"No one doubted now that the mystery of this murder would be immediately brought to light. But although, in one of two instances, arrests were made which promised elucidation, yet nothing was elicited which could implicate the parties suspected; and they were discharged forthwith. Strange as it may appar, the third week from the discovery of the body had passed, and passed without any light being thrown upon the subject, before even a rumor of the events which had so agitated the public mind, reached the ears of Dupin and myself."
An informative paragraph, picked at random, some 1000 words into the introduction of the tale by Poe's nameless narrator.
Edgar Allan Poe wrote The Mystery of Marie Rogêt in 1842 as a sequel to the critically acclaimed and wildly popular short story The Murders in the Rue Morgue. In the tale we are returned to C. Auguste Dupin and his friend, our nameless narrator. We are introduced to a mystery, and Dupin's thoughts on the matter; the mystery is solved by the end of the story.
I was raised being taught that if I couldn't say something nice, I should instead say nothing at all. This means the writeup concludes here, with all the critical information contained within the preceeding paragraph.
I could do it, you know. Just leave the basic information up there. The "review" section is a bit sparse... But no! I must watch my tongue.
just a touch of opinion... no. No, can't do it. But I can pad with another objective fact! The Mystery of Marie Rogêt was first published in Snowden's Ladies' Companion (credit to Wikipedia, for that invaluable detail).
Well, now my conscience is winning the better of me. I know I shouldn't... I know it's rude... but the thought, the fear the grows beyond the shadow of my heart, that another will happen across this story expecting a sequel of the prestigious quality of The Murders in the Rue Morgue... I can hold back my venom no more.
Edgar, you've got some 'splaining to do!
I speculate that there was never meant to be a sequel to The Murders in the Rue Morgue. Poe had created Dupin - a man of enviable intellect and uncanny abilities of observation and rationalization. Poe had created a sidekick of equal intellect, but lesser skills of deduction. The purpose of this sidekick was two fold - his existence allowed for a device by which for Poe to tell the story, and the sidekick can ask questions within the story whenever Poe fears his readership might not be keeping up with Dupin. The narrator does quite well to see where Dupin is heading though, in The Murders of the Rue Morgue that is, interjecting a question here and perhaps there before being astonished by the twist ending which Dupin calmly explains just before his conjecture comes to pass, solving the murder mystery; curtains fall upon the stage.
I think that was just about where Poe got a twist ending from his readership - they loved the new "detective" story! It had never been done before, and what charm and chemistry the two characters had! It was a fantastic read, full of action and bribes and the breaking-into of crime scenes. Most readers would not have calculated the ending before reading it, but no harm in that as it kept all entertained. I theorize that it was this level of popularity for Murders in the Rue Morgue, or perhaps the lean nature to Poe's publisher's purses, which incited the desire to write The Mystery of Marie Rogêt (which was even subtitled as a sequel).
And what a sequel this mystery was! It had more deductions by Dupin! It had many times as many references to newspaper articles! It had, and this was a bombshell heard across the mindscapes of Poe's readership, actual newspaper clippings of the actual details of the actual crime Poe copied (and garnished with Parisian geographic detail). Firstly, Poe creates Dupin long before Sherlock Holmes comes to be. Secondly, Poe beats Law and Order to their "Ripped from the headlines" storytelling mantra by roughly one hundered years.
With all of this more-ness to The Mystery of Marie Rogêt, you may be wondering where the story went awry. I know I was wondering precisely that as I reached the final page. The issue, with Marie Rogêt, was that it tried to impress the reader with more of the devices which had worked the last time (fake news clippings, Dupin musing outloud to his lackey) without realizing that what the reader appreciated most about the first tale was the newness factor.
One of the best parts, if not the best, of Murders in the Rue Morgue was the fact that the narrator and Dupin were drawn to the case by hearing about it again and again during their evening strolls through town, to the extent where they actually enter the crime scene searching for additional clue. Everything in The Mystery of Marie Rogêt, we are told. We are not, as in the previous Dupin story, shown him leaning close to a window to inspect its latch, we are instead told (by Dupin to the narrator) that the streets must have been empty when Marie Rogêt left her house because it was a sunday.
We do not hear Marie Rogêt's sharp hiss when the cold air first hits her nose.
We do not hear the clack of Marie Rogêt's shoes as they echo off the walls of the close by apartment buildings.
We do not see, perhaps over Dupin's shoulder as he peers around the corner of a building, the gang initiate be pointed in Marie Rogêt's direction.
No, instead of any of that, we are instead treated to pages and thousands of words parsed out from real newspaper reporting on the death of Mary Cecilia Rogers. Newspaper clippings, and Dupin performing mental excercises of ratiocination: that is the essence of the sequel Poe has offered in The Mystery of Marie Rogêt. I was tempted to tell you this story was a bad one. I hope I have instead shown that in this story -- bereft of action, which sings the chorus of a true unsolved crime, without association or interaction with any character from the victims association -- there is not much to tell of.