'The Dante Club' - novel, or plot to get people to read Dante's Inferno? Well, both! And quite effective as both, apparently!
I was a bit loath to read this book, because it sounded a little too similar to Arturo Perez-Reverte's 'The Club Dumas'. I can't say that the one does not owe a debt to the other, but I did very much enjoy this book, which is a well-researched, well-written historical mystery of the sort that leaves the reader wanting to do more research to find out more about the characters, the time period and the books mentioned - always a good thing! The plot concerns a group of poets - including the historical figures of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., and James Russell Lowell, who are devoted to, against university bureaucracy, translating Dante and bringing his works to an American audience for the first time. But, when some vicious and bizarre murders of highly-placed society figures occur in Boston, they are the only ones who notice that the men have been killed in ways which correspond to the tortures of hell described in the Inferno. Can they bring this information to the police without throwing suspicion upon themselves and their work? Or can they solve the crimes themselves?