Murders in the Rue Morgue

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Story by Poe, published in 1841 and collected in the Prose Tales of Edgar A. Poe (1843). It is his first tale of ratiocination and in it he is considered to have created the genre of the detective story.

The narrator lives in Paris with his friend C. Auguste Dupin, an eccentric genius of extraordinary analytic powers. They read an account of the murders of a Mme L'Espanaye and her daughter Camille in their fourth-story apartment in the Rue Morgue. The police are puzzled by the crime, for its brutal manner indicates that the murderer possessed superhuman strength and agility; his voice, overheard by neighbors, was grotesque and unintelligible; and they can discover no motive. Dupin undertakes to solve the mystery as an exercise in ratiocination. After examing the evidence and visiting the scene of the murders to find new clues, he deduces the fact that the criminal is an ape. An advertisement brings to Dupin's apartment a sailor who confesses that an orangutan, which he brought to Paris to sell, escaped and committed the murders. The police release a former suspect, and the ape is recaptured and sold to the Jardin des Plantes.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Edgar Allan Poe (1809—1849) American short-story writer, poet, and critic

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