“Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?” —Arthur Conan Doyle
In The Murders in the Rue Morgue, all of Paris is in shock following the ghastly murder of two women—but with all witnesses claiming to have heard the suspect speak a different language, the police are stumped. When Dupin finds a suspicious hair at the crime scene, and places an advert in the newspaper asking if anyone has lost an “Ourang-Outang,” things take an unexpected turn. In The Mystery of Marie Roget, Dupin and his sidekick undertake to solve the murder of the beautiful young woman who works in a perfume shop, whose body is found floating in the Seine. The Purloined Letter, the final story, finds Dupin engaged on a matter of national importance: a highly compromising letter has been pilfered from the Queen’s private drawing room. The police know who the unscrupulous culprit is, but they can not find the letter, and therefore are unable to pin the crime on him. It is up to Dupin to solve the case — which he does, with characteristic flair. A master of rational deduction and intellectual insight, and prototype for Holmes and Poirot, Dupin sees things for what they are, rather than what they appear to be.
“An inquiry will afford us amusement…”
The Murders in the Rue Morgue is considered the first detective fiction story. Poe’s early detective fiction tales featuring C. Auguste Dupin laid the groundwork for future detectives in literature. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said, “Each [of Poe’s detective stories] is a root from which a whole literature has developed… Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?”
The character of Dupin became the prototype for many future fictional detectives, including Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot. (source: Wikipedia)
I read this story first in high school later in college. I remember I didn’t like it first, but I learned to appreciate it.
An unknown narrator tells how he met and befriended Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin in Paris, and how Dupin solved an extraordinary crime.
“Truth is not always in a well. In fact, as regards the more important knowledge, I do believe that she is invariably superficial. The depth lies in the valleys where we seek her, and not upon the mountain-tops where she is found.”
The story is creepy enough, the writing style is engaging (What else? It’s Poe…), and the solution is the triumph of the analytic mind.