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The Tell-Tale Start

(The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe #1)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  916 ratings  ·  198 reviews
Meet Edgar and Allan Poe -- twelve-year-old identical twins, the great-great-great-great-grandnephews of Edgar Allan Poe. They look and act so much alike that they're almost one mischievous, prank-playing boy in two bodies. When their beloved black cat, Roderick Usher, is kidnapped and transported to the Midwest, Edgar and Allan convince their guardians that it's time for ...more
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Published January 22nd 2013 by Listening Library (Audio) (first published January 1st 2013)
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3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  916 ratings  ·  198 reviews

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Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
what a delightful, light, fun and quick read! two boys with one mind. both geniuses and great-great-great-great grandnephews of the Edgar Allan Poe. it was fun to read, the way these boys mind worked and what they thought about the world around them. also you get read about Edgar Allan Poe in the great beyond & his attempts to look after them, made it brilliant.
Lucy Banks
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this with my boys a while back, then forgot to review - doh!

This was a very well-plotted, novel idea for a kids book. In particular, my two loved the 'what the Poe twins didn't know' sections at the end of each chapter, plus the chapters with Edgar Allen Poe's ghost (Mr Shakespeare was particularly amusing!).

One minor quibble - the language and sentence structure was very sophisticated throughout, and in places, this made it a little dry. However, that aside, it was an absolutely genius
Melissa Chung
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A comical middle grade mystery. Edgar Allan Poe is my favorite Gothic author and so naturally I had to pick up and own this trilogy by Gordon McAlpine. Giving this book 3.5 stars.

I read this book to my two boys 10 and 12, over the course of a week and they quite enjoyed it. My oldest liked the snarky dialogue and the way the twins made jokes and acted silly in front of their Aunt, Uncle and all adults. My youngest liked the drawings and the cat's name Roderick Usher.

The Tell-Tale Start is about
Overall, I wasn't impressed with The Tell-Tale Start. Then again it's not in my age range, I only read it out of curiosity and I needed a short book to entertain me.

Now, there were several things about this book that I did not like.
A. Nearly everyone who is not in the Poe family, doesn't really know who Edgar Allan Poe is. Uh, hello? Have you been living under a rock?
B. While reading this, I felt like it was trying to make all other books inferior to Poe's short stories and poems. I understan
Jules Hucke
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, children-s-lit
fun book for gradeschoolers. Introduces a few scientific and literary concepts. My favorite parts were the sections in which a deceased Edgar Allen Poe is toiling away in the afterlife writing fortune cookie slips with William Shakespeare as his boss.
Ashley Nelson
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-younger, library
I love it when an impulse check out from the library turns out to be a real winner. Extremely imaginative, clever and witty, The Tell-Tale Start was a delight. Identical twins Edgar & Allan Poe are the great, great, great, great, grand-nephews (and namesakes) of the famous poet. The boys, highly intelligent and quite mischievous, live with their aunt and uncle after their parents died in an unfortunate space accident. They also share a telepathic connection - almost like two boys with one mi ...more
Nov 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love me a good middle grade and The Tell-Tale Start by Gordon McAlpine is as good as they come. It was quirky, fun, and one heck of a tale. I had so much fun reading The Tell-Tale Start!

The adventures of Edgar and Allan were too awesome. I loved the wit they brought with every page. They made every day occurrences into an adventure, which made The Tell-Tale Start that much more enjoyable.

The characters were pretty awesome as well. I loved how big of a role Edgar and Allan's cat played in the
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this book by Gordon McAlpine, twins Edgar and Allan Poe (the great-great-great-great grandnephews of Edgar Allan Poe) find that their cat, Roderick Usher, has mysteriously disappeared without a trace of evidence. The distressed twins are relieved when they learn that their cat is in Kansas with a theme park owner. But while the boys drive out to Kansas to get Roderick Usher, someone is out to get the boys. Will the boys find him, or will they end up as another mysterious disappearance?

