This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Dante Club: Historical Mystery by…

The Dante Club: Historical Mystery (edition 2014)

by Matthew Pearl (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,6691501,021 (3.37)211
In 1865, the preparations of the Dante Club--led by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Oliver Wendell Holmes--to release the first translation of Dante's "The Divine Comedy" are threatened by a series of murders that re-create episodes from "Inferno."
Title:The Dante Club: Historical Mystery
Authors:Matthew Pearl (Author)
Info:Vintage (2014)
Collections:Untitled collection
Tags:Books on books

Work details

The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl

  1. 70
    The Alienist by Caleb Carr (cmbohn)
    cmbohn: 19th century New York with a serial killer - better than this one.
  2. 41
    The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson (iubookgirl)
    iubookgirl: If you enjoy books that weave real historical figures and events into a work of fiction, you'll love this book.
  3. 20
    The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (adithyajones)
  4. 00
    My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk (adithyajones)
  5. 00
    Heresy by S. J. Parris (cbl_tn)
  6. 00
    The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin (adithyajones)
  7. 00
    A Death in Vienna by Frank Tallis (heidialice)
    heidialice: Also published as "Death in Vienna", "Mortal Mischief" is the first in a series of historical fiction murder mysteries set in Vienna, with Freud as a minor character.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 211 mentions

English (132)  Spanish (5)  Italian (5)  German (3)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (149)
Showing 1-5 of 132 (next | show all)
A complex novel, featuring several real historical figures. In fact, few of the characters are not from history.

The Dante Club did in fact exist and did in fact originally contain Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and J.T. Fields. These four emerge as the main characters here.

Holmes, Lowell, and Fields are helping Longfellow with his translation of Dante's Divine Comedy, in 1865, when a strange murder happens. Not long after, a second murder. The club members notice something familiar about the murders: they resemble scenes from Dante's Inferno. Slowly they realize that they are perhaps the only persons in Boston at that time who might be able to solve these murders.

Meanwhile, hot on the trail is Nicholas Rey, the first mulatto policeman in Boston. Not a Dante scholar, he has nevertheless enough intelligence to hone in on the Dante Club for assistance. Theirs is not an alliance, at least not at first, as the club members figure they will be taken for suspects if what they know becomes public.

Written with a great deal if insight into the time and the characters, the story is fleshed out in the slower tempo typical of the day.

A good introduction into the time after the Civil War, including details of war itself, and into the characters of Holmes, Lowell, Longfellow, and Fields.


When the perp is finally discovered, Pearl takes us on a journey of his life up to then, an attempt to explain his actions. I found the explanation complicated and hard to believe. It is almost as if the killer is strung along by puppet strings because his actions are hard to put together with his thoughts and beliefs. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
I have enjoyed reading Longfellow's poetry, but never knew anything about the man. Nor did I know that he translated Dante's Inferno. Now I'll have to read it! Fascinating portrait of him, several other notable characters of the time and the post civil war era. ( )
  rodweston | Apr 23, 2020 |
Good but not great. It drags way too long in parts, but it still is enjoyable. I enjoyed [b:The Last Dickens|5588668|The Last Dickens|Matthew Pearl|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1440872878s/5588668.jpg|5760012] more but this had it's moments. One of the main things I didn't enjoy was the author trying to almost desperately talk about racism without really talking about it--and as such became more annoying rather than enlightening.

Worth the read if have some interest in the era. ( )
  Skybalon | Mar 19, 2020 |
The learning the underpins the murder mystery is impressive, and affords an intellectual lagniappe to those drawn solely to the puzzle to be solved. The murders for me echoed the gruesome symbology of Dan Brown, which seemed to fit. I learned quite a lot concerning Dante and the Divine Comedy, a work I've never gotten around to. The use of historical characters--poets all, again not my bailiwick, so I've little to compare it against--strikes me as believable. Pearl does a good job of capturing the details of post-civil war Cambridge in terms of both language and lifestyle. The chapter describing the motivations and the descent into madness of the antagonist was also credible, and appreciated because it made the rest of the novel more comprehensible. For the genre, it is difficult to imagine a better execution. ( )
  dono421846 | Jul 23, 2019 |
An almost 5-Star book (I give it 4-1/2) much to my surprise. The first 2/3 is so slow you have to fight not to bail. My impression was the author shared so many details to prove he is an expert on all things Dante, and I’m sure he is. But then wham! The mystery is complex, impossible to decipher, with many many twists and turns that are all relevant. The last 1/3 made up for the rest of the book and I loved it. ( )
  KarenMonsen | Sep 6, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 132 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Matthew Pearlprimary authorall editionscalculated
Abelsen, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Publisher Series

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To Lino, my professor, and Ian, my teacher
First words
John Kurtz, the chief of the Boston police, breathed in some of his heft for a better fit between the two chambermaids.
The proof of poetry was... that it reduced to the essence of a single line the vague philosophy that floated in all men's minds, so as to render it portable and useful, ready to the hand.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

In 1865, the preparations of the Dante Club--led by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Oliver Wendell Holmes--to release the first translation of Dante's "The Divine Comedy" are threatened by a series of murders that re-create episodes from "Inferno."

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

LibraryThing Author

Matthew Pearl is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

profile page | author page

Author Chat

Matthew Pearl chatted with LibraryThing members from Oct 5, 2009 to Oct 16, 2009. Read the chat.

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.37)
0.5 8
1 75
1.5 5
2 161
2.5 48
3 459
3.5 127
4 496
4.5 33
5 169


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 151,667,537 books! | Top bar: Always visible