RARA-AVIS: The mystery before Poe

From: Vince Emery ( vince@emery.com)
Date: 23 Apr 2006

If you are interested in early mysteries, I recommend Early German and Austrian Detective Fiction: An Anthology, translated and edited by Mary Tannert and Henry Kratz (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1999).

It includes The Caliber by Adolph Muellner, originally published in 1828, 13 years before Poe's 1841 Murder in the Rue Morgue, and an 1839 courtroom mystery, The Dead Man of St. Anne's Chapel, by Otto Ludwig (pseudonym of Emil Freiherr von Puttkammer).

Both predate Poe's mysteries. Poe read German. In fact, some literary historians believe Poe got the idea for "The Fall of the House of Usher" from a German story. (For more on this, read The German Face of Edgar Allan Poe by Thomas Hansen and Burton Pollin [Columbia, South Carolina: Camden House, 1995].)

So Poe may have been inspired by the early German mysteries to write his own.

Vince Emery

Vince Emery Productions Publisher:
- LOST STORIES by Dashiell Hammett
  SAM SPADE edited by Richard Layman

www.emerybooks.com Box 460279, San Francisco, CA 94146 USA vince@emery.com     Phone 1.415.337.6000

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