Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

The Murders in the Rue Morgue

The Murders in the Rue Morgue: Edgar Allen Poe, 1 – 6 January, 2010.

My rating: ♦◊◊◊◊

The much-hyped, greatly-revered “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” were a bitter disappointment.

The first and titular of the five short stories began with a long discussion of everything you never wanted to know about chess, simply to allow Poe to make clear the difference between observing and analysing. The case is outlined in the past tense, and solved immediately. There is no investigation, and none of the characters referred to actually appear. In fact, the long, repetitive and frankly monotonous character summaries are all but useless when it comes to the solution, which is bad play on Poe’s part and humiliating to the modern writer.

His next story begins with a spiel on calculus before using a similar style to recount the case. Poe’s writing style is difficult to follow. He censors names, places and dates for no real reason, and in the second story is at great pains to explain the fiction is based on a true story. Thus, he jumps in and out of character, telling the tale in first-person as the detective’s friend, and as an omniponent narrator, and seems confused about his role in the whole escapade.

Long newspaper “clippings” are written in the same flowery prose, or staccato; annotations pop up to explain the parallels to real cases to the reader akin to watching a DVD commentary while watching the feature film; and the author tells the reader that he declines to pass on information because he feels like it.

That being said, one must recognise and praise Poe for inventing the gengre of detective fiction and a great deal of literary devices – locked room murder, ‘detective and friend’ narration, and more. Having the first ever murder mystery on your shelf is a coup. Reading it, however, is more like a punishment.

Sorry it’s been so long since I updated! Promise to not miss any more out!


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This entry was posted on January 6, 2010 by in 1 star and tagged .

Author Cloud

@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare