RARA-AVIS: RE: The detective before Poe

From: Vince Emery ( vince@emery.com)
Date: 25 Apr 2006

First, I wrote:

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).

************ Then, Miker wrote:

Well that's interesting. I might have a go at that. We're talking private detectives, right? Not police detectives.


My response: In the 1828 novella "The Caliber," the detective is translated as being an "investigative magistrate," whatever that means.

In the 1839 story "The Dead Man of St. Anne's Chapel," (In my previous email message, I mistakenly stated that it was published in 1840. Actually, in 1840, an English translation of this story was published in Blackwood's Magazine.) the investigator is not one person, but the defense attorney, the prosecuting attorney, etc., beginning with the discovery of the crime, following different people through their investigations, all the way through the trial and the verdict--more like an early version of the Law & Order TV series.

So Poe may still hold the throne as having created the first fictional private detective. But certainly not the first mystery.

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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