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There is something special about the detective story. I think it is perhaps that extra bit of thinking, that extra involvement with the audience. The audience is not simply a bystander, but actually in the story, thinking alongside the detectives. It engulfs the audience in a new world, and shows the real horrors of the world, and the heroes who bring the criminals to justice. It shows us people with seemingly super-human skills, but we then realize that all those skills lie deep in ourselves. And there is one thing that the detective story has that most other types of stories don't have: a great legacy.

From Poe to Aoyama: The Legacy of the Detective Story By BearFrog

Back in 1841, Edgar Allan Poe wrote a story that would begin an entire genre of stories and entertainment. Poe, who has already done so much innovation in the fields of horror and fantasy, was the creator of the modern day detective story. He came up with the concept of the eccentric detective, the sidekick narrator, the locked room scenario, the incompetent police, and the twist finale. While there were a few stories about detectives before Poe's, Poe was the one who created the formula and elements we see in many of today's mysteries.

Poe was a man obsessed with the afterlife, obsessed with darkness and the unknown. He was a drunk and possible drug abuser, and yet his true genius was noticed by few before his death. Poe, who had suffered so much death and chaos and his lifetime, needed some form of logic. Many suspect that Poe created the detective story to prevent him from going mad. But what is interesting is that the ending in "Murders in the Rue Morgue" defies all logic, or at least conventional logic.

Poe created the brilliant French detective Auguste Dupin, based upon a French detective he had met with amazing skills of deduction. Poe, it seems, is in the same situation of the narrator, as he admires the great skills of this man. Whenever reading on of the three Dupin stories, I always imagine Poe as the sidekick, who is no longer worried with his normal fears (like the afterlife) and gets caught up in the mystery of the case and the admiration of his comrade.

Anyone reading Poe's three Dupin mysteries will notice a significant difference from the rest of his writing. It is almost as if an entirely different author wrote them. It is so similar to Sherlock Holmes, that if only the names were changed you might not be able to tell if Conan Doyle wrote it (except the possible exception due to the more complex language). Dupin and the sidekick are like mirror images of Holmes and Watson.

Dupin appears in 3 Poe mysteries, 2 murders and 1 stolen item case. The stolen item case involves no death whatsoever, a strange occurrence in Poe's writing. This alone showed a bit of gap between that and the rest of Poe's writing, especially since the case was about a stolen letter. I am both happy for the gap and partly resent it. On one hand, Poe managed to create a most amazing genre, and on the other, it would be nice to see some insanity in one of the perpetrators in his stories, as that would be a nice combination in a detective story.

Nonetheless, Poe published three of the greatest detective stories of all time. His influence is seen clearly, as a British author named Arthur Conan Doyle (often called Conan Doyle), who took that formula that Poe developed and perfected it. Doing so, he created the greatest detective of all time, the amazing Sherlock Holmes. Doyle always considered his medical school teacher and forensic detective Joseph Bell, the man who inspired him to write Holmes, as being a real life super detective. Combining Joseph Bell with Dupin, Sherlock Holmes was created. In fact, in one Holmes story, Watson and Holmes discuss the comparison. Of course, Holmes doesn't exactly like the comparison (^^):

"You remind me of Edgar Allan Poe's Dupin. I had no idea that such individuals did exist outside of stories."

Sherlock Holmes rose and lit his pipe. "No doubt you think that you are complimenting me in comparing me to Dupin," he observed. "Now, in my opinion, Dupin was a very inferior fellow. That trick of his of breaking in on his friends' thoughts with an apropos remark after a quarter of an hour's silence is really very showy and superficial. He had some analytical genius, no doubt; but he was by no means such a phenomenon as Poe appeared to imagine."

"Have you read Gaboriau's (another previous detective author) works?" I asked. "Does Lecoq come up to your idea of a detective?"

Sherlock Holmes sniffed sardonically. "Lecoq was a miserable bungler," he said, in an angry voice; "he had only one thing to recommend him, and that was his energy. That book made me positively ill. The question was how to identify an unknown prisoner. I could have done it in twenty-four hours. Lecoq took six months or so. It might be made a textbook for detectives to teach them what to avoid."

Don't you just love Holmes?

Sherlock Holmes, a fencer, a violinist, a boxer, a cocaine abuser, a man with excellent baritsu skills, a master of disguise, and the world's greatest detective. Teamed up with a former military doctor, Watson, the two work together in solving seemingly impossible crimes. Appearing in 60 stories (novels and short stories) and many by other authors, including Conan's son, Sherlock Holmes became an international icon. He became so real and lifelike to the public, that when Doyle killed off Holmes in "The Final Problem", fans wrote letters trying to comfort Watson.