Double(t)s in the Rue Morgue: (Don’t) Follow the money

Yet experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger portion of truth, arises from the seemingly irrelevant.

C. Auguste Dupin, in The Mystery of Marie Rogêt.

Back to Double Investigation in the Rue Morgue

Thanks to the valuable preliminary investigation of our agent Uri Eisenzweig, it is now established that the solution proposed in the seminal work of the police genre is highly unlikely; all the more so as the objection he expressed on the occasion of the opening of our digital laboratory is only the last and most decisive one in a long list of critics who, for more than a century and a half, "combing through the narrative with a fine-tooth comb, examining all the articulations", have expressed "serious reservations about the intrinsic logic of the plot" (note p. 1364 [2]). It is our turn, therefore, to immerse ourselves in "a first-degree reading of the tale" (ibid.), and to attempt, not only, like our predecessors, to uncover all the inconsistencies, but, above all, to try to explain them, in order to discover the real murderer in the Rue Morgue.

Anyone who re-reads Poe's story with a little hindsight, without being mystified by the brilliant rhetoric of Knight Dupin - like this somewhat naive narrator, the ideal stooge for the hero's ingenuity, whose detective novel will offer numerous avatars, from Watson to Hastings - will see one thing: the conclusions that the detective draws from the elements at the disposal of the investigators are far from self-evident. They are even so far-fetched (especially indeed since the crime scene contains a number of wildly torn-out locks of hair) that one wonders why they seemed so convincing to the police of the time and to so many readers.

Let's start at the beginning, and look at the evidence in the case file - supposedly sufficient for anyone to guess the truth. Dupin is careful to keep his effects to himself and to keep his mouth shut until his final revelations, but it seems clear that his idea is made as soon as he reads the evening edition of the Gazette des Tribunaux - in which there is a carefully reproduced series of testimonials relating to the double murder. He goes to the scene of the crime only to verify his hypotheses - having discovered, beforehand, by the grace of his little grey cells, the key to the mystery. To do this, he relies essentially on two leads: the strangeness of one of the voices heard by the witnesses, and the excessive savagery of the violence used. On these two points, it turns out that it is possible to formulate hypothesis which are much more economical intellectually, without having to go looking for the crazy idea of an escaped and burning orangutan to test his newly acquired razor-wielding skills by observing his master.

  • As for the voice, today it only takes a click to hear the cry of the orangutan. I therefore urge you to go and judge for yourselves whether it seems plausible that it could be confused with human cries - be they Italian, Russian or German. You will see that this is questionable, to say the least, and that if none of the witnesses thought it was an animal call, it probably wasn't. I'm sure you'll find that the evidence is not there. So whose strange voice is it? A reading, even a quick one, showing that the witnesses largely contradict each other, there is no objective reason to privilege one testimony over another; our approach will therefore be guided by common sense, and, like the murderer, we will draw and wield with ardour the sharp tool in the toolbox of any good investigator, in order to eliminate all superfluous conjecture: our Ockham's razor.

Who are, a priori, the people who must be present at the time of a murder? The killer and the victim - in this case, both victims. So let us begin, under the aegis of Ockham's razor, by asking ourselves whether these presences may not be sufficient to explain the divergent testimonies. One of the voices was clearly and universally identified as a French voice, a man's voice, agitated, swearing. It cannot belong to the victims; it can therefore reasonably be assumed that it is that of the murderer - which, moreover, is consistent with the expertise of the two doctors who believe that such violence could only have been inflicted by a man.

The statements concerning the other voice disagree, but it can be inferred from the evidence as a whole that this voice is obviously altered. It is both high-pitched and hoarse, and expresses intense terror; several witnesses did not rule out the possibility that it was one or more female voices. Isn't it logical to think, quite simply, that it is indeed the cries, overwhelmed by fear and suffering, of one of the dying victims, now unable to utter an articulated word - and in particular those of the young girl, Camille, distorted by the unusual acoustics of the chimney duct where she was savagely wedged? Certainly, one of the witnesses is convinced that this is not the voice of one of the victims; but, apart from the fact that the whole text clearly shows how unreliable this testimony is, it proves only one thing: the witness never had the opportunity to hear their voices in such extreme conditions. Having thus the proof that he did not torture the two women at pleasure during his life, we will therefore not summon him as a suspect in our case; but, apart from that, there is not much to be gained from his words.

