REVIEWS 

Edgar Allan Poe and the Jewel of Peru

Pegasus Books (8 May 2018 HB)

OneWorld Publications (23 August 2018)

AST Publications 2018   

Edgar Allan Poe once again plays detective in Street’s excellent sequel to 2016’s Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster. In 1844, Poe is living in Philadelphia, where he receives a package containing three dismembered crows. Although the disturbing parcel was sent anonymously, Poe is certain that it came from his London nemesis, George Rhynwick Williams. His suspicions increase when Williams’s lover, Rowena Fontaine, turns up in town under another name. Poe becomes more fearful after two more packages are delivered and one’s contents suggest that C. Auguste Dupin, his partner in detection, may also be at risk. Meanwhile, Helena Loddiges, a woman who hired Poe to edit an ornithology book for her, entreats him to solve the murders of her father’s bird collector, Andrew Mathews, and Andrew’s son, Jeremiah. Jeremiah has appeared to her in a vision and asked her a cryptic question: “Where is the Jewel?”   Street enhances the Grand Guignol plot with a plausible and empathetic portrayal of her lead.  (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

Verdict:  Street excels at seamlessly joining history and fiction, displaying a literary style not unlike Poe’s, complete with touches of the macabre and melodramatic. Her depiction of Poe’s relationship with Sissy, his young wife, and Muddy, his mother-in-law, is skillfully drawn and very touching.  Fans of Poe and Dupin will look forward to more adventures of the detecting duo.” ( Library Journal)

“In the second of the Poe and Dupin trilogy, (after Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster, 2016), Street successfully combines historical fact with fiction. A particular treat for fans of the master of the macabre.” (Booklist)

"This somewhat macabre mystery entranced me. Its Gothic mix of antebellum Philadelphia, exotic Peru, hints of vanished cultures and lost treasure, taxidermy, and a cast of intriguing and unusual characters drew me into the tale like a fly caught in a spider’s web. Street’s writing is evocative and true to the period while the plot unwinds in unexpected ways. This is an engaging read. Recommended for lovers of Poe’s writings, for those who enjoy the Gothic and macabre, and for all historical mystery fans." (Historical Novel Review)

"Come for the mystery, stay for Street’s fantastic characters, gorgeous writing, and oodles of atmosphere. This is an utterly delightful treat that’s not to be missed. You’ll certainly get more out of the series if you start with Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster, but you can certainly jump in here without much of a hiccup." (Criminal Element)

"Karen Lee Street has taken a literary great in Edgar Allan Poe, claimed by many as the creator of the first detective story and his fictional detective creation C Auguste Dupin and very adeptly fashioned a highly enjoyable series. With her plots and characters she expertly creates the pattern and form of the 19th Century Romantic Gothic style. There are mysterious and dangerous villains scheming beneath the surface of the genteel suburban life of Philadelphia's middle classes.This is a cleverly penned work of intrigue and enigma. There are blind alleys and false dawns a plenty to satisfy the puzzle solver, while the characterizations are adroitly delineated and rich in detail to entertain those who search for the dramatic." (Shots Magazine)

"Sensitive Edgar Allan Poe and his mysterious comrade C. Augustus Dupin team up with Poe’s wife and
an eccentric taxidermist in Street’s (Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster, 2016) second novel.  An enjoyable romp through the drawing rooms, theaters, and docks of early-19th-century Philadelphia."  (Kirkus Review)

"Street’s slightly self-deprecating and occasionally darkly humorous narrative echoes Poe’s style and fashions him as the somewhat unwilling hero of his own story." (Bookpage)

"A duplicitous, at times macabre, and very clever tale worthy of Mr. Poe’s name. Edgar Allan Poe and the Jewel of Peru is an invigorating mystery that feels both new and old at once. Its rich depiction of Edgar Allan Poe and its language, which has the same quality as Poe’s own prose, add depth and substance to the story. The smile-inducing combination of Poe and Dupin as crime-solving partners is admirably achieved without stretching the novel’s credibility. The Jewel of Peru is a traditional mystery most readers will find attractive, but its full appeal is for those with a deep appreciation for Poe and his writing." (Mystery Scene Magazine)

"Glittering and dark, this is a veritable Cabinet of Curiosities – murder, treasure hunting, premonitions and the uncanny art of taxidermy, plus an unsettling glimpse of American history we would do well to remember… all refracted through the mind of Poe, with his easily-spooked sensitivity and the cool deductions of his fictional detective Dupin. Images of eerie beauty, sudden action, filmic tableau and a fiendish plot combine to weave a world the real Poe might be thrilled to find himself inhabiting, even while the shadow of his own untimely fate waits in the wings." (Philip Gross, author and winner of T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry)

"The historical background provided of America in 1844 is excellent and the clever utilisation of Poe’s own life.  Virginia features as a co-investigator with Edgar and Dupin but her fragile health is emphasised.  The mystery is exciting with South American explorations at the centre." (Mystery People Magazine)

"Playing on elements of Edgar Allan Poe's own stories of mysteries and revenge with unbelievable depth to cunning characters... Karen Lee Street must be well versed in his work, as her own words seamlessly fall into place among the writings of the deceased writer and her own elegance seems hard to separate from verses he may have penned himself.  (Jennifer Branton, Owlcation blog)

"Rich in colour and layered with literary texture, the jewels of Karen Lee Street’s second novel are her exquisite writing and (her) returning characters Poe and Dupin...A pacey, unique, and addictive read." (Kate Mayfield, author of The Parentations and The Undertaker’s Daughter)

“A gothic gem of a story that sparkles with wit and intelligence.” (Elle Wild, Author of Strange Things Done [Arthur Ellis Award 2017 “Best First Novel”])

"Yet again Karen Lee Street has skillfully conjured up the dark and tangled world of 19th century murder. Her second installment in the Poe/Dupin trilogy is essential reading for lovers of historical crime writing, Gothic fiction and urban noir."
(National Library of Ireland Staff Crime Book Club)

 "Street has managed to channel the spirit of Poe in this narrative, and packs the novel with Easter eggs.Set amid the quarreling of Protestants and Irish Catholics, the mystery is a multipronged staff... Each point could be a mystery in and of itself. Yet there is a method in the madness of the points, building to a crescendo as the plot is finally revealed and the villain exposed. This is a book you won’t want to put down!"  (Raven's Reviews)

"If you’re a fan of historical fiction and interested in starting a promising new line of mysteries, give “London Monster” and “Jewel of Peru” a try. " (Yakima Herald-Republic, Washington)

© 2016 by Karen Lee Street