Even in the 1840's New Yorkers possessed a fine appreciation of the macabre, and when the body of a beautiful young woman is found in the Hudson River, all of Manhattan is fascinated by the case. At least for a day or so. The victim's youth and beauty, while the very things that make her death so poignant, are at the same time undoubtedly the virtues that enticed her murderers. The stirring account of the tragedy in The Mirror has conspired with the public's morbid curiosity to sell a great many papers, and yet the author of the article, a Mr. Edgar Allan Poe, is unsatisfied. Poe's discovery of the body of Mary Rogers leads to more than a newspaper article. While investigating the manner of her undoing for a follow - up piece, Poe becomes convinced that her death was not the result of a botched abortion as was first thought.
Accompanied by his young assistant, Augie Dubbins, who in turn acts as the narrator of the novel. Poe strives to uncover the true method and purpose of her murder. Drawn inexorably onward by both his keenly rational mind and his dark obsession with the abyss, Poe finds himself blocked at every turn by mysterious forces and pursued by a tall, ominous assassin.