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An Unpardonable Crime:
A Novel

By Andrew Taylor

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ISBN 10: 1401329632
496 pages

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.


“. . . a remarkable thriller, elegantly written . . . a work of superlative fiction.” —Denver Post

“An absolutely unputdownable read.” –Charles Palliser

“Easily one of the best books I’ve read this year, a fabulous mystery.” –Barbara Peters, The Poisoned Pen

“A fluid, atmospheric period thriller.” —Publishers Weekly

“. . . a moody, delightful Gothic thriller . . . The period details are pitch perfect.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A wonderful book, richly composed and beautifully written, an enthralling read from start to finish.” —London Times

“Familiar conventions get a fresh coat of paint in this historical novel full of pithy observations that offer a nod to Jane Austen and colorful characters straight out of Dickens. Taylor constructs an entertaining, sometimes enchanting, world.” —People magazine

“A timeless story about arrogance, obsession and justification.” —Houston Chronicle

“The story is dark and compelling, and I was absorbed from the beginning. It will really appeal to fans of An Instance at the Fingerpost and The Dante Club.” –Eric Buscher, Posman Books

“A sophisticated writer . . . with a high degree of literary expertise.” —New York Times Book Review

“Like Hitchcock, Taylor pitches extreme and gothic events within a hair’s breadth of normality.” —Times Literary Supplement

“The most underrated crime writer in Britain today.” –Val McDermid

“Taylor is a major thriller talent.” —Time Out London

“One of Britain’s best writers of psychological suspense.” —The Times (of London)

“The most interesting novelist writing on crime in England today.” –Harriet Waugh, The Spectator


The Narrative of Thomas Shield
8th September 1819 — 23rd May 1820

Chapter 1

We owe respect to the living, Voltaire tells us in his Première Lettre sur Oedipe, but to the dead we owe only truth. The truth is that there are day

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Buy the Book

An Unpardonable Crime:
A Novel