April 20, 1841 Edgar Allan Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin made his debut–and the detective story as we know it was born.
You see, when The Murders in the Rue Morgue was first published, “detective” had not yet made its way into our vocabulary. Nor were we familiar with stories focused on the games afoot–mainly, the games of observation and logic.
Like many to follow, Poe’s detective was something of an amateur. Sleuthing was not his profession. As a matter of fact, he was a gentleman, a poet; a man who preferred to work at night, who preferred puzzles to rapport.
If we were to meet him in real life, we may not love him.
But on the page, he’s intriguing–all the more so when pit our mind and attention to detail, to his. For you see, Poe also introduced the number one rule of a true detective story: all the facts and clues must be laid out before the crime is solved. It’s a matter of putting the pieces together, for both the detective and the reader.
Needless to say, now is the perfect time to pick up one of the books that started it all–one of the books that inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle call Poe “a model for all time:”
The Purloined Letter (1845)
The Mystery of Marie Roget (1845)