A collection of three short stories, two of them are The Murders in the Rue Morgue and its sequel The Mystery of Marie Rogêt which are creepy and gruesome mysteries. The third is The Purloined Letter which is mystery about a seemingly simple case.
I had an interesting time with this short story collection. It was the first time I’d read any Edgar Allan Poe and I flew through, and really enjoyed, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, but I found the other two stories a real drag.
All three stories are told from the point of view of an unnamed narrator. His friend Dupin is an amateur sleuth so when there’s a crime, he narrates how Dupin gets involved and how he might solve the case. Dupin’s explanations of what happened is where the stories lost me. They’re really long and in depth, with page long paragraphs that I found myself getting lost in as his explanations didn’t intrigue me. They seemed like a way to show off how clever Dupin was but there was never enough to make me like the guy.
The events of The Murders in the Rue Morgue are horrifying and there are a lot of vivid descriptions on the crime scene. Those sequences, in all the stories, are the most compelling. It’s the explanations that ended up boring me instead of making me interested in finding out whodunnit.
These short stories reminded me of the works of Arthur Conan Doyle and E.W. Hornung. The style of writing and story-telling is quiet something but unlike Sherlock Holmes or A.J. Raffles, Dupin isn’t a charismatic protagonist that I almost instantly took a liking to.
I’m not sure if this was a good introduction to Poe but at least I can now say I’ve read The Murders in the Rue Morgue. 2/5.
Short story collections are always a hit or miss for all of the stories inside. I’ve never read a single Edgar Allen Poe but I’ll remember to read his novels instead of short stories, then.
Yeah, short stories are always an interesting experience. I do still want to read The Tell-Tale Heart (mainly because I remember it being referenced in an episode of The Simpson’s!)
I never read these particular Poe pieces, but he’s one of my favorites. He never struck me as the type to be particularly meant for longer works of fiction, and if I recall his novels were not received well. I would suggest his poetry and short stories that aren’t interconnected.
The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat, The Cask of Amontillado, The Fall of the House of Usher, and my personal favorite The Masque of the Red Death are all his best and most famous short stories. He shines when he’s telling random macabre stories. As far as poems, The Raven is popular for a reason, but my favorite is Annabel Lee, which if you’ve watched Holes it was recited in part in that movie. It’s a beautifully sad love story.
Sorry for writing you an essay. But, I do hope you give Poe another chance. He’s not or everyone, and some of his stories do drag, but he has a talent for building tension if you like that sort of thing.
That’s no problem, I love an essay on things people love!
I do still want to read The Tell-Tale Heart – I’ve wanted to read it since watching an episode of The Simpson’s years ago which referenced it.
Thanks for all your recommendations! 🙂