Extended Audio Sample

Download An Unpardonable Crime Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample An Unpardonable Crime Audiobook, by Andrew Taylor Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (931 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Andrew Taylor Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455180875
Regular Price: $27.95 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $13.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

Edgar Allan Poe is an American boy in England, a child standing on the edge of mysteries. In 1819, two Americans arrive in London. Soon afterward a bank collapses, a man is found horribly mutilated on a building site, another goes missing in the teeming stews of the city’s notorious Seven Dials district, a deathbed vigil ends in theft, and an heiress flirts with her inferiors. All the while, Poe’s young schoolmaster struggles to understand what is happening before he and his loved ones are destroyed. But the truth, like the youthful Poe himself, has its origins in the New World as well as the Old—in a bitter episode of corruption during the War of 1812.

With settings ranging from the coal-scented urban jungle of late Regency London to the stark winter landscapes of a rural Gloucestershire, An Unpardonable Crime is a multi-layered literary murder mystery, a historical novel, and a love story. In addition to shedding fascinating light on Edgar Allan Poe, the book is a fast-paced suspenseful tale, filled with shocking revelations.

Download and start listening now!

BK_BLAK_000682

Quotes & Awards

  • “Taylor grabs hold of the nineteenth-century novel and runs…Taylor’s sweeping mystery tale is populated by innocents, eccentrics and evildoers whose lives twist, turn and overlap in a brilliantly intricate pattern.”

    Washington Post

  • “A fluid, atmospheric period thriller…Taylor does an excellent job in portraying early nineteenth-century London and writes in a clear, consistent period style…A pleasurable read that will engross many.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The most notable aspect of this novel is Taylor’s masterful use of some of Poe’s most renowned themes, including victimization, extreme states of existence, mysterious presences and mourning for the dead. A delectably dark blend of mystery, gothic horror, romance and literary history, An Unpardonable Crime will leave readers captivated until the very end. A fittingly macabre tribute to the master of the macabre.”

    BookPage

  • “[This] atmospheric mystery is lots of fun. Simon Vance does a lovely job of making the complex sentences and bygone words of the period writing style easy to listen to... Entirely involving.”

    AudioFile

  • “Taylor knits his considerable skills as a crime writer and as a master of historical detail into a smooth, agreeably complex solution of two mysteries in the life of the real-life Poe.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Sounding more like a crew of readers than an individual narrator, British actor Vance excellently portrays the characters’ stark class differences through changes of dialect and tone…Listeners who enjoy steeping themselves in the atmosphere of Regency England will welcome this strong performance.”

    Booklist (audio review)

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lindsay | 2/19/2014

    " A well written and interesting book. The mystery is well created, unfurling slowly and revealing depths to the characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 2/9/2014

    " The story seems extremely long and meandering but it neatly tied up at the end. Even the significance of the title doesn't become clear until the end. A good read for the Halloween weekend and a mystery that remains surrounding Edgar Allan Poe and his family even today. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 2/9/2014

    " This was slow-moving at times but overall a pretty gripping read. But despite the title and the jacket synopsis, the story doesn't have all that much to do with Edgar Allan Poe. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angela | 2/7/2014

    " I just love historical settings and mysteries. This book was a delight for me. Compulsive reading... sneaking time to read when I should be doing other things. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 2/2/2014

    " The American Boy is a pre-Victorian murder mystery set in 1819-20 but, amazingly, was written in the twenty-first century. It was inspired by the author's interest in the brief period that Edgar Allan Poe spent in England while still a young boy. Building on this real event and some of the real characters, such as Edgar's foster father John Allan and his natural father David Poe, Andrew Taylor spins a mystery out of this moment in the famous author's life. The result is a very satisfying mystery with a central character, Thomas Shields, who is a school teacher but becomes quite by accident an amateur sleuth as the mystery of several intertwined families, two murders, a banking scandal, and the identity of the victim of one of the crimes draws Shields gradually deeper into its depths. As a school teacher in a small school he has two students, Edgar Allan and Charles Frant, who become mutual friends and in whom he takes an interest as they are bullied by some bigger boys. Shields is somewhat impoverished and thus dependent on his "betters" with certain consequences for the story. He inhabits a sort of never-land somewhere in between the Parents of his students and their servants. Since he is living in their households for much of the story as tutor to Edgar and his friend Charles Frant this existence becomes somewhat oppressive for Shields. It is further complicated by his attraction to the mother of Charles. Murder, unacceptable love, questions of identity and missing money -- just the stuff of great mysteries. The best part of this novel is the pre-Victorian setting as Andrew Taylor effectively recreates the world of England in the last days of the reign of King George III. Told in the first person by Thomas Shield through his journal the story covers only nine months time but there is what becomes a tidal wave of events and plot twists before Shields' narrative is complete. I was unfamiliar with Andrew Taylor when I discovered this book, intrigued by the connection with Poe. What I found was a master of mystery whose ability to create a believable labyrinthine plot keeps the reader guessing almost until the last page. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pauline | 1/17/2014

    " Started of very slow but then picked up. I really enjoyed it in the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Selene | 1/17/2014

    " This was very well written, but failed to give any of the promised macabre of Poe. I feel this was a missed opportunity really! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sharon | 1/17/2014

    " enjoyed the PS. section of the book too about the ideas,interviews and features. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris C | 1/16/2014

    " Enjoyed it, very good read well written "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ted | 12/8/2013

