December 28, 2012
A shocking and dastardly literary crime has been perpetrated upon a heretofore unsuspecting citizenry. How could you allow The Sun to publish such a travesty about the fictional sleuth Sherlock Holmes ("On the case," Dec. 23)?
Contrary to what the writer claims, Sherlock Holmes was not the first consulting detective in modern literature, and Arthur Conan Doyle did not invent the police procedural.
In fact, a character named C. Auguste Dupin was on the case nearly five decades before Holmes made his first appearance. Dupin's deductive gifts were featured in stories such as "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Mystery of Marie Roget" and "The Purloined Letter."
The creator of this consulting detective and the procedurals in which he appeared was a young author, editor and poet who spent much of his career in Baltimore. Perhaps you have heard of Edgar Allan Poe?
Sir Arthur referenced both Dupin and Poe extensively. In his first novel, "A Study in Scarlet," Dr. Watson says that Holmes reminds him of Poe's character Dupin. And during a speech given in 1909, at the height of his literary fame, Conan Doyle asked his audience: "Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?"
As Doyle wrote in "The Man with the Twisted Lip," "it is, of course, a trifle, but there is nothing so important as trifles."
Steven English, Clarksville
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