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A Fatal Likeness

A Novel

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eBook published by Delacorte Press (Random House Publishing Group)

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About This Book
With The Solitary House, award-winning author Lynn Shepherd introduced readers to Charles Maddox, a brilliant private detective plying his trade on the gaslit streets of Dickensian London. Now, in this mesmerizing new novel of historical suspense, a mystery strikes disturbingly close to home—and draws Maddox into a world of literary legends, tormented souls, and a legacy of terrible secrets.
 
When his great-uncle, the master detective who schooled him in the science of “thief taking,” is mysteriously stricken, Charles Maddox fears that the old man’s breakdown may be directly related to the latest case he’s been asked to undertake. Summoned to the home of a stuffy nobleman and his imperious wife, Charles finds his investigative services have been engaged by no less than the son of celebrated poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his famed widow, Mary, author of the gothic classic Frankenstein. Approached by a stranger offering to sell a cache of rare papers allegedly belonging to the legendary late poet, the Shelley family seeks Maddox’s aid in discovering whether the precious documents are authentic or merely the work of an opportunistic charlatan.
 
But the true identity of his quarry is only the first of many surprises lying in wait for the detective. Hardly a conniving criminal, Claire Clairmont is in fact the stepsister of Mary Shelley, and their tortured history of jealousy, obsession, and dark deceit looms large over the affair Maddox must untangle. So, too, does the shadow of the brilliant, eccentric Percy Shelley, who found no rest from the private demons that pursued him. With each new detail unearthed, the investigation grows ever more disturbing. And when shocking evidence of foul play comes to light, Maddox’s chilling hunt for the truth leads him into the blackest reaches of the soul.
 
Steeped in finely wrought Victorian atmosphere, and rife with eye-opening historical revelations, A Fatal Likeness carries the reader ever deeper into a darkly magnetic tale of love and madness as utterly harrowing and heartbreaking as it is undeniably human.

Praise for A Fatal Likeness
 
“[Shepherd] takes the familiar story of the Shelley family and fills in the holes in the historical record by turning it into a clever, imaginative and literate mystery.”Kirkus Reviews
 
“Unforgettably chilling, A Fatal Likeness will haunt you long after you finish the last page.”New York Times bestselling author Tasha Alexander
 
“Maddox’s brooding character and Shepherd’s own voice . . . are both enthralling.”Booklist
 
“Charged with passion, betrayals and conspiracies, [A Fatal Likeness] more than restores Shelley’s darker side, yet it is Mary you won’t be able to forget.”Bloomberg

“Shepherd shines again in this superb Victorian thriller. . . . The novel works equally as a family story, a blend of horror and mystery, and a plausible hypothesis about why so many women and children associated with Shelley died mysterious deaths.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“As a piece of literary detective work, it’s stimulating and hugely fun—even brilliant.”—The Spectator
 
“A potent mixture of passion, intrigue, perversion, and betrayal, exploring the lives of Shelley, Byron, and their Romantic intimates through a Gothic lens.”—Lyndsay Faye, author of The Gods of Gotham
Show less
With The Solitary House, award-winning author Lynn Shepherd introduced readers to Charles Maddox, a brilliant private detective plying his trade on the gaslit streets of Dickensian London. Now, in this mesmerizing new novel of historical suspense, a mystery strikes disturbingly close to home—and draws Maddox into a world of literary legends, tormented souls, and a legacy of terrible secrets.
 
When his great-uncle, the master detective who schooled him in the science of “thief taking,” is mysteriously stricken, Charles Maddox fears that the old man’s breakdown may be directly related to the latest case he’s been asked to undertake. Summoned to the home of a stuffy nobleman and his imperious wife, Charles finds his investigative services have been engaged by no less than the son of celebrated poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his famed widow, Mary, author of the gothic classic Frankenstein. Approached by a stranger offering to sell a cache of rare papers allegedly belonging to the legendary late poet, the Shelley family seeks Maddox’s aid in discovering whether the precious documents are authentic or merely the work of an opportunistic charlatan.
 
But the true identity of his quarry is only the first of many surprises lying in wait for the detective. Hardly a conniving criminal, Claire Clairmont is in fact the stepsister of Mary Shelley, and their tortured history of jealousy, obsession, and dark deceit looms large over the affair Maddox must untangle. So, too, does the shadow of the brilliant, eccentric Percy Shelley, who found no rest from the private demons that pursued him. With each new detail unearthed, the investigation grows ever more disturbing. And when shocking evidence of foul play comes to light, Maddox’s chilling hunt for the truth leads him into the blackest reaches of the soul.
 
Steeped in finely wrought Victorian atmosphere, and rife with eye-opening historical revelations, A Fatal Likeness carries the reader ever deeper into a darkly magnetic tale of love and madness as utterly harrowing and heartbreaking as it is undeniably human.

