EDGAR ALLAN POE’S BID TO BECOME A REAL-LIFE CRIME SOLVER: Having created a popular fictional detective, Poe set out to apply his theories of reason to the day’s biggest mysteries (ALEX HORTIS, 3/05/24, CrimeReads)

In 1841, Poe wrote “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” his groundbreaking detective story featuring Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin, an amateur sleuth in Paris who unravels crimes through “ratiocination,” the application of deductive logic to the clues. Monsieur Dupin reads in the newspapers about the savage murders of two women. He explains to his sidekick that the police focus too narrowly on the rules of evidence. “This may be the practice in law, but it is not the usage of reason. My ultimate object is only the truth,” he insists. Dupin deduces that the killer was . . . an orangutan that’d escaped from a sailor’s possession. The story concludes with Poe’s defense of amateur crime-solving. “The Chief of police was not happy that the answer to the mystery of the killings had been found by someone who was not a policeman,” says his sidekick. Dupin replies that while the chief is a “good fellow” he often misses “something which is there before his eyes.”

Then a real murder captured Poe and the public’s imagination. On the sweltering morning of July 28, 1841, passersby spotted a woman’s corpse floating on the Hudson River. The victim was Mary Cecilia Rogers, a beautiful, twenty-one-year-old “cigar girl” at John Anderson’s tobacco emporium. The Herald speculated that she was killed by a “gang of negroes.” The Post reported that an Irish gang lured Mary Rogers to the shore where she was, “after the accomplishment of their hellish purposes, brutally murdered.”

Dissatisfied, Poe did something audacious: he set out to publicly solve the Mary Rogers case while the investigation was ongoing.