REVIEWS 

Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster

OneWorld Publications (7 April 2016 HB)  (September 2017 PB) 

Pegasus Books (11 October 2016 HB) (November 2017 PB) 

AST Publishing (Russia) (November 2016)   Vulkan (Serbia) (June 2017)  Paris Yayincik (Turkey) (October 2017)

Star-Studded Fiction from Burnet, Lamb, Le Guin, and Debuter Street: [DEBUT] Street’s first novel drops readers smack into an Edgar Allan Poe story, complete with all the deception, obsession, and madness of the master himself. Poe arrives in London from Philadelphia in 1840 to meet C. Auguste Dupin, his friend and an accomplished detective. The writer is seeking Dupin’s help in solving the mystery of a box of letters he inherited, letters supposedly written by his grandparents Elizabeth and Henry Arnold. True, the Arnolds were impecunious actors, but the letters imply that they performed the very unsavory role of the notorious London Monster, an actual criminal who slashed young women of quality between 1788 and 1790. Poe hopes he and Dupin will prove the letters false, but soon he is followed and tormented by someone who seems to know about his grandparents and their criminal acts. Will Poe and Dupin discover the truth before Poe loses his life—or his sanity?
Verdict:  Poe’s devoted readers will rejoice in this debut literary novel, a skillful melding of historical detail and fiction that is also rife with Poe-like style, imagery, and plot elements. Mavens of the macabre will relish this and hunger for a sequel.
(Library Journal (starred review))

"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. Street maintains atmospheric suspense throughout." (Publishers Weekly)

"Deliciously morbid…full of shuddersome gothic effects.  The prose has a lush, sumptuous rhythm to it. Street is fully in control of her material and the sheer exuberance of her writing ensures that the story never once tips over into parody or pastiche. Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster explores themes of tainted biography, revenge and retribution, and it examines the ways in which the sins of the past still haunt the present.This is a dark, highly satisfying mystery combining beautiful writing with suspense and unease. A powerful, exciting new voice and a great start to OneWorld’s crime fiction imprint." (Ripperologist Magazine

"Poe-tastic:  With my nom de plume and love of Mr Poe how could I resist this one? Despite my usual hesitation in reading historical crime fiction, I though this was marvellous. Clever, knowing, witty, and wonderfully researched with not only its reimaging of the salient details of Poe’s life, but also the repositioning of Poe’s relationship with his finest creation Dupin, banding together into a pretty damn effective detective team. There are tricks, hints and allusions to Poe’s literary oeuvre, which add a layer of reader participation as the book progresses- no, I don’t think I spotted them all- and the use of the infamous real life case of the London Monster adds another layer of interest to the book. It’s beautifully constructed, alive with the feel of the period, and all the darkness, violence and treachery one would expect of any case involving Poe. An intelligent literary crime thriller that will keep you guessing throughout. Recommended." 

(Raven Crime Reads)

"1840: Edgar Allan Poe and Auguste Dupin race to uncover the truth about a violent scandal involving Poe’s actor grandparents and a notorious London criminal in Street's debut novel. Carrying a mysterious cache of letters that point toward a connection between the Arnolds and the Monster of London, infamous for attacking several ladies in the late 1780s, Poe travels to London to meet his most famous character, here a living, breathing, and very cerebral detective. Someone desiring revenge on the true Monster cunningly reveals more hints in the form of additional letters from time to time during the investigation.  A bit like the newly imagined Sherlock Holmes movies: a dose of drama, a dash of darkness, and a little bit of humor ultimately liven up the journey." (Kirkus Review)

"This delightfully entertaining read is set in the summer of 1840, when Poe travels to London to meet Dupin, who is an experienced detective, a ratiocinative, making him very Sherlock Holmes-esque. Street has produced a fascinating portrayal of London at that time, the surroundings are vivid and she has even managed to include Charles Dickens in the storyline.  The plot comes together skilfull with a satisfying denouement. With strong characterisation, a well-crafted plot and engaging dialogue and description, it ticked every box and I thought it was a great quality read." (New Books Magazine: the Magazine for Readers & Reading Groups)
 

"The mysterious case of the letters from the past: This book is classic Poe, with many references to Poe’s actual stories like so many hidden Easter eggs hidden within the text. The pace is sometimes slow, sometimes almost frantic, but always underlined with a dread that is somehow felt more than seen. Ms. Street does a wonderful job of channeling the voice of the Master of the Macabre.  I give the book five stars." (Raven's Reviews)


