i cannot even remember how long i’ve owned matthew pearl’s the dante club, but i do know it sat on my bookshelf in my parents’ house for years and years. it was one of those that always sounded interesting, but just not interesting enough when compared to the other books waiting next to it.
my brother brought it when he came in august, and when i was packing for sri lanka i realized it was the perfect time to read it, because i knew i would be able to finish it during my trip. as much as i am looking forward to reading dubliners or the scarlet letter, i just didn’t think those shouted “vacation reads” to me. who knows, i could be wrong, but i’m glad i took this one with me in the end.
set in 1865 just after the end of the civil war, the dante club sees the city of boston being haunted by a series of killings. while the victims are seemingly unconnected, a group of literary giants realize that the murders are following the punishments from dante’s inferno. while the police are searching for leads, henry wadsworth longfellow, oliver wendell holmes, and james russell lowell begin their own search inside dante’s works to find clues that might lead to the killer.
the first 20 or so pages took some time for me to get into while pearl was setting up the story and introducing the characters, but after that this was a very fast read. it was engaging enough to keep me interested, and discovering the killer was actually a bit of a surprise for me, which i always like. and it was a fast read, which was exactly what i needed after the bone people.
between the mystery and the literary stars and the historical snippets about post-civil war boston, the dante club was a light, fast, interesting book. pearl has also written another similar book called the poe shadow, so i will add that to my list for when i am allowed to buy books again.
my goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 // average rating is 3.37. i would have given it 3.5 if it were an option.
crossing off the popsugar reading list: a mystery or thriller.
currently reading: the old devils by kingsley amis.