March 24, 2006 Author Louis Bayard to Discuss "The Pale Blue Eye" on June 1
Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Abby Yochelson (202) 707-2138
Author Louis Bayard will discuss his new mystery novel “The Pale Blue Eye” at the Library of Congress at noon on Thursday, June 1, in the Mary Pickford Theater on the third floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave.
“The Pale Blue Eye” is set in 1831, in the early days of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and features a retired New York City detective, Gus Landor, and a young cadet named Edgar Allan Poe. When someone starts killing West Point cadets and carving out their hearts, Landor is asked by West Point authorities to lead the investigation. He agrees, under the condition that he can enlist one of their cadets, 20-year-old Poe, to be his spy. Poe intrigues and mystifies plain-speaking Landor with his insistence that his poetry provides leads to the murders. Together, they sift through clues and risk their lives to find the killer, before the killer finds them.
In choosing Poe as a central character, Bayard said, “Poe is still such a real and present force in our culture. Every mystery writer, every thriller writer, every horror writer, every science fiction writer is in some way indebted to Poe. He carved out a niche of darkness that nobody else has ever surpassed.”
Bayard’s previous novel, “Mr. Timothy,” received critical acclaim as both a New York Times Notable Book and one of People magazine’s Top Ten Books of 2003. It featured Charles Dickens’s grown-up Tiny Tim in 19th-century London. The Wall Street Journal said, “With its linguistic razzle-dazzle, “Mr. Timothy” is a tour de force that touches the heart and makes it race.”
Bayard is a writer and book reviewer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Nerve.com and Salon.com. Born in Albuquerque, N.M., Bayard grew up near Washington, D.C. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from Princeton University and a master’s in journalism from Northwestern University. He has worked as a congressional press secretary, a communications director and a speechwriter. He was a featured author at the 2004 National Book Festival, and conducts much of the research for his historical fiction at the Library of Congress.
The Humanities and Social Sciences Division provides reference service and collection development in the Main, Local History and Genealogy, and Microform reading rooms at the Library of Congress. It regularly sponsors programs in the arts, humanities and social sciences.