This w
Carl Nelson
Nov 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A lovely and subversive little gem of a book. Full of wry humor for kids and adults (especially those with a literary bent), and the plot places high value on intelligence and wit. The characters of Edgar and Allan Poe are lovingly done, and making them two boys who share thoughts all the time was a great choice for this series. The book is chock full of literary references, making it a rewarding read for book lovers. Can't wait to read more about the Poe twins, and this book makes me want to re ...more
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Super cute book, and the narrator did a wonderful job.
Tom Malinowski
Twins Edgar and Allan Poe are descendants of Edgar Allan Poe. They think alike, because they're twins with a shared mind. A mysterious organization is after the twins for a nefarious purpose. From the Great Beyond...Edgar Allan Poe tries to send clues to his ancestors but they're garbled up. Can the twins figure out the meaning before danger captures them?

Delightful read!
Oct 20, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Tell-Tale Start was such a boring and awful book that I wish I could give it no stars. As a 22 year old-kid at heart, whose a fan of Edgar Allan Poe's work, I thought giving this book series a chance would be worth it. Buzz! Wrong.

There were some long words used from the author that are incomprehensible to a child's mind, so there was not really any use for them in the book. My thoughts of Edgar and Allan being incredibly smart throughout the book made me quite bored of their characters; not
Edgar and Allan Poe are identical twins and great (great-great-great...) grandnephews of Edgar Allan Poe. They are in fact so identical that people have a hard time telling them apart. Even the twins have some trouble determining if they are different people or one in the same. Their cat Roderick goes missing and the twins learn that he's in Kansas at the Dorthy Gale farm. They devise a plan to go rescue their cat, but something about the situation seems a bit suspicious. The boys don't see anyt ...more
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
I picked this book up on a whim while browsing in the library for a different book. It drew my eye because of the Poe connection, and then it looked like it could be fun. I debated about whether I would add it to my gr list, though, being a bit embarrassed by it - though I couldn't really say why, considering some of the things I've read. ;)

Anyway -

It ended up being an entertaining little book. The idea that Edgar and Allan are so alike as to almost be one mind in two bodies was interesting - an
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The descendants of the renowned horror writer, seventh-grade twins Edgar and Allan are not only consummate pranksters, but geniuses with a telepathic connection. Unfortunately, such extraordinary children are bound to come to the attention of evil geniuses, and one such (who has been monitoring them for years, and wants to see if communication with the afterlife is possible once one of the twins is killed) gets them expelled from school and kidnaps their cat. Following a series of clues (mostly ...more
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really cute series for kids and parents who are fans of Poe will get a kick out of all the references to Poe's works. Smart, wise cracking and fun!
Avery (ThePagemaster)
DNF at pg. 64(36%)

I got this book because one thing popped out that intrigued me immensely: Edgar. Allan. Poe. For those of you that don't know, Edgar Allan Poe is, probably, my favorite writer/poet of all time; a guy before his time with a life as tragic and dark as his stories.

As an avid reader, I tend to keep an open mind when a writer puts a twist on a classic work or author. With the names "Edgar" and "Allan" used in the case of twin brothers, Edgar AND Allan Poe, I couldn't help myself, r
Mar 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure, crime, juvenile
My son read this tale to us in the evening. He and my wife enjoyed the adventures of Edgar and Allan Poe as much as I did. Having the illustrations helped in regard to some plot points.
May 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2014
Just a cute little story, funny and light, though with a very bittersweet thread running through of loss and family. My favorite character was probably Mr Shakespeare. ;)
Rachel Miller
Dec 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Tell Tale Start is the opener of the Misadventures of twelve year old twins Edgar and Allan Poe, not just namesakes, but also the great, great, great, great grand nephews of the late and great and spooky Edgar Allan Poe, and also bear a striking resemblance to him as well. Believed to possess above normal intelligence which often leads to them being severely misunderstood, Edgar and Allan are often mixed up in quite a bit of mischief. To their belief, it's all to the good of looking out for ...more
Bookish Devil
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 rounded off to 4.

