When a string of Boston murders mimic the punishments described in Dante’s Inferno, it is up to literary legends Longfellow, Holmes and Lowell to find the culprit and save lives, including their own.

The Dante Club is, without a doubt, the most clever novel I have read in a year. The author has achieved a seamless weave of history, literature, mystery and suspense by utilizing two important talents. First of all, Pearl has researched his setting and his characters well. Secondly, he has collated his findings and painted a picture with words that show a good deal of literary knowledge as well as his own craftsmanship. The result is an intelligent and enriching novel that not only explores the lives of real characters both accurately and realistically but also grips the reader through humor and suspense.

The only warning I would have for readers is that while very limited violence takes place ‘on the page’ the fates of victims are described with detail. Also, the realism and historical accuracy of the novel call for an ending that is slightly less than satisfactory as the heroes are not able to save everyone. Therefore, I would not recommend this book for those whose age or maturity fall below the target audience (18+). However, lovers of literature, history and mystery will find this novel enthralling.

Maryana Garcia is the eldest of four sisters. A student at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, she plans to major in History and is currently an employee at the Mount Albert Community Library.