The Pale Blue Eye by Louis Bayard
A Novel

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Synopsis

From the critically acclaimed author of Mr. Timothy comes an ingenious tale of murder and revenge, featuring a retired New York City detective and a young cadet named Edgar Allan Poe.

At West Point Academy in 1830, the calm of an October evening is shattered by the discovery of a young cadet's body swinging from a rope just off the parade grounds. An apparent suicide is not unheard of in a harsh regimen like West Point's, but the next morning, an even greater horror comes to light. Someone has stolen into the room where the body lay and removed the heart.

At a loss for answers and desperate to avoid any negative publicity, the Academy calls on the services of a local civilian, Augustus Landor, a former police detective who acquired some renown during his years in New York City before retiring to the Hudson Highlands for his health. Now a widower, and restless in his seclusion, Landor agrees to take on the case. As he questions the dead man's acquaintances, he finds an eager assistant in a moody, intriguing young cadet with a penchant for drink, two volumes of poetry to his name, and a murky past that changes from telling to telling. The cadet's name? Edgar Allan Poe.

Impressed with Poe's astute powers of observation, Landor is convinced that the poet may prove useful—if he can stay sober long enough to put his keen reasoning skills to the task. Working in close contact, the two men—separated by years but alike in intelligence—develop a surprisingly deep rapport as their investigation takes them into a hidden world of secret societies, ritual sacrifices, and more bodies. Soon, however, the macabre murders and Landor's own buried secrets threaten to tear the two men and their newly formed friendship apart.

A rich tapestry of fine prose and intricately detailed characters, The Pale Blue Eye transports readers into a labyrinth of the unknown that will leave them guessing until the very end.

 

About Louis Bayard

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A writer, book reviewer, and the author of Mr. Timothy a A writer, book reviewer, and the author of Mr. Timothy a A writer, book reviewer, and the author of Mr. Timothy a A writer, book reviewer, and the author of Mr. Timothy and "The Pale Blue Eye", Louis Bayard has written for the "Nend "The Pale Blue Eye", Louis Bayard has written for the "Nend "The Pale Blue Eye", Louis Bayard has written for the "Nend "The Pale Blue Eye", Louis Bayard has written for the "New York Times", "Washington Post", and Salon.com, among otherw York Times", "Washington Post", and Salon.com, among otherw York Times", "Washington Post", and Salon.com, among otherw York Times", "Washington Post", and Salon.com, among other media outlets. He lives in Washington, D.C. media outlets. He lives in Washington, D.C. media outlets. He lives in Washington, D.C. media outlets. He lives in Washington, D.C.
 
Published October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 448 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Business & Economics. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Pale Blue Eye

Kirkus Reviews

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Oh well, for the only relationship that really matters is the tender one between Landor and Poe, as they cozy up on bleak winter nights to get drunk and ponder the meaning of it all, until Landor discovers the sad lies that knit together Poe’s past.

Jun 01 2006 | Read Full Review of The Pale Blue Eye: A Novel

The New York Times

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In Louis Bayard's novel, Edgar Allan Poe's fellow cadets at West Point keep turning up dead.

Jul 09 2006 | Read Full Review of The Pale Blue Eye: A Novel

Book Reporter

Landor and Poe scour the grounds for clues, interviewing the victims' acquaintances and even listening to wild rumors.

Jan 14 2011 | Read Full Review of The Pale Blue Eye: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

Both books succeed by emulating the suspense structure of Poe's exquisitely lurid short stories and — particularly in the case of The Pale Blue Eye — adding the romanticism of Poe's lyric poetry.

May 24 2006 | Read Full Review of The Pale Blue Eye: A Novel

USA Today

The Pale Blue Eye by Louis Bayard features Poe as a 20-year-old cadet at West Point, which he attended briefly as part of a haphazard education. The novel's hero and narrator is Gus Landor, a legendary New York City detective who has retired to the Hudson Highland...

| Read Full Review of The Pale Blue Eye: A Novel

Reviewing the Evidence

There are even chapters written by cadet Poe that are eerily in the real Poe's style.

| Read Full Review of The Pale Blue Eye: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Edgar Allan Poe spent all of six months as a West Point cadet before being discharged for disobedience, but—as Louis Bayard imagines it—the Academy may have inspired some of Poe’s fiction.

Aug 21 2007 | Read Full Review of The Pale Blue Eye: A Novel

Monsters and Critics

The story line is intriguing - an ex New York cop is lured out of retirement to investigate a brutal murder at America's West Point military academy.

Apr 05 2007 | Read Full Review of The Pale Blue Eye: A Novel

Reader Rating for The Pale Blue Eye
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