-2

Street’s impressive first novel cleverly pairs Poe with his fictional creation, the Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin. In 1840, Poe travels to England after receiving a parcel from his stepmother containing a bundle of letters that appear to implicate Poe’s maternal grandparents in a series of real-life crimes committed decades earlier. Between 1788 and 1790, women were terrorized by the so-called London Monster, who cut “the derrières of over fifty victims.” Though a man was eventually charged with the crimes, doubt lingered about his guilt, leaving room for Poe to wonder whether his mother’s parents, actors Elizabeth and Henry Arnold, might have actually been responsible for them. Poe’s friend Dupin meets him in London to sort out the truth about the past and about the person who’s stalking him in the present. That foe seems to have almost supernatural abilities, having somehow gotten hold of a letter Poe wrote his wife that was tossed overboard during his transatlantic voyage. Street maintains atmospheric suspense throughout. [em]Agent: Oli Munson, A.M. Heath (U.K.). (Oct.) [/em]