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Murders in the Rue Morge
by Edgar Allan Poe

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Murders in the Rue Morge by Edgar Allan Poe

With Murders in the Rue Morge, Edgar Allan Poe is the inventor of the model for the modern detective story consisting of a brilliant detective, his personal friend who serves as the narrator, and the revelation of whodunit that is revealed before the explanation of how the crime was committed. More specifically, Poe is also the father of the locked room mystery, detective stories where the impossibility of the crime takes center stage. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle acknowledged that he modeled his most famous Sherlock Holmes stories after Poe's detective story model by having Watson explicitly state in the first Holmes short story: "You remind me of Edgar Allan Poe's Dupin." Even though Doyle has Holmes disparage Dupin, it is apparently clear that Poe's detective stories were the model for Doyle. Several other famous and not-so-famous authors adopted the same literary method which created a prolific literary genre of its own.

In Murders in the Rue Morge the brilliant detective is Dupin, the narrator is unnamed, and the location is Paris. This short story starts with a commentary on the nature and practice of analytical reasoning. Dupin demonstrates his analytical prowess by deducing the narrator's thoughts about a particular stage actor, based on clues gathered from the narrator's previous words and actions. It is Poe's definition of ratiocination and provides the framework for and modus operandi of Dupin.

Dupin and the narrator read with great interest the newspaper accounts of a baffling double murder. Madame L'Espanaye and her daughter Camille have been found dead at their home in the Rue Morgue. The mother was found in a yard behind the house, with multiple broken bones and her throat so deeply cut that her head fell off when the body was moved. Camille was found strangled to death and stuffed upside down into a chimney, wedged so tightly that it took the strength of several men to pull her loose. The murders occurred in a fourth-floor room that was locked from the inside. Several witnesses reported hearing voices at the time of the murder but disagreed on language and who the speaker may have been.

Follow Dupin and his friend to unravel the mystery.

1st edition 1841 serialized in Graham's Magazine; PDF 24 pages.
word count: 14220 which is equivalent to 56 standard pages of text

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