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Le of Dick Lit Distinctive brown cover technical tools on the cover and mahogany tones and pipe smoke throughout All of the women characters are difficult To Bring Into Focus bring into focus re silly little things panting for attention and totally oblivious about how trivial they are Even the one with the biggest part to play didn t place a shred of passion on the side of sanity Landor has a cookie cutter girl friend a barmaid who is sleeping with scores of others She is there so that we can have bosoms swaying to the rhythm of pot scrubbing and because we need someone who looks at him with distain and tells him to uit the case because it s killing himAnd then there s the end Don t worry I won t give it away But I will tell ou that there s a twist And it s not foreshadowed to an extent where it is warranted In other words Bayard broke the cardinal rule of novel writing I felt manipulated The twist comes from so far out of the court that I was beginning to wonder if I d get through the book without having aliens land and tell us they were just there to serve manBut then there s Poe He plays his part unflinchingly The Pale Blue Eye is fun for anyone who wants to be prompted to read a biography about Poe I know I want to get one The details Bayard supplies about him are crisp humorous and fascinating Was he ever a cadet at West Point Did he dedicate his first book of poems to the Academy because he d manipulated the cadets into buying a copy Considering all that the book has given me to think about I guess I m glad I read it But I m even glad that it s over Audio There are many well written reviews of this book on Goodreads I loved reading the reviews and seeing why people liked this book I just didn t like it that well I haven t read a lot of Edgar Allen Poe and although I understand that the language in this book was supposed to be indicative of his style it was just too wordy and flowery for me It dragged in too many places and the fun parts were few and far between It would have been better for me had it all been like this Oh Leah let me play Screamed Mrs Maruis Leah needed no injunction than that uit her place at the piano and hied herself straight to the back of the column wrapped her hands around Artemis waist and set to swaying Mrs Maruis proudly perched on the piano bench pounded out a dance tune recently imported from Vienna playing it double time with an almost frightening virtuosity And there I sat smiling coatless and damp asking myself Which of the people in this room just tried to kill meBecause Poe was a real person I expected this to be a historical novel but the details of his life his words and his character traits the story taking place when he is a The Big Book of Losers: Pathetic but True Tales of the World's Most Titanic Failures! (Factoid Books) young man were completely fabricated by the author Even the crux of the story a murder at West Point Academy never happened I like a little history with my history whenever possible Ifou like 18th and 19th century literature the gothic genre in general or are a big fan of Poe read on This whodunnit didn t really do it for me 19th Century West PointWonderful characters and creative story that involves cadets gone missing and then found dead with hearts cut out On the first instance Mr Landor a retired constable who lived close by was recruited by the academy to solve the death suicide or murder Sylvanus Thayer had just asked me to save the honor of the US Military Academy by once taking up the work I had sworn off for goodLandor asks permission to have inside help and speaks with candidates Among them Edgar Poe I believe it is incumbent upon me and the honor of this institution to divulge some of the conclusions which I have reached regarding l affaire Fry He threw back his head as he said it I remember thinking that anyone who used a phrase like l affaire Fry should probably throw back his head Exactly like thatPoe and Landor make uite the interesting team conducting investigations in the dark and on the uiet Poe falls in love with a oung woman sister to one of the individuals under suspicion Both Poe and Landor discover separately she is subject to the falling disease Her father is the resident physician for the academy but is a weak man subject to whims of his wife son and daughterTo say could spoil the plot I learned of this writer from someone s review on of a Stephen Gallagher book a writer I enjoy. T But none of it seems musty Bayard does what all those ads for historical tourist destinations promise as Landor says at death's door the past comes on with all the force of the present. Ealed as a genuine and part of the story that I found endlessly fascinating despite having zero interest in learning anything about it before nowcheckA truly unlikely Watson drawn from real life with such care I had to remind myself I wasn t reading nonfictioncheckDevil worshipcheckI mean what can a girl ask for This book may not be for everyone But if ou are a lover of words and in particular the rich complex 19th Century literary and often poetic style of Edgar Allan Poe this book is a treat Yes it s a mystery with multiple gruesome and bloody deaths and murders at its heart but than that it s an exploration of complex and dark characters human beingsand exploration of the darkside of the psyche The book has a slow pace almost measured and it takes its time developing the strands of a complex plot and subplot If Un lieu incertain you are on the impatient sideou may find Starman The Truth Behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin yourself occasionally wishing that Mr Bayard would speed things up But the good news is whenou reach the ending the multiple strands of the complex and dark web of characters and motivations that Louis Bayard has wovenpay off supremely in both surprising and deeply satisfying ways Wihtout has wovenpay off supremely in both surprising and deeply satisfying ways Wihtout anything awaythis is a book which ou have to read literally until the last chapter and the last page and the last linesto truly appreciate Also it helps to have some knowledge of Poe s writings and work because many of the images scenes and moments which Bayard invents presage some of the darker and memorable moments of Poe s future masterworks of the macabre All in all a deeply satisfying novel And Louis Bayard if ou are listeningmy hat is off to Edge of Chaos Sons of Chaos MC you sirthankou When retired constable Gus Landor is summoned out of his upstate New York retirement to investigate a strange death at the not Vol au-dessus d'un nid de coucou yet permanent West Point he encounters a charismatic brilliant cadet named Edgar Allen Poe The two team up to solve the mystery using the techniues the estimable Mr Poe would apply in helping establish the murder mystery genre Bayard is up to his usual tricks here delving into literary history for characters and notions and coming up with a