  • With respect to the excessive brutality of the murder, the detective's sharp rhetoric persuades us that, crossing the lines of ordinary violence, the murderer cannot be a common criminal. He dismissed the perfectly logical hypothesis of "some raving maniac" (p. 538) out of hand - on the pretext that the voice of a madman is still articulate. This is an odd reason, considering that the murderer's voice is that of the man swearing. Now, fiction - starting with the stories of Poe [3] - is full of sadistic killers: What need does Mr. Hyde have to trample on a little girl, or to beat poor Sir Denvers with his cane, "overwhelming him with a hail of blows such as one could hear the bones cracking and the body bouncing on the pavement" [4]? Similarly, in reality, why was Jack the Ripper so methodically and intricately lacerating the prostitutes of Whitechapel to the point that he performed what seemed like a surgical operation on their bodies? And I'm not even talking about the serial killers of the next century, who will be the delight of Hollywood (from Norman Bates to Hannibal Lecter, via James Ellroy's Dalhia Noir). The number of Natural Born Killers, reveling in fulfilling their office with much more than the strict minimum, with a debauchery of gratuitous violence, is staggering.

It is therefore reasonable to conclude that certain cruelty-prone natures need not be pushed too far to give free rein to the pure perverse pleasure of causing suffering - and to push the victim's suffering to its climax. As Dupin himself remarks, in connection with his next investigation, "where our reasoner reasons, without realizing it, against himself" (p. 624), the "absolute license of the countryside" (p. 636) - where man, freed from the social constraints of the city, "indulges in the furious excesses of a false gaiety, daughter of liberty and rum" (Ibid.), is enough to push some individuals to go as far as rape and murder; Marie Roget will pay the price of that. Moreover, in such circumstances, everyone agrees that the excitement of the killer, who has become an unbridled beast, increases his strength tenfold: Stevenson, for example, widely describes the "ape-like fury" and the unsuspected agility deployed by Hyde to satisfy his "unheard-of ferocity" [5]. There is no need, therefore, to postulate the presence of a true wild animal (let alone a wild animal capable of handling the folding razor and feeling remorse to the point of trying to hide the corpse in a chimney) to explain the violence perpetrated - which, according to the concurring statements of coroners, may well have been perpetrated by an "excessively robust" man (p. 528-529); or, one might add, a man whose destructive power was sharpened by sadistic fury.

To speak as Dupin does in The Mystery of Marie Roget (p. 620), "you understand that I am not suggesting anything here that seems more probable or that coincides with my own opinion. I merely wish to warn you against the general tone of [our brilliant detective's] suggestions, and to call your attention to the bias that is manifested in them in the first place. » 

More seriously, these false assumptions immediately lead Dupin to formally dismiss the question of motive. Here, however, the bias of reasoning is particularly blatant: Just because the murderer was shockingly violent doesn't mean the murders have no other motive than savagery. Dupin should, at the very least, consider the hypothesis of a motivated murder, which went awry - in other words, in which the murderer allowed himself to be carried away by his sadistic enjoyment. An isolated house in a bleak street, in the middle of the night, two defenceless women at his mercy... These may be, it seems to me, circumstances far more conducive to the outbursts of cruelty than the simple act of going to spend an afternoon in the country on a fool's errand.

