Baltimore, 1849. The body of Edgar Allan Poe has been buried in an unmarked grave. The conclusion that Poe was a second-rate writer who died a drunkard is accepted by all. But none of this deters Quentin Clark, an ardent admirer who risks his own career and reputation in a passionate crusade to salvage Poe's.
Clark discovers that Poe's last days are riddled with vital unanswered questions. But just when Poe's death looks destined to remain a mystery, Quentin seeks out the one person who can solve this strange case: the real-life model for Poe's brilliant fictional detective character, C. Auguste Dupin.
Having successfully recruited the man he believes to have inspired Poe's Dupin, Clarke is confronted by another claiming to be the true model. The two master detectives each seek to prove he is the real 'Dupin' by solving the mystery of Poe's death. Clark finds himself enmeshed in sinister machinations involving international political agents, a female assassin, the corrupt Baltimore slave trade and the lost secrets of Poe's final hours. With his own future hanging in the balance, he must turn master investigator himself to unchain his now imperilled fate from that of Poe.