…I there became acquainted with a Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin. This young gentleman was of an excellent—indeed of an illustrious family, but, by a variety of untoward events, had been reduced to such poverty that the energy of his character succumbed beneath it, and he ceased to bestir himself in the world, or to care for the retrieval of his fortunes…Books, indeed, were his sole luxuries, and in Paris these are easily obtained.
This is our mysterious introduction to Charles Auguste Dupin, who stars in a short story trilogy written by Edgar Allan Poe. A sort of French Sherlock Holmes, Dupin lives reclusively in Paris with apparently no aspirations, except the gaining of knowledge and the solving of puzzles, via probability and logic. In the first story, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, the gory murders of a mother and daughter have baffled the Parisian police force; and when the police give up, Dupin must step in and find the killer.
I first read the Dupin stories many years ago and found them, compared to Sherlock Holmes, very boring and difficult to read. Most likely, it is because Dupin’s narrator is no Watson, eager to write a tale of adventure–instead, he is a rather serious-minded person who begins his story with a short lecture.
Fortunately, however, I enjoyed it this time around; and I became an instant fan of Dupin, with his eccentric nocturnal habits and grave, analytical demeanor. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars, subtracting half a star due to the anticlimactic ending. The murder details are also very Edgar Allan Poe, if you know what I mean…