rollicking good time You know that somewhere in the storyou will come across the word tintinnabulation and that ravens will appear The small details make this an enjoyable read so The Summer I Wasn't Me you might want to brush up onour Edgar Allen to enhance the experience I have a large but to toss in here though I found Bayard s explanation for the mystery well one of them anyway noisy and unconvincing It took away from my enjoyment But if ou can tolerate that the ride is a fun one and life is about the journey right not necessarily the destinationOther Bayard titles I have enjoyed includeThe Black Tower Mr Timothy The School of Night The Pale Blue Eye by Louis Bayard is like the writings of one of his characters a tale of mystery and imagination Set at West Point in the 19th Century the novel has all the flavor and ambiance befitting such a setting I love reading books that fictionalize real people Bayard fictionalizes the leadership of West Point at that time as well as one of the most eccentric writers in American historyThe chief investigator of this mysterydetective novel enlists one Cadet Edgar Allen Poe to assist him in his investigation Bayard brings Poe to life to a greater extent than he does with any of his other characters Reading the chapters of Poe s reports to Gus Landor the chief investigator of this creepy mysterious case I couldn t help but think that Bayard was having a lot of fun at Poe s expense Bayard does an excellent job of writing Poe s reports to Landor in a tongue in cheek faux PoeEven though the story line has every creepy element conceivable mysterious murders hearts stolen from corpses villains stealing through the darkness in cloaks mysterious strangers disappearing cadets and a graveyard of other things whenever Poe walked off the page it all turned dull Bayard tried to make his protagonist interesting Gus Landor an ex New York detective with a mysterious past I m getting tired of using the word mysterious and a bend toward alcoholism leads the investigation Throughout the book Landor looked up at me from the page wanting me to care about him I just couldn t He wasn t likeable or interestingThe Pale Blue Eye feels like a guy book If we have Chick Lit here is an examp. Hic tropes Landor is attacked in the dark woods and in a dark closet Messengers drive phaetons There's black magic phrenology a profusion of ghosts even a boat trip through torch lit mis. .
Mystery This was going to get four stars right up until twenty pages from the end at which point it seriously pissed me offAugustus Landor retired New York constable recounts his involvement in a murder investigation that takes place at West Point in 1830 Guest starring Edgar Allan Poe I thoroughly enjoyed the first 387 pages of this novel It s a nice little mystery with a hint of the supernatural and lots of cold West Point atmosphere Bayard is an engaging writer His prose is clear and simple with freuent moments of wonderfulness and the story progresses at a good clip revealing clues and hidden allegiances as it builds up a friendship between clues and hidden allegiances as it builds up a friendship between and Poe Poe actually did spend a few months as a West Point cadet that much is true but his character could have been any pale self aggrandizing heartbroken slacker intellectual there s re Kudos to Louis Bayard for this uniue and cleverly crafted murder mystery set in the early days of The US Military Academy at West Point an unlikely setting but not as unusual as the casting of Cadet Fourth Class Edgar Allan Poe in a lead role Poe indeed attended West Point albeit briefly a historical fact which the talented Bayard uses to full advantage in spinning a tale that apes Poe s macabre eerie surrealist style while at the same time capturing intrigue and enigma that could pass for Arthur Conan Doyle When a cadet is found hanged an apparent suicide But as if that is not enough the corpse is posthumously desecrated with the removal of the oung man s heart West Point Superintendent Colonel Sylvanus Thayer fearing political fallout for the fledging institution calls in Augustus Landor local resident and former New York City police detective of so You can t swing a dead cat these days without hitting a book with historical characters in a fictional setting And I swing a lot of dead cats believe meWhen it s done well though who cares how many of them there are And Louis Bayard does it well Fresh off his fine Mr Timothy his look at Dickens Tiny Tim as an adult OK so Tiny Tim wasn t historical but ou get the idea Bayard threw Edgar Allan Poe into a novel No he s not the first or last to do this but The Pale Blue Eye which of course takes its name from a Poe poem also is a successWhereas Mr Timothy was only superficially connected to A Christmas Carol really it could have been any down on his luck Englishman of the time The Pale Blue Eye is full on Poe circa 1830 when he was a cadet at West Point Former cop Gus Landor is called in to solve the death a hanging suicide murder and subseuent de hearting disheartening OK he had his heart torn out of a West Pointer Before long Landor meets the then unknown Poe is intrigued and enlists his aid in solving the crime More people die poe falls for the daughter of the west falls for the daughter of the West doctor the relationship between Landor and the not always truthful Poe takes some twists and turns and the crime doesn t get much closer to being solved We get flashes of EAP s poetry And about 10 percent of the novel is told from Poe s point of view via his written dispatches to Landor who s otherwise the first person voice here Bayard handles these sections well they sound authenticMr Timothy sure was fun Bayard has a knack for grimly humorous protagonists The Pale Blue Eye starts out in a similar vein until ou almost get tired of Landor s whimsy But the tone changes gets serious and we re smack in the middle of strange goings on Yeah the West Point powers that be do seem awfully patient as Landor s investigation plods on than a month oh wellBayard s Poe book 35 stars isn t uite as fun or as good as his Tiny Tim book but it is strong and I hope he keeps stories like these coming He s a good one I find myself on a Louis Bayard binge I uite enjoyed The Black Tower and just finished this one and was impressed as well In the historical fiction crime mystery genre which I often find myself gravitating towards a la Matthew Pearl and Caleb Carr these are excellent The Pale Blue Eye includes a oung Edgar Allen Poe during his short time at West Point Always read to the very last page with Bayard Gorgeous heart breaking writingcheckAn unreliable but completely sympathetic protagonist with Holmesein deductive skills a tragic backstory AND sex appealcheckAn expertly described setting whose real history was rev. Bayard reinvigorates historical fiction rendering the 19th century as if he'd witnessed it firsthand He employs words like caoutchouc meerschaums and anapestic as fluently as he uses Got. .