In the Shadow of the Master: Classic Tales by Edgar Allan Poe


Few have crafted stories as haunting as those by Edgar Allan Poe. Collected here to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Poe's birth are sixteen of his best tales accompained by twenty essays from beloved authors, including T. Jerferson Parker, Lawrence Block, Sara Paretsky, and Joseph Wambaugh, among others, on how Poe has changed their life and work.

Michael Connelly recounts the inspiration he drew from Poe's poetry while researching one of his books. Stephen King reflects on...

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In the Shadow of the Master: Classic Tales by Edgar Allan Poe

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Few have crafted stories as haunting as those by Edgar Allan Poe. Collected here to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Poe's birth are sixteen of his best tales accompained by twenty essays from beloved authors, including T. Jerferson Parker, Lawrence Block, Sara Paretsky, and Joseph Wambaugh, among others, on how Poe has changed their life and work.

Michael Connelly recounts the inspiration he drew from Poe's poetry while researching one of his books. Stephen King reflects on Poe's insight into humanity's dark side in "The Genius of 'The Tell-Tale Heart.'" Jan Burke recalls her childhood terror during late-night reading sessions. Tess Gerritsen, Nelson DeMille, and others remember the classic B-movie adaptations of Poe's tales. And in "The Thief," Laurie R. King complains about how Poe stole all the good ideas...

Powerful and timeless, In the Shadow of the Master is a celebration of one of the greatest literary minds of all time.

The Mystery Writers of America, founded in 1945, is the foremost organization for mystery writers and other professionals dedicated to the field of crime writing.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

The bicentennial of the birth of the father of modern mystery-on January 19, 2009-is bound to be observed by writers of the genre. The Mystery Writers of America (whose award of excellence is the Edgar) presents these two publications simultaneously, with identical introductory articles about the author and the organization. In the Shadow of the Master features 13 of Poe's best-known tales, poems "The Raven" and "The Bells," and an excerpt from his sole novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, followed by essays about these works from contemporary mystery authors. Most speak either generally in appreciation of the master of horror or about the effects of his work on them personally. P.J. Parrish details what writers can learn from Poe, S.J. Rozan praises his language, and King observes that Poe "foresaw the darkness of generations far beyond his own." Varied in length and quality, these afterwords serve to add a dimension to Poe's work. While libraries may own ample Poe collections intended largely for students, this volume would be useful to refresh current holdings.

The 20 new tales in honor of Poe in On a Raven's Wing act as riffs on the original works. Some echo the themes of Poe's tales (e.g., Mary Higgins Clark's "The Tell-Tale Purr" and P.J. Parrish's updated "The Tell-Tale Pacemaker"), while others focus on the horror of confinement (e.g., Brendan DuBois's "The Cask of Castle Ireland"). There are also stories involving scams centering on Poe's work or artifacts; in others, Poe's work helps to unite characters (e.g., Thomas H. Cook's "Nevermore" and Don Winslow's "Poe, Jo, and I"). Among the most frightening tales are James W. Hall's"Bells" and Stuart M. Kaminsky's "Rattle, Rattle, Rattle"; both ratchet up an atmosphere of suspense and madness in the manner of the master. Full appreciation of these tales requires a familiarity with Poe, but the collection is entertaining on its own.
—Michele Leber

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061690396
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/6/2009
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael  Connelly

Michael Connelly is one of the most prolific and bestselling writers of suspense at work today. He lives with his family in Florida.

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    1. Hometown:
      Sarasota, Florida
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 21, 1956
    2. Place of Birth:
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Journalism, University of Florida, 1980
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

In the Shadow of the Master

Chapter One

A Descent into the Maelström

The ways of God in Nature, as in Providence, are not as our ways; nor are the models that we frame any way commensurate to the vastness, profundity, and unsearchableness of His works, which have a depth in them greater than the well of Democritus.
...Joseph Glanvill

We had now reached the summit of the loftiest crag. For some minutes the old man seemed too much exhausted to speak. "Not long ago," said he at length, "and I could have guided you on this route as well as the youngest of my sons; but, about three years past, there happened to me an event such as never happened before to mortal man...or at least such as no man ever survived to tell of...and the six hours of deadly terror which I then endured have broken me up body and soul. You suppose me a very old man...but I am not. It took less than a single day to change these hairs from a jetty black to white, to weaken my limbs, and to unstring my nerves, so that I tremble at the least exertion, and am frightened at a shadow. Do you know I can scarcely look over this little cliff without getting giddy?"

The "little cliff," upon whose edge he had so carelessly thrown himself down to rest that the weightier portion of his body hung over it, while he was only kept from falling by the tenure of his elbow on its extreme and slippery edge...this "little cliff" arose, a sheer unobstructed precipice of black shining rock, some fifteen or sixteen hundred feet from the world of crags beneath us. Nothing would have tempted me to be within half a dozen yards of its brink. In truth so deeply was Iexcited by the perilous position of my companion, that I fell at full length upon the ground, clung to the shrubs around me, and dared not even glance upward at the sky...while I struggled in vain to divest myself of the idea that the very foundations of the mountain were in danger from the fury of the winds. It was long before I could reason myself into sufficient courage to sit up and look out into the distance.

"You must get over these fancies," said the guide, "for I have brought you here that you might have the best possible view of the scene of that event I mentioned...and to tell you the whole story with the spot just under your eye."

