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Detective Fiction And “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”

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Presentation on theme: "Detective Fiction And “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Detective Fiction And “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”

2 In every story, we know that a crime is going to be committed and that someone is going to solve it. So if we already know what is going to happen, why bother reading it?

3 Because we want to know how. How does a criminal commit a crime in a locked room? Or a detective solve a mystery without leaving the comfort of their arm chair?

4 Detective Fiction is a genre made up of variations to basic formulas. Formulas create the basic structure for a writer to create something original.

5 Think of formulas as recipes for a great mystery. Any one who has eaten home-cooked food has had the experience of variations in basic meals. Chili is chili, yet there are Chili cook-offs were cooks compete under categories like: most original, most unique, and most likely to burn your esophagus. Each cook has a secret twist to their recipe, yet it is all chili.

6 Ice cream is the same. You take the basics (eggs, milk, sugar, ect.) and then add flavors and treats until you come up with vastly different kinds of ice cream.

7 The formula for detective fiction dictates that a crime is committed in a certain and must be solved in a certain way, but the author always adds their distinct secret ingredient to make it surprising, original, and delectable.


9 Most mysteries fall under one formula, but often writers combine formulas in order to give the plot a fresh, unexpected twist.

10 Means, Motive, & Opportunity

11 Means, motive, and opportunity form the basis for any prosecution: Motive: Does the suspect have a reason to commit the crime? Means: Would the suspect be able to commit the crime? Opportunity: Was the suspect there when the crime was committed?

12 "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," by Edgar Allan Poe

13 Edgar Allan Poe is considered to be a founding father of detective fiction.

14 His detective, C. Aguste Dupin, and the un-named narrator form the template for many other detectives such as: Miss Marple Hercule Poirot. Agatha Christie

15 Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

16 Miss Marple By Agatha Christie

17 Hercule Poirot

18 "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" is considered to be the first locked room formula used in a short story.

19 Formula: The Locked Room Definition: A crime is committed in a room, sealed from the inside or under constant scrutiny.

20 The questions that must be answered are: How could the culprit: get in? commit the crime? then escape?

21 Edgar Allan Poe is credited with the first locked room scenario in the short story, "Murders in the Rue Morgue," but many mystery writers have used this formula since.


23 The ideas behind the locked room mystery are very much grounded in the 19th century's fascination and belief in the Scientific method.

24 This idea, as Poe demonstrates in the first two pages of his short story, is that through observation and analytical thinking, any mystery can be untangled into one logically explained series of events. All doors, walls, and floors are solid and impenetrable. There are no ghosts or magic.

25 Also, crossing the moral line between socially acceptable behavior and crime was thought to be explained by three predetermined causes: 1. Economics 2. Childhood Trauma 3. Genetics

26 1. Economics

27 2. Childhood Trauma

28 3. Genetics

29 In the story, a terrible double homicide has been committed in Paris. The police are stumped because of the horrific nature of the murders and the apparent ability of the two suspects to seem to disappear from the locked crime scene.

30 Dupin and the Narrator go to the scene, observe the room and the bodies, go home, and the next day Dupin tells the narrator to get a gun because he is expecting the culprit to arrive any minute.

31 How did Dupin figure it out? Observation and analysis, of course. And poor Dupin is forced to explain everything to the dumbfounded narrator.

32 Clues upon Close Observation: Non-human hair Ribbon on the Lightning rod Spring-operated window sills Broken Nail in the window sill Size of the hand print bruised on the daughter's neck Testimony of the two voices heard in the room

33 Analysis: No Motive Dupin rules out robbery, the bags containing 40,000 francs are still on the floor even though the drawers are riffled through, the most valuable things are still present. These women had no enemies, being that they lived a solitary life and barely left the house.

34 Analysis: No Means - Means: Nobody could have performed the murders in they gruesome way the women were found. How could one man shove the daughter up the chimney if it took four men to get her down? How could an average person be able to nearly sever the head of the mother with just a razor? How could a man leave a hand print that big?

35 Analysis: No Opportunity - Opportunity: The room was locked who would have been able to get in and out with apparent ease?

36 Surprisingly happy

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