Friday, December 31, 2010
Review: The Mystery of Marie Rogêt and The Purloined Letter
Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe:
THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGÊT and THE PURLOINED LETTER
by Edgar Allan Poe
Doubleday (1966), Hardcover, 832 pages
The Mystery of Marie Rogêt is a short story written in 1842, and follow The Murders in the Rue Morgue. The main character in both stories is C. Auguste Dupin, an ‘ancestor’ of Sherlock Homes and Hercule Poirot.
Dupin and his unnamed mate also narrator of the story, undertake the murder of Marie Rogêt in Paris. Marie Rogêt is a perfume shop employee; she is killed and her body is found in the Seine River.
The story is based upon the murder of Mary Cecilia Rogers. Edgar Allan Poe writing The Mystery of Marie Rogêt gives birth to the first murder mystery based on a real crime.
Dupin’s ‘ratiocination’ takes most of the story, and it seems too long and not very interesting.
The Purloined Letter is the third of Poe’s detective stories. He wrote this story in 1844.
Police’s Prefect of Paris has a case he would like to discuss with C. Auguste Dupin. Minister D. steals a letter from a room of an unnamed woman. The letter could contain compromising information. The Prefect tells Dupin that he has searched the Minister’s room but did not find anything.
A month later the Prefect tells Dupin about the reward upon the letter’s return. Dupin asks to the Prefect to sign a check because he has already found the letter.
Among these three detective stories I preferred the first one: The Murders in the Rue Morgue. In this story the narration of the events and Dupin’s ‘ratiocination’ are balanced, so the reader can enjoy reading.
Around the same period another writer, Fyodor Dostoevsky, based his books on real crimes reading Moscow’s newspapers.