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The Monkey Did It!

Today is the anniversary of the publication of what is considered to be the first detective story, The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Alan Poe, in Graham’s Magazine in 1841.

Going back and looking at that story, it’s amazing how many of the modern tropes of the genre are present in Poe’s tale … the genius detective, the friend-cum-sidekick, the bumbling police officer, the first person narrative, the grisly death under inexplicable circumstances, the bizarre-but-accurate solution … all are part of this first story.

I find it interesting that the genre should begin so fully formed. You’d think that ORDINARY murder would be titillating enough to get the detective story started … but Poe leapt past that and straight into the realm of the macabre. (Perhaps not so surprising for him.)

The Murders in the Rue Morgue is still surprisingly readable for a mystery story that is 169 years old. If you have a chance, I highly endorse sitting down and giving it a read.

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