Praise for A Fatal Likeness
 
“[Shepherd] takes the familiar story of the Shelley family and fills in the holes in the historical record by turning it into a clever, imaginative and literate mystery.”Kirkus Reviews
 
“Unforgettably chilling, A Fatal Likeness will haunt you long after you finish the last page.”New York Times bestselling author Tasha Alexander
 
“Maddox’s brooding character and Shepherd’s own voice . . . are both enthralling.”Booklist
 
“Charged with passion, betrayals and conspiracies, [A Fatal Likeness] more than restores Shelley’s darker side, yet it is Mary you won’t be able to forget.”Bloomberg

“Shepherd shines again in this superb Victorian thriller. . . . The novel works equally as a family story, a blend of horror and mystery, and a plausible hypothesis about why so many women and children associated with Shelley died mysterious deaths.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“As a piece of literary detective work, it’s stimulating and hugely fun—even brilliant.”—The Spectator
 
“A potent mixture of passion, intrigue, perversion, and betrayal, exploring the lives of Shelley, Byron, and their Romantic intimates through a Gothic lens.”—Lyndsay Faye, author of The Gods of Gotham
Product Details
eBook (384 pages)
Published: August 20, 2013
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Delacorte Press
ISBN: 9780345538673
Other books byLynn Shepherd
  • Murder at Mansfield Park

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    "Nobody, I believe, has ever found it possible to like the heroine of Mansfield Park." --Lionel Trilling In this ingenious new twist on Mansfield Park, the famously meek Fanny Price--whom Jane Austen's own mother called "insipid"--has been utterly transformed; she is now a rich heiress who is spoiled, condescending, and generally hated throughout the county. Mary Crawford, on the other hand, is now as good as Fanny is bad, and suffers great indignities at the hands of her vindictive neighbor. It's only after Fanny is murdered on the grounds of Mansfield Park that Mary comes into her own, teaming-up with a thief-taker from London to solve the crime. Featuring genuine Austen characters--the same characters, and the same episodes, but each with a new twist--MURDER AT MANSFIELD PARK is a brilliantly entertaining novel that offers Jane Austen fans an engaging new heroine and story to read again and again.

    The Solitary House

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    Clarissa's Painter

    Clarissa's Painter
    Portraiture, Illustration, and Representation...
    Samuel Richardson's novels have always been a particularly fertile seam for literary study, and in recent years they have been the subject of a whole range of different approaches, from the political and feminist, to those concerned with formal questions such as genre and epistolary technique. Richardson has also attracted considerable interest from an interdisciplinary perspective, with studies focusing on the pictorial and spatial elements of his works, and the illustrations he commissioned forPamela. This extensively-illustrated monograph takes this approach one step further, and looks at issues of visual and verbal representation in Richardson from the perspective of eighteenth-century portraiture. Richardson first became conversant with the conventions of contemporary portraiture in the wake of the phenomenal success ofPamela. It was then that he commissioned his first portrait, and became involved in the process of producing illustrations for the lavish sixth edition of the novel. This study makes the case that these two events combined to give Richardson a new vocabulary for the depiction of individual character, and the articulation of power, affection, and control within the family, and between men and women. We can see the first signs of this inPamela II, which is so often dismissed and so little read, but it reaches its full maturity in the rich three-dimensionality ofClarissa. Moreover it is Richardson's use of the conventions of contemporary portraiture inSir Charles Grandisonthat explains many of the tensions and inconsistencies within that text, and makes the reader's response to Richardson's 'good man' so ambivalent.

    Murder at Mansfield Park

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    Ever wondered what it would have been like if Jane Austen had turned her hand to murder? Murder at Mansfield Park takes Austen's masterpiece and turns it into a riveting murder story worthy of PD James or Agatha Christie. Just as in many classic English detective mysteries, this new novel opens with a group of characters in a country house setting, with passions running high, and simmering tensions beneath the elegant Regency surface. The arrival of the handsome and debonair Henry Crawford and his sister forces these tensions into the open, and sparks a chain of events that leads inexorably to violence and death. Beautifully written, with an absolute faithfulness to the language in use at the time, Murder at Mansfield Park is both a good old-fashioned murder mystery that keeps the reader guessing until the very last page, and a sparklingly clever inversion of the original, which goes to the heart of many of the questions raised by Jane Austen's text. Austen's Mansfield Park is radically different from any of her other works, and much of the pleasure of Lynn Shepherd's novel lies in the way it takes the characters and episodes in the original, and turns them into a lighter, sharper, and more playful book, with a new heroine at its centre - a heroine who owes far more to the lively and spirited Elizabeth Bennet, than the dreary and insipid Fanny Price.

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