"We are now," he continued, in that particularizing manner which distinguished him..."we are now close upon the Norwegian the sixty-eighth degree of the great province of Nordland...and in the dreary district of Lofoden. The mountain upon whose top we sit is Helseggen, the Cloudy. Now raise yourself up a little higher...hold on to the grass if you feel look out, beyond the belt of vapor beneath us, into the sea."

I looked dizzily, and beheld a wide expanse of ocean, whose waters wore so inky a hue as to bring at once to my mind the Nubian geographer's account of the Mare Tenebrarum. A panorama more deplorably desolate no human imagination can conceive. To the right and left, as far as the eye could reach, there lay outstretched, like ramparts of the world, lines of horridly black and beetling cliff, whose character of gloom was but the more forcibly illustrated by the surf which reared high up against its white and ghastly crest, howling and shrieking for ever. Just opposite the promontory upon whose apex we were placed, and at a distance of some five or six miles out at sea, there was visible a small, bleak-looking island; or, more properly, its position was discernible through the wilderness of surge in which it was enveloped. About two miles nearer the land, arose another of smaller size, hideously craggy and barren, and encompassed at various intervals by a cluster of dark rocks.

The appearance of the ocean, in the space between the more distant island and the shore, had something very unusual about it. Although, at the time, so strong a gale was blowing landward that a brig in the remote offing lay to under a double-reefed trysail, and constantly plunged her whole hull out of sight, still there was here nothing like a regular swell, but only a short, quick, angry cross dashing of water in every well in the teeth of the wind as otherwise. Of foam there was little except in the immediate vicinity of the rocks.

"The island in the distance," resumed the old man, "is called by the Norwegians Vurrgh. The one midway is Moskoe. That a mile to the northward is Ambaaren. Yonder are Islesen, Hotholm, Keildhelm, Suarven, and Buckholm. Farther off...between Moskoe and Vurrgh...are Otterholm, Flimen, Sandflesen, and Stockholm. These are the true names of the places...but why it has been thought necessary to name them at all, is more than either you or I can understand. Do you hear any thing? Do you see any change in the water?"

We had now been about ten minutes upon the top of Helseggen, to which we had ascended from the interior of Lofoden, so that we had caught no glimpse of the sea until it had burst upon us from the summit. As the old man spoke, I became aware of a loud and gradually increasing sound, like the moaning of a vast herd of buffaloes upon an American prairie; and at the same moment I perceived that what seamen term the chopping character of the ocean beneath us, was rapidly changing into a current which set to the eastward. Even while I gazed, this current acquired a monstrous velocity. Each moment added to its its headlong impetuosity. In five minutes the whole sea, as far as Vurrgh, was lashed into ungovernable fury; but it was between Moskoe and the coast that the main uproar held its sway. Here the vast bed of the waters, seamed and scarred into a thousand conflicting channels, burst suddenly into phrensied convulsion...heaving, boiling, hissing...gyrating in gigantic and innumerable vortices, and all whirling and plunging on to the eastward with a rapidity which water never elsewhere assumes except in precipitous descents.

In the Shadow of the Master. Copyright © by Michael Connelly. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

About Edgar Allan Poe

About the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award

What Poe Hath Wrought Michael Connelly Connelly, Michael

A Descent into the Maelstrom 1

On Edgar Allan Poe T. Jefferson Parker Parker, T. Jefferson 21

The Cask of Amontillado 25

Under the Covers With Fortunato and Montresor Jan Burke Burke, Jan 35

The Curse of Amontillado Lawrence Block Block, Lawrence 39

The Black Cat 45

Pluto's Heritage P. J. Parrish Parrish, P. J. 57

William Wilson 63

Identity Crisis Lisa Scottoline Scottoline, Lisa 87

Manuscript Found in a Bottle 95

In a Strange City: Baltimore and the Poe Toaster Laura Lippman Lippman, Laura 107

The Fall of the House of Usher 113

Once Upon a Midnight Dreary Michael Connelly Connelly, Michael 137

The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar 143

The Thief Laurie R. King King, Laurie R. 155

Ligeia 159

Poe and Me at the Movies Tess Gerritsen Gerritsen, Tess 177

The Tell-Tale Heart 181

The Genius of "The Tell-Tale Heart" Stephen King King, Stephen 189

The First Time Steve Hamilton Hamilton, Steve 191

The Pit and the Pendulum 195

The Pit, the Pendulum, and Perfection Edward D. Hoch Hoch, Edward D. 213

The Pit and the Pendulum at the Palace Peter Robinson Robinson, Peter 215

The Masque of the Red Death 221

Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, and Me S. J. Rozan Rozan, S. J. 229

The Murders in the Rue Morgue 233

The Quick and the Undead Nelson DeMille DeMille, Nelson 273

The Gold Bug 283

Imagining Edgar Allan Poe Sara Paretsky Paretsky, Sara 325

The Raven 331

Rantin' and Ravin' Joseph Wambaugh Wambaugh, Joseph 337

A Little Thought on Poe Thomas H. Cook Cook, Thomas H. 339

The Bells 343

Poe in G Minor JefferyDeaver Deaver, Jeffery 349

Excerpt from

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket 355

How I Became an Edgar Allan Poe Convert Sue Grafton Grafton, Sue 381

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  • Posted May 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

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    Awesome Collection

    This is an awesome collection to have in one's own library.

    Everyone should own Poe works, along with Ohio Blue Tips by Jeanne E. Clark, The Photos In The Closet by Daniel E. Lopez, and works by Alison Townsend.

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