    " An historical novel cum murder mystery set in a gritty portrait of early 19th-century London, this story involves and, one imagines, influences a youthful Edgar Allen Poe, the Blackstone Audio version brilliantly read by the always excellent Simon Vance. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynne | 11/19/2013

    " A really interesting story. The back page blurb gives you the impression it's a story about Edgar Allan Poe's childhood, and he is the Boy in the title, but it's actually more about his friend at school and there's a neat wee murder mystery going on. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric Whitsell | 10/25/2013

    " This is a first for me. It's a period piece. The main character is so alive throughout the book, you almost believe that you are him. What a great mystery, too. A good page turner that wont disappoint. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bettyjoy Engelbrecht | 9/28/2013

    " A mystery story set in Regency London. Very slow moving with a very unsatisfactory ending. The ending was more drawn out even than the rest of the story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zeena Price | 9/22/2013

    " This was an absolutely magnificent book. It was, to use a real cliche, a genuine reading experience and I was left quite bereft when I had finished it. The writing was beautiful, the story intricate and gripping, and the characters so real they jumped off the pages. Ten out of ten! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kylie | 6/22/2013

    " Interesting and well paced. I had some trouble getting a fix on the narrator, what sort of man he is, and I didn't really find him that appealing. But the plot was interesting enough and kept me engaged. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 2/19/2013

    " As well as being a brilliant read I love this author for incorporating Gloucester into his historical novel, a wonderful city, much maligned. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shelley | 12/17/2012

    " This was a great story, with plenty of interesting characters that could be imagined in lots of detail. I loved the descriptions of places, seasons and emotions that the writer captured. I gave it to my Mum after reading it, not sure if she'll like it as much as I did though. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jessica | 9/6/2012

    " The story was sooooooooo bad! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lord Beardsley | 5/2/2012

    " Don't let the description fool you, this book is completely boring and as interesting as a sock. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauren B | 4/11/2012

    " I liked it, but it was a lot like the blackest bird. A good period mystery. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shannon Howard | 3/12/2012

    " A very interesting book. A bit difficult to get through at first but eventually gets you wondering from page to page what is happening. An interesting way to present an exciting side story on how a legend came to be. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura Purcell | 3/8/2012

    " This book has inspired me to go and seek more of Taylor's work. A great mystery, excellent, readable writing and the mystery of Edgar Allan Poe... Read it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ian Cowlishaw | 12/5/2011

    " Excellent historical novel - enthralling. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maksim Izotov | 11/19/2011

    " Actually only read half of the book or so, thought that this book was about Edgar Allan Poe, turns out it's more about his teacher. It is kinda interesting, I just wasn't in the mood for a detective story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Edel | 10/29/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book. Right mix of everything - a real page turner. I missed it when I finished it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 9/11/2011

    " Finished this last night. Good mystery with some unexpected twists and turns. Found it to be a little wordy and at times had to go back and reread something to make sure I understood it. If you like historical fiction though it was good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeffrey | 6/22/2011

    " Wow! Not sure how I missed this back when it came out in 2003. It has a keen psychological aspect to it and subtle, elegant prose style. The closest thing to a "new" Charles Dickens book. The historical aspects provide great detail of the 1820's and this author is a fabulous storyteller. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Weebly | 3/19/2011

    " This was a great book which gripped me from the very start. It was just easy to read and a very interesting book. I would definately recommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 1/12/2011

    " Good read. Andrew Taylor provides you with glimpses of what life was like in early 19th-century England with fine historical accuracy. I also liked how young Edgar Allan Poe becomes central to the story. A beautifully written and thrilling suspense novel. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Manda | 12/9/2010

    " Sorry just didn't grab me gave up after 80 pages I did try. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 11/11/2010

    " This was slow-moving at times but overall a pretty gripping read. But despite the title and the jacket synopsis, the story doesn't have all that much to do with Edgar Allan Poe. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenny | 10/31/2010

    " Another great period family mystery...bit like Wilkie Collins' Woman in White. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 10/22/2010

    " The story seems extremely long and meandering but it neatly tied up at the end. Even the significance of the title doesn't become clear until the end. A good read for the Halloween weekend and a mystery that remains surrounding Edgar Allan Poe and his family even today. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Manda | 8/2/2010

    " This is one of Taylor's best books - and all of his books are exceptional - the language is pitch perfect, the plot is precise, intelligent and clear and the suspense is just enough to keep you reading to the small hours... well worth a read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 7/8/2010

    " Enjoyed it, very good read well written
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eva | 4/12/2010

    " Fastastic Victorian novel with many twists to keep you guessing. Enjoyed tremendously. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Keith | 4/6/2010

    " A most enjoyable read which does not lean on the inclusion or original inspiration of one of the famous minor characters. This work of fiction could stand on its own. I especially appreciated the section which covers in detail what is clearly fiction and what may not be. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Poppy61 | 3/17/2010

    " This was an absolutely magnificent book. It was, to use a real cliche, a genuine reading experience and I was left quite bereft when I had finished it. The writing was beautiful, the story intricate and gripping, and the characters so real they jumped off the pages. Ten out of ten! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maggie | 12/29/2009

    " While I enjoyed this book, at times I felt that it was a bit too long and convoluted. Desperately in need of some additional editing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 JBEG | 8/10/2009

    " A splendid literary potboiler. It starts off slow and ends somewhat too frenetically, but it is well worth it. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor is a British author best known for his crime novels, which include the Dougal series, the Lydmouth series, the Roth trilogy, and the historical novel The American Boy. He has won the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award twice.

About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with over forty Earphones Awards. He has won thirteen prestigious Audie Awards and was Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.