A superbly morbid, dark and Gothic mystery. Clever, witty, and wonderfully researched, it offers a re-imaging of the salient details of Poe’s life, and the repositioning of his relationship with his finest creation. It’s beautifully constructed with some lush prose, alive with the feel of the period, and all the darkness, violence and treachery one would expect of Poe himself. This is a dark, but very satisfying mystery, combining first-class writing with suspense and unease and perfectly set in an authentically Dickensian London. This is also a hugely intelligent literary crime thriller which will keep you guessing throughout – and promises to be the start of a series featuring Poe and Dupin in the years before the author’s own mysterious death in 1849  (Crime Review)

"The grand Poe/ Dupin concept would be magnificent in and of itself, but it is backed up by an intelligent and witty story, and excellent research (of course, the London Monster is a real-life case). Fans of Poe will, of course, love this book, and spot many references to the great man’s literary creations. Overall, a quirky, innovative and highly enjoyable book, one crying out for a sequel." (Destructive Music Magazine)

"Another clever touch is the way in which Poe’s writing is woven into the narrative: Poe addicts will probably recognise all or most of them. But this novel should appeal across a far wider field. Highly recommended." (Radmilla May, hdbk review, Mystery People Magazine)


Poe narrates the story in an impressive approximation of his own rather baroque writing voice, and there are plenty of references to elements that were to subsequently appear in Poe’s fictional and poetical works. A sequel is planned to this entertaining and well-written novel.  (Historical Novel Society)

An impressive and stylish first novel. Its inspiration is factual—a maniac dubbed the London Monster terrorized fashionable women in 18th century London by cutting or stabbing their “derrieres” on public streets—but its telling is fictional.  Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster is both unique and entertaining. Dupin is refreshingly vivid and well drawn, and the Arnolds—made known only through their letters—are enjoyably eccentric. The mystery is familiar, but its true strength is the atmospheric telling and its literary playfulness.  (Mystery Scene Magazine)


"Author Karen Lee Street summons Edgar Allan Poe and his fictional character C. Auguste Dupin to London in this imaginative, clever and atmospheric tale. Brilliantly realized, the author sets the two sleuths on a dangerous path to unravel Poe’s family mystery. The narrative is convincingly balanced between the Georgian era when the London Monster was terrorizing the city and the early Victorian period wherein Poe and Dupin engage in their detective work. In beautifully written and entirely believable scenes that I relished reading, Poe and Dupin face their demons, which are brought to the fore and to their ultimate, deliciously twisty conclusion. Poe fans will love the finely layered references to his most famous works. A highly enjoyable debut." (Kate Mayfield, author The Undertaker's Daughter)

"This next [book] takes the infamous writer and poet, king of the macabre Edgar Allan Poe, to London where he tries to make sense of an inheritance and the life his grandparents led. A murder/mystery, the story takes the dreadful tales of slasher-mayhem unleashed in the streets of London in the 1800s. The culprit – dubbed as the London Monster – seems to be related to Poe as him and his detective friend attempt to solve the mystery. And in true Poe manner, with the intonation ‘something wicked this way comes’ there’s a sinister air brewing underneath. Author Karen Lee Street has combined this tale with a fitting, yet, unlikely character, giving us the brilliantly dark Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster."  (Bazaar Magazine, Kuwait)

A beautifully written book with a clever concept making Dupin Poe's friend.. The dialogue between the characters,  gives a real feeling of the 1800's. Recommended for lovers of historical London with plenty of crimes thrown in. (Tricia Chappell, pbk review for Mystery People)

"The first in a planned series, Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster will engage a number of different readers. Street taps into Poe lore, history, and hoaxes served with a dollop of detective fiction. Street clearly channels the motifs of both Edgar Allan Poe and of Gothic stories of the time (suckers for epistolary novels will get their fix). Readers won't be disappointed, and Street leaves you itching to go back and re-read those classic Poe stories from your student days." (Wild Hunt Magazine)

"To create a plot that involves Edgar Allan Poe and his own created character, Dupin, and make them a duo... That's probably one of the most innovative concepts I've encountered in the past couple of years of avid book consumption. Not to mention the Jack the Ripper vibe, which is always a winner when it comes to suspense and thrillers. This is, in my opinion, the grand opening for a new take on the Gothic genre.  I was on edge all the time, there wasn't a single dull moment in the story." (Waterstones, Aylesbury, staff review)

"Immersive and captivating, the world of Edgar Allen Poe created by Karen Lee Street is often more dark and thrilling than those of his poems and stories. Once you’ve discovered his family secrets you’ll never think of Poe in the same way again." (Maeve Casserly, Dublin Crime Book Group, National Library of Ireland staff)



 

© 2016 by Karen Lee Street