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My Clockwork Muse (The Poe Files Mysteries)…

My Clockwork Muse (The Poe Files Mysteries)

by D.R. Erickson

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I had so much fun reading this book. Reminiscent of a cross between Matthew Pearl and HG Wells, this steampunk novel was fast paced, witty, and charming. While a bit predictable at times, I still could not put this book down. I can't wait to get my hands on the next in the series. ( )
  Cathyvil | Apr 7, 2013 |
An exciting and fast-paced story told in the first person with Edgar Allan Poe as the protagonist. Edgar Allan, himself, is being accused of murders that copycat his stories. He spends much time dashing back and forth trying to prove his innocence. Accusations fly. Inspector Gessler is hot on his trail. He finds an ally in the lovely Olimpia, who believes in him completely. But even she cannot protect him from evil.
Part of the intrigue is trying to understand which is real and which is just a dream sequence, brought on by Poe's somnambulism. Or who is real and who is evil. I found myself reading faster and faster, skipping ahead to find out what was going to happen, then slowing myself down to savor the story. ( )
  AnnieLeo | Jan 23, 2012 |
This publication is more jeu d’esprit than tour de force. The trip—more mechanical than macabre—is like overdosing on Edgar Allan Poe fiction. But the ride is enjoyable.

Set in 1847 New York, the tale is told by Poe as he channels his detective alter-ego, C. Auguste Dupin, in solving the local murders that replicate those proposed in Poe’s writings. Chasing throughout the boroughs, Poe is as hot to capture the culprit as he is to avoid the police pursuit since he remains the chief suspect.

Historically, Poe’s wife Virginia died in January 1847. We’re not told exactly at what time in 1847 the story happens. Regardless, it might be more poignant for the narrator to be more morose and depressed at her loss than we have evidence here.

The narrator is helped as well as harangued by a raven named Tap that isn’t “rapping at my chamber,” but actually rapping inside the room. Initially, Tap’s patter might seem out of place and time until we discover later what Tap does during his night flights. At that point, we can appreciate the charm of this talking bird device.

The insertion of the character names Coppelius and Olimpia should signal a snicker to E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “Sandman.” Coppelius was a menacing alchemist and Olimpia—well, please refer to this novel’s title.

There are proofing glitches in this printing, and publisher’s quotation marks would smooth any eye-strain. Accuracy is the bane in writing historical fiction. Although Dickerson acknowledges some glaring anachronisms in his Afterword, he overlooks several others. Trains, for instance, were not in vogue in New York until the mid-1850s, and Grand Central Station (nee Terminal) wasn’t erected until 1871. Eyedroppers came into use in the 1930s; pipettes were normally used in laboratories. “Zombie” is a late 19th Century concept. And the golden age of automata is generally acknowledged to run from the 1860s to about 1910.

Although attempting to imitate Poe’s prosody, Erickson’s narrative style doesn’t quite consistently capture Poe’s. Dismiss his literary inaccuracies or flawed biographical references and we can enjoy the many Poe-tic elements from panic and pyschosis, to spectres and dopplegangers, and macbre scenes plus splashes of automatons and time travel. ( )
  terk71 | Jan 13, 2012 |
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