Ironically, I think the title of this blog post would be considered somewhat offensive, both to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allan Poe. But, I think it’s eye-catching…after all, you chose to read it, didn’t you?
The reason for this offense, however, comes from both sides. First, Edgar Allan Poe is rightfully credited with creating the detective story. But, everyone remembers Sherlock Holmes, while few remember C. Auguste Dupin. (Which I imagine would be somewhat infuriating). And in fact, in the novella A Study in Scarlet, Sherlock Holmes calls out Dupin as something of a hack!
“It is simple enough as you explain it,” I said, smiling. “You remind me of Edgar Allen Poe’s Dupin. I had no idea that such individuals did exist outside of stories.”
Sherlock Holmes rose and lit his pipe. “No doubt you think that you are complimenting me in comparing me to Dupin,” he observed. “Now, in my opinion, Dupin was a very inferior fellow. That trick of his of breaking in on his friends’ thoughts with an apropos remark after a quarter of an hour’s silence is really very showy and superficial. He had some analytical genius, no doubt; but he was by no means such a phenomenon as Poe appeared to imagine.”A Study in Scarlet, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
But, just who is Dupin? This fictional detective was the brainchild of Edgar Allan Poe, and appeared in three different stories. In a format similar to what we see in the Sherlock Holmes stories, Dupin and his narrator friend visit various crime scenes and while Dupin solves the case using what appears to be supernatural methods, his friend documents it for our reading pleasure.
In The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Dupin must investigate a grisly double-homicide, while The Purloined Letter involves just that– a missing letter, and how Dupin cleverly tracks it down. Finally, there’s The Mystery of Marie Rogêt, the longest of the three titles, which is actually based on a real murder that Poe read about in the paper!
For those of you interested in checking out these titles, you can find listings of the stories themselves, as well as adaptations, below. But, before we do, I wanted to start off this list with one more title: The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl (also available in audio). New York lawyer, Quentin Clark tries to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding Poe’s death, and along the way, discovers that the best person to help him solve the mystery would be the real-life inspiration for Poe’s classic detective, Dupin.
Books and Ebooks
The Poe Reader (Edgar Allan Poe) Contains all three of the Dupin Mysteries