The Purloined Letter is a book written by Edgar Allan Poe. It is widely considered to be one of the top 100 greatest books of all time. This great novel will surely attract a whole new generation of readers. For many, The Purloined Letter is required reading for various courses and curriculums. And for others who simply enjoy reading timeless pieces of classic literature, this gem by Edgar Allan Poe is highly recommended.
The Purloined Letter has been always one of my favorites. Without anything bloody or spooky, it is mysterious and entertaining.
Monsieur G—, the prefect of the Paris police arrives to Monsieur Dupin and asks for his help in a case he has made no progress so far. Dupin suggests him to continue to search the letter in question.
“If it is any point requiring reflection,” observed Dupin, as he forebore to enkindle the wick, “we shall examine it to better purpose in the dark.”
“That is another of your odd notions,” said the Prefect, who had the fashion of calling everything “odd” that was beyond his comprehension, and thus lived amid an absolute legion of “oddities.”
One month later the prefect in sheer desperation comes to Dupin again, document still missing. Dupin surprises him presenting the letter. After Monsieur G— leaves, Dupin reveals to his friend, the narrator, how he got the letter back.
This functionary grasped it in a perfect agony of joy, opened it with a trembling hand, cast a rapid glance at its contents, and then, scrambling and struggling to the door, rushed at length unceremoniously from the room and from the house.
Poe’s irony is remarkable here, as Dupin explains and ridicules the Parisian police’s investigator methods, and points out that people tend not to see the obvious.
Dupin’s method is based on not perseverance and thoroughness but on logic, practical wit, and identifying himself with the criminal.
Nil sapientiae odiosius acumine nimio.
—– Nothing is more hateful to wisdom than excessive cleverness.