The No. 1 bestseller and award-winning Richard & Judy Book Club pick. An atmospheric and deeply absorbing literary historical crime classic - featured in The Times `Top Ten Crime Novels of the Decade'.
England 1819: Thomas Shield, a new master at a school just outside London, is tutor to a young American boy and the child's sensitive best friend, Charles Frant. Helplessly drawn to Frant's beautiful, unhappy mother, Thomas becomes entwined in their family's affairs.
When a brutal murder takes place in London's seedy backstreets, it is not certain who either the victim or the killer is. But all clues seem to lead back to the Frant household, and Shield is tangled in a web of lies, money, sex and death that threatens to tear his new life apart.
And what of the strange American boy at the heart of these macabre events - what is the dark secret of young Edgar Allan Poe?
Andrew Taylor is the author of a number of novels, including the Dougal and Lydmouth crime series, the historical thrillers Bleeding Heart Square and The Anatomy of Ghosts, the ground-breaking Roth Trilogy, which was adapted into the acclaimed drama Fallen Angel, and The American Boy, his No. 1 bestselling historical novel which was a 2005 Richard & Judy Book Club choice. He has won many awards, including the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger, an Edgar Scroll from the Mystery Writers of America, the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Award (the only author to win it twice) and the CWA's prestigious Diamond Dagger, awarded for sustained excellence in crime writing. He also writes for the Spectator. He lives with his wife Caroline in the Forest of Dean.