How did Poe die?
I write historical fiction, and I try to be true to the facts. But when I researched Edgar Allan Poe, it struck me that the facts were incomplete — specifically, the facts about his death.
We know almost nothing about Poe’s final days, and what we do know is squalid and sad. In October 1849 Poe found his way to Baltimore, where his writing career had begun and he had spent some of his happiest years. There he was discovered in a tavern, suffering from an unidentified illness, and was taken to a hospital, where he died a few days later. It was reported that before he died, Poe repeatedly called out the name “Reynolds.” That’s all we know.
Poe deserved a fitting death, not an ignominious one, so I set out to write it. The result is my new novel Room of Shadows. In the story, my goal wasn’t to portray history but to fix it. I took those few facts and reimagined his death—not as it was but as it should have been.
…Poe wrote a final magnificent story that he planned to live out when he died.
…the plan went terribly wrong and left him trapped in agony between life and death.
…a house sprouted like an evil mushroom — haunted, horrible, worthy of Poe.
…a boy moved there years later and, through his anger, unleashed Poe’s spirit.
The story takes place in modern-day Baltimore, where a house crouches like a spider, terror takes root in the closet, and Edgar Allan Poe, at long last, gets the death he deserved.