Friday, December 4, 2009

Poe Fridays: The Purloined Letter

Welcome to the home stretch of our Poe Fridays. We are just over a month away from Poe's birthday again and the end of this reading journey! This week's reading was The Purloined Letter. You can read it here.

This is the third of Poe's detective stories featuring the enigmatic Frenchman C. Auguste Dupin, the inspiration for future investigators such as Sherlock Holmes. Dupin is visited by a police detective who is stumped in his attempts to retrieve a personal letter stolen from the Queen of France. Dupin, through methods of thought and reason, manages to solve the crime without leaving his home until the time when he is ready to retrieve the letter from the thief.

Poe thought this was the best of his "tales of ratiocination" and I would agree. In The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Mystery of Marie Roget, Dupin solves the crimes with a ridiculous amount of knowledge of trivial facts. In this story, he uses nothing but his knowledge of human nature to solve the mystery. This is much more interesting, especially to fans of future mystery fiction. Though this story gets a big bogged down at one point, it is generally a fascinating read.

The short story for next week will be Ligeia. Enjoy!

Observing human behavior for future crime-fighting purposes,


  1. Glad you liked it - and I agree that this one is the best of the ratiocination tales. "The Mystery of Marie Roget" is just a headache. "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" takes some patience too. This one is simpler, quicker, and more fun!

  2. Definitely my favorite of the Dupin stories. I enjoyed this one - while I had a pretty good idea of where it was going, I still found myself feeling surprised at the end. Fun!

    (Also, my word captcha word is Chest. Hmmm.....)