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The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe

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Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849), a short story writer and poet, was master of the macabre and one of America's great literary geniuses. His collection of poems and short stories not only helped to define the horror genre, but would influence subsequent strains of mystery, crime fiction, and sci-fi. He is credited with inventing the detective fiction genre with the 1841 publication of "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," whose plot structure and literary devices have been imitated ever since: ghastly, mysterious murders, a narrator slash assistant, and a preternaturally intuitive sleuth who's keen on explaining his methods.

When two women are brutally murdered in Paris, the brilliantly analytical Auguste Dupin delves into action to solve the mystery. He has what Poe calls the powers of "ratiocination" - or exact thinking - which might result from what the narrator knows is Dupin's double personality, or "Bi-Part soul." This condition is confirmed when, upon first meeting Dupin, he appears to read his the narrator's mind. Poe's groundbreaking detective reappears in two more tales, "The Mystery of Marie Rogêt" and "The Purloined Letter." As a final note for non-French speakers: the title "Murders in the Rue Morgue" has nothing to do with an actual morgue (it means "the murders on Morgue Street," a fictional Parisian locale).

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