Edgar Allan Poe would have turned 200 years old in January had he been blessed with exceeding longevity. The event has proved a boon for anything Poe. Publishing houses have lit the candles in hopes of a Poe revival. Well, they didn’t need to strike a match for me to come to the table. I remember as a teenager being sprawled across a giant armchair reading and turning pages while my heart rate increased as if to somehow sync with the heart beating in The TellTale Heart. I tried to make Poe the subject for my thesis in an American Literature but too many other students had claimed in so I had to settle for Emerson. Today my appreciation for Poe translates to having a major fictional character in my novel be a fan of Poe’s work and rereading Poe has become one of my more enjoyable tasks associated with this project.
In honor of Poe’s bicentennial Mystery Writers of America has put together a collection of tales combined with essays of top mystery writers and edited by Michael Connelly titled In the Shadow of the Master: Classic Tales by Edgar Allen Poe. Clearly I stand in the shadow of much brighter lights who tip their hats to the master. Those who owe a debt to Poe include Stephen King, Jeffery Deaver, Tess Gerritsen, Sue Grafton, and many others. Writers and readers have long been fascinated with the “darker side of humanity,” and Poe’s ability to mine the dark deep that lives in the heart of man continues its call across the centuries. If you, like me, enjoy reading Poe and reading stories where Poe is incorporated into the work, take a moment and let us know.