Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: 165 years ago today

From: William Harker (
Date: 20 Apr 2006

At 02:02 PM 4/20/2006 -0400, you wrote:
>Do you know of an alternative? Looking around the net, I can't find
>any sites that say Dupin isn't the first fictional detective, merely
>sites that corroborate the claim. It would be nice to know who the
>first really is.
>On 4/20/06, Jess Nevins <> wrote:
> > Nor was he the first fictional detective, and "Rue Morgue" wasn't
> > the first detective story. But never mind.

If anyone knows of further early stories, I'd be glad to hear about them.

Here are the two earliest *American* mystery stories I have:

William Leggett, "The Rifle," published first anonymously in _The American Souvenir; Christmas and New Year's Offering. 1827_. Re-published under his name under the same title in _Tales and Sketches By A Country Schoolmaster_, 1829.

"The Rifle" has a deputy sheriff that might be considered a detective and is a very early example of the inverted tale.

"The Murderess" in "The Diary of a Philadelphia Lawyer," published by
_Gentleman's Magazine_ (American version -- the one Poe was to edit in the early 1840s), 1837.

"The Murderess" is interesting because it is the first "chapter" in a group of seven that would be published in _Gentleman's Magazine_ that year under the name "The Diary of a Philadelphia Lawyer". The first chapter is the "whodunnit" chapter and the rest go through the trial and denouement which is rather noirish.

Bill Harker

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

RARA-AVIS home page:
  Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 20 Apr 2006 EDT