I began reading a book that I just picked up from the library last weekend, The Suspicions of Mr. Wichler by Kate Summerscale, and I am enjoying this non-fiction book. I was first introduced to this title by Jackie of Farm Lane Books and I have been interested in reading it for quite some time. It is a true account of the murder of a young boy in Victorian England at the same time that Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins were writing their enormously popular serialized mysteries. In fact, these two authors are mentioned several times in this book, giving their personal commentary on what they think actually happened. I have not finished the book yet (I have about 60 pages to go), but as of now the murder is unsolved, although the most likely suspects appear to be the boy's father (who could have been having an affair with the nursery maid and when the young toddler woke up in the middle of the night and spied them together, the father felt that he had to silence the lad so that he could not tattle to his mother of this indiscretion) OR the toddler's sixteen year old half -sister who possibly inherited her deceased mother's propensity for madness. This true story definitely has all the makings for a sensational thriller with the cast of characters, the gothic-style house, and the Scotland Yard detective.
The book also mentions Edgar Allan Poe's famous detective, M. Auguste Dupin. I believe that I have mentioned on this blog before my embarrassment for never having read Poe to date, but my extreme desire to do so for Carl's RIP IV challenge. Well, I decided that Saturday was the day to put my plan into action. I dusted off my Kindle (which I am sad to say has not seen much action since the spring) and downloaded a free version of Murders in the Rue Morgue, the story that introduced this protagonist to the world. I was immediately engrossed in the novel and remained fascinated at M. Dupin's deductive reasoning skills. This is considered a "locked room mystery" in which the crime happens in a closed-in area that appears to have no possible means of escape. While there are some gruesome details of the double murder, I found that I was not adversely affected by them as my mind was constantly trying to predict what clue (or clew, as Poe wrote) Dupin would discover next. The story is told from an anonymous friend's point of view (similar to the Sherlock Holmes stories being told from Dr. Watson's point of view). This first person perspective allows us, the reader, to feel as though we are alongside this great detective observing his investigation and thought-process first hand.
I was so taken with this first introduction to Poe, that I quickly downloaded the two other Dupin short stories: The Mystery of Marie Roget and The Purloined Letter. I hope that I can find time this afternoon to complete this trilogy, before I have to think about grading more papers.