This story is about the Poe twins- Edgar and Allan poe who are none other than the great-great-great-great grandchildren of one of the greatest literary writers of the era, Edgar Allan Poe. Though they have quite similar facial features with their legendary ancestor, they starkly differ from the former in many ways when it comes to their character and attitude. The Poe twins are gifted with an exceptional sense of perception and they have an unquenchable thirst/appetite for
David Hickenbotham
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
I don't normally give such low reviews, but I was bored with this book nearly from the beginning. I'm not sure how this made it to the point where it was actually published. I'm surprised someone along the line didn't say, "Hey, the idea is interesting. Let's ask if the author can't write a more interesting story." If it hadn't been so short, I wouldn't have bothered finishing it. The idea of two children with the same mind was intriguing, and the uses of it could have been even more interesting ...more
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a very attention-catching book that managed to stumble on atrocious pacing.

I love Edgar Allen Poe. I don't mind puns or alternative histories, either. The Tell-Tale Heart is one of my absolute favorite stories of his, so of course, I wanted to try this. And there were some promising laughs through the book ("Custodian?!" in the early pages being one example).

But this story choked on terrible pacing. It really ruined it. Most of the book was written in flashbacks or in present-day montag
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-classroom
This book is funny-I laughed throughout- and provides many scientifically based excuses for what could be perceived by adults as misbehaving... what's not to love? I love the classical literature references- I picked the book up originally as way to introduce Edgar Allan Poe to students. This action packed book is definitely going in my classroom library. (Editing notes: There were a few errors in the last half of the book. Only a few of which could cause confusion in some student readers. These ...more
Rachel Meyer
I give this book 2 1/2 stars. It was kind of meh to me.

First, most of the book was telling. I don't feel like the author showed much at all. I was excited for a bit because the twins live in Baltimore, but then the setting wasn't really important, so it disappointed me. Second, I didn't like the parts with Poe in the afterlife. It didn't make any sense. Third, the writing was kind of mediocre.

However, I did like the twins. They were fun. Their aunt and uncle were great too. A half star for that
A little funny, a lot of mischief. Not too dissimilar from A Series of Unfortunate Events in that kind of there is an evil villain after us, the adults don't understand, we have to figure it out ourselves kind of way. I didn't particularly care for some of their shenanigans that seemed actually destructive (maybe good for fans of Mac Barnett), and points off for the most inaccurate portrayal of Baltimore ever.
A great gothic tone - this book give the Poe boys some great antics they scare up. They share each others thoughts. There is a scientist trying to kidnap the boys for that special connection. They are who you want to call to decorate your home for Halloween. This story was pure fun. I'm so glad I gave it a try.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Love this idea. Can't say no to Poe or to his descendants. It was a cute book, and I enjoyed all the allusions to Poe and his works. Makes me want to go back and read more of Poe again.

I would definitely continue this series. It made me chuckle a few times, and that's always a plus.
May 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Laugh out loud moments. Lots of illustrations. Perfect for intended age group. Esp boys. (The 3 star rating is mine not what children may rate it.)
I have all 3 books so I am sure I will read them all at some point.
Not scary more like a parody.
Fun elementary-age book about twins with special abilities who are distant relatives of Edgar Allen Poe. Lost of fun, creepy elements, fast pacing, and humor.
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From the author's website:

Gordon McAlpine has been described by Publisher’s Weekly as “a gifted stylist, with clean, clear and muscular prose.” A native Californian, he attended the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at the University of California, Irvine.

Once Upon a Midnight Eerie is Mr. McAlpine’s latest book and is the the second volume in his middle-grade trilogy, “The Misadventures of Edgar

Other books in the series

The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe (3 books)
  • Once Upon a Midnight Eerie (The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe, #2)
  • The Pet and the Pendulum (The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe #3)