How Edgar Allan Poe Created the First Detective Story
An artist versed in digital production, Griffith “Griff” Littlehale creates a variety of pieces on commission. With a passion for novels and poetry, Griffith Robert Littlehale enjoys the works of classic 19th century authors such as Oscar Wilde and Edgar Allan Poe.
One of the latter author’s accomplishments, beyond indelible tales of the macabre, was setting to pen and paper the first ever detective story. Preceding Sherlock Holmes by nearly a half century, C. Auguste Dupin first appeared in 1841 in “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” This pioneering locked-room mystery introduced an independently wealthy character who assists law enforcement in solving challenging puzzles. Smoking a meerschaum pipe and depicted as a reclusive eccentric, Dupin is described by his roommate who, like Watson, is the “I” in the story.
The formula that Poe devised and repeated in “The Purloined Letter” and “The Mystery of Marie Roget” was one that became popular among 19th century readers, as it held the promise of deductive reasoning as a solution to every seemingly intractable problem. Poe also emphasized a “mistrust of appearance” that became pronounced in an increasingly complex and industrialized society.