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On Night's Shore: A Novel

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Exciting Edgar Allen Poe mystery

    In 1840 New York, writer Edgar Allen Poe, needing something that pays the bills, accepts a job as a reporter for The Mirror. Obtaining the job is easy for Mr. Poe, but finding a story proves a bit more difficult until he meets ten-year old waif Augie Dubbins, who seems to make a better than him by conning immigrants and stealing food. The ragamuffin child escorts Poe to the Hudson River docks where they find the corpse of Mary Rogers, a young shopgirl. <P>Poe reports the case in the Mirror. Due to the story grabbing the attention of the entire city, his editor sends him to conduct a follow-up article. The official investigation seems totally inadequate to Poe. Along with Master Dubbins, Poe begins his own inquiries not yet realizing the danger he places himself and his young sidekick in. <P> ON NIGHT¿S SHORE is an exciting historical mystery that is very entertaining as it brings alive a bygone era in New York City. The historical references provide a feel for the period even as the author states he took poetic license with specific dates for improved plotting purposes. The sleuthing by Poe and partner is made to fit what is known of the writer so that the audience can picture him wandering the city in pursuit of a story. An elderly Augie looking back in time tells the story. This technique works because the narrator transposes his matured thought process and feelings onto himself as a child, which in turn gives the tale its heart. That feeling is more genuine because long-term memories are often obfuscated by time. Randall Silvis provides sub-genre fans with a delightful look at Edgar Allen Poe, amateur sleuth. <P>Harriet Klausner

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