England 1819. Two enigmatic Americans arrive in London and soon after a bank collapses. A man is found dead on a building site; another goes missing in the teeming stews of the city’s notorious Seven Dials district. A deathbed vigil ends in an act of theft, and a beautiful heiress flirts with her inferiors. A strange destiny connects each of these events to an American boy, Edgar Allan Poe, who was brought to England by his foster father and sent to the leafy village of Stoke Newington to be educated.

An Unpardonable Crime is a twenty-first-century novel with a nineteenth-century voice. It is both a multilayered literary murder mystery and a love story, its setting ranging from the coal-scented fogs of late-Regency London to the stark winter landscapes of Gloucestershire. And at its center is the boy who does not really belong anywhere, an actor who never learns the significance of his part.

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