I wanted so badly to love A Mystery of Mysteries: The Death and Life of Edgar Allan Poe by Mark Dawidziak. It started out strong. I learned that the image of Poe that we’re presented with these days is a thin caricature of the robust person that Edgar Allen Poe really was. For most of his life, Poe was funny and athletic; not the morose, sickly looking image we have come to know. Another fact I wasn’t aware of: during the height of his career, he was actually best known as an excellent book critic, penning scathing reviews for magazines of his time.
The facts presented in the book were well researched. I learned a lot about Poe’s life and they mystery surrounding his death. The book is structured so the chapters alternate between the last days of Poe’s life and a biography of his life. While the book is very informative, I also found it to be very dry reading. And many of the statements about Poe’s life and temperance were repeated – often – throughout the book.
I’d say this book is good for diehard Edgar Allen Poe fans who want to learn more about his life – and death. The information is all great. But don’t expect to be drawn into the book. I understand not all books are meant to entertain everyone. Your personal mileage may vary. I am giving this book a mysterious 3 out of 5 stars.
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.