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It's well established that Edgar Allan Poe wrote the first detective stories (the awards for detective stories are named after him), though these are probably lesser known works compared to Poe's "spookier" works such as the Pit and the Pendulum or The Raven. Most people probably know one of the great characters these books inspired though - Sherlock Holmes - and it's clear exactly how much of the form Doyle copied for his Holmes stories (these are narrated by the detective's best friend, with whom he shares an apartment; the detective chooses to solve these crimes as a personal diversion, for the mental fun of it, but is occasionally consulted by the police).
The stories are interesting and full of intriguing analysis - the first is an apparent locked-room mystery, the second is based on an actual (and still unsolved) murder in New York, and the third is a delightful tale of how Dupin solved the problem of a stolen letter and prevented blackmail, while at the same time exacting some revenge for a previous wrong. Much of the analysis is based on mathematical principles, and follows what Doyle would later explain much more directly: ".....when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth" While Doyle had Sherlock Holmes state it succinctly, it was first said by C. August Dupin, as written by Poe, in these original detective stories.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The book is bit sinister and dark and French, but this is the essential read for the followers of the English who-dunnits.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful