A Mystery of Mysteries: The Life and Death of Edgar Allan Poe by Mark Dawidziak

A Mystery of Mysteries: The Life and Death of Edgar Allan Poe by Mark Dawidziak

Title:  A Mystery of Mysteries: The Life and Death of Edgar Allan Poe
Author: Mark Dawidziak
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre:  Biographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction (Adult)
Format:  Kindle
No. of Pages:  
Date of US Publication:  14 February, 2023
My Rating:   3 Stars

My Thoughts 

The synopsis for this is fascinating and the cover is compelling - both decided me on reading this. 

Unfortunately, the writing style here didn’t work for me, I found it lackluster. I recognize the research and obvious attention to detail, but the writing really did affect my enjoyment. 

This is my own personal taste, so don’t take that into consideration if you’re looking for a Poe biography, you’re not going to find anything new here, so if you have a lot of books about Poe, I’d grab this one from the library if you’re still keen to read.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the DRC.


A Mystery of Mysteries is a brilliant biography of Edgar Allan Poe that examines the renowned author’s life through the prism of his mysterious death and its many possible causes.

It is a moment shrouded in horror and mystery. Edgar Allan Poe died on October 7, 1849, at just forty, in a painful, utterly bizarre manner that would not have been out of place in one of his own tales of terror. What was the cause of his untimely death, and what happened to him during the three missing days before he was found, delirious and “in great distress” on the streets of Baltimore, wearing ill-fitting clothes that were not his own?

Mystery and horror. Poe, who remains one of the most iconic of American writers, died under haunting circumstances that reflect the two literary genres he took to new heights. Over the years, there has been a staggering amount of speculation about the cause of death, from rabies and syphilis to suicide, alcoholism, and even murder. But many of these theories are formed on the basis of the caricature we have come to associate with Poe: the gloomy-eyed grandfather of Goth, hunched over a writing desk with a raven perched on one shoulder, drunkenly scribbling his chilling masterpieces. By debunking the myths of how he lived, we come closer to understanding the real Poe—and uncovering the truth behind his mysterious death, as a new theory emerges that could prove the cause of Poe’s death was haunting him all his life.

In a compelling dual-timeline narrative alternating between Poe’s increasingly desperate last months and his brief but impactful life, Mark Dawidziak sheds new light on the enigmatic master of macabre.


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