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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Murders in the Rue Morgue (from Selected Tales, 1969)

Selected Tales -  Edgar Allan Poe

I picked up this tome several months ago with no intention of ever reading the whole thing - I'm not a fan of horror and after the required reading of The Tell-Tale Heart and The Cask of Amontillado in high school, I knew that while Poe might have been brilliant he was also tapped into a very scary place in his soul.

 

But he's also the father of the murder mystery and I had never read any of his Dupin stories.  Doyle was supposed to have based Holmes on Dupin and given my love for Holmes it seemed remiss of me to not read Dupin.  So I bought this book for a bargain price with the intention of only reading the three stories included that represented his work in the mystery genre.

 

I started with Murders in the Rue Morgue last night.  I'll own up to my own ignorance: I really thought they took place in a morgue (yes, I know rue is French street but it's Poe and his setting a story in an actual morgue seemed obvious).  The influence on Doyle's creation of Holmes is immediately and unarguably apparent.  Even the narrator is the obvious inspiration for Watson, right down to his awed admiration of Dupin's deductive skills.

 

But boy howdy! does Dupin like the sound of his own voice.  What Holmes would have said in 2 or 3 sentences, Dupin used 2-3 pages to expound upon.  I have to admit I prefer Holmes' brevity and conciseness over Dupin's unarguable logic and detail.

 

I started to guess the murderer when Dupin started to point out the oddness of witness reports concerning the second voice heard right before the scene of the murder was entered.  It seemed fantastic, but then I turned the page and an illustration gave the game away and proved me correct.  

 

It is without a doubt, a brilliant piece of literature, and I'm looking forward to the other two mystery stories in the book The Mystery of Marie Rogêt and The Gold Bug.  But Holmes remains, unapologetically, the favorite of my mind and my heart.