The Dante Club

I thought I would share a short summary of books that I read this summer. I'm working my way back into reading 'adult' books having spent way too long just reading books for kids. The last book I read (reread, actually) before this was Harry Potter 5 in preparation for the movie.

The Dante Club, by Matthew Pearl

At the time I bought this I was looking for something different. Having read and enjoyed a few Caleb Carr books I thought another murder-mystery set in late 1800's Boston (Carr's were set in NYC) would be a good read. I typically do NOT enjoy historical novels but mixed with local interest and a creepy murder-mystery I can dig right in. That being said, I had a hard time getting past the first 50 pages, partly because of the long list of seemingly dry characters to absorb. They develop nicely once the story set-up is out of the way.

While the novel revolves around Dante's Inferno and a host of Boston's famous writers and poets, the fact that I knew nothing of them did not get in the way of enjoying this book. In fact, I will likely read Dante soon. The mystery is long and winding and I can honestly say that I did not guess the murderer's identity. It's definitely gruesome but not without good reason. The ending was well crafted and motives were fully explained with a great back-story. There's nothing worse than a murder-mystery where it seems the author could pick any number of people to 'play' the murderer in the final hour. This is not the case here, with the murderer fitting into the story all along the way.

I will definitely be looking forward to Matthew Pearl's next novel, The Poe Shadow, due out this summer.

A lighter read is up next, The House on Mango Street, as recommended by my friend Jen.