Edgar Allan Poe

Murders in the Rue Morgue Turns 175


SPOILER ALERT: An orangutan did it. Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley.

I don’t mean to makeĀ a bunch of birthday and anniversary posts, but this one’s pretty important: Edgar Allan Poe’s MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE turns 175 years old this month. The story appeared in the April 1841 issue of GRAHAM’S MAGAZINE. Some sources have cited April 1 as the “official” anniversary date, so we’ll go with that.

There have been several films that are supposedly “based” on it, but the ones I’ve seen bear little resemblance to what Poe wrote. MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE’s greatest impact has been on the mystery genre, as it is generally held to be the first detective story. In fact, the word “detective” wasn’t even in use when this story first appeared.