The fact is, however, that everything points to the suspicion of a heinous crime. We know from the essential testimony of the victims' banker (p. 526) that Mrs. Lespanaye asked for a large sum (four thousand gold francs [6]) to be delivered to her home. The banker further states that, in the eight years that he had been managing her assets, this was the first time that Mrs Lespanaye had withdrawn money - until then she had been content to make small cash deposits. To dismiss this clue as a minor coincidence (Dupin asserts authoritatively that "coincidences ten times more remarkable than these occur in every hour of our lives",p. 537) is extremely astonishing, and is, on the part of the hero, a textual selection that is biased to say the least.

It is, on the other hand, much more logical to assume that if the victim had to withdraw so much money in one go when it was completely out of the ordinary, it was for a specific reason. One can think, in particular, of blackmail, which can be corroborated by the fact that a small iron chest was found under the bedding, opened with the key on the lock, ready to receive a new potentially compromising document recovered at a high price. The columns of current affairs and pulp novels are full of similar cases, and simple stories of blackmail gone wrong - either because the victim changes her or her mind and refuses to pay at the last moment, or because the blackmailer asks for more, in money or in kind.

In particular, are we really sure that this infamous safe only contained "old letters and unimportant papers" (p. 524)? It would not be the first time, in a Poe story, that seemingly "unimportant" pieces of paper have proved to be valuable when their secrets are revealed - see The Purloined Letter and The Gold-Bug, for example. The fact that the police and journalists are not perceptive enough to understand their importance is acceptable; but that Dupin does not even try to examine them closely seems to me, given the rigorous method he uses in his other investigations, totally incomprehensible.

But, some with argue that with Dupin, if it were a question of extorting money from the victims, why would the criminal have left without the bags of gold? At this stage of our investigation, there are two possible hypotheses: either the killer, having come to his senses after his murderous violence and seeing the extent of the carnage, became frightened and fled; or we are dealing with a criminal who is far more Machiavellian than we thought, capable, like all ingenious minds, of "perfectly identifying the reasoner with his adversary" (p. 827). Let me explain: what better way to divert the attention of the police from a robbery than by leaving a large sum of money in evidence? No one knows what was in the drawers of the house - and to assume a priori, as Dupin does, that there was nothing more valuable than four thousand gold francs in them is just as risky as asserting the opposite. I am, for my part, convinced that there was, on the contrary, in that house on the Rue Morgue, something else of far greater value than the two bags from the bank and the few trinkets cleverly scattered on the spot - mere decoys serving to divert suspicion and prevent what was really stolen there from being discovered. Personally, if I were given the opportunity to reopen the investigation, I would look for the former tenant - the jeweller who, for some obscure reason, was "damaging the premises" (p. 525). Is it really far-fetched to think that he was using hiding places, in the walls or on the floor, to hide some kind of concealment, of precious stones for example, and that a crook who had heard of the story tried to recover the whole thing? 

If you follow my reasoning, a question should come to you. Where does Dupin's singular insistence on rejecting any possibility of motive come from? "I wish to remove from your mind the preposterous idea of an interest" (p. 537), he says, going so far as to exaggerate the "prodigious power" of the murderer to support the idea of animal violence, claiming that he uprooted "perhaps five hundred thousand hairs in one blow" (p. 538) - whereas a human skull has, at most, only two hundred thousand hairs in total. Thus, it deprives the investigation of one of the royal avenues for uncovering the truth - finding out who benefits from the crime. The infamous cui bono, which another Poe narrator explains very clearly and pedantically (p. 796): 

 "It is an expression in use in judicial circles which applies precisely to cases like the one before us, where the identification of the perpetrator of an act depends largely on the possible profit that such and such an individual would derive from the accomplishment of the act."

Why would Dupin obstruct justice so badly? Unbelievable as it may seem, the truth is self-evident: because this interest is his, and he doesn't want people to find out that he's actually the one who set it all up. Made arrogant by his faith in his own ingenuity, he does not even hide from the narrator (who, it is true, does not shine by his intelligence) that he knows personally the one whom the police have charged, most certainly rightly, and whom he will try to clear - Adolphe Le Bon, the clerk who deposited the money on Rue Morgue, and whose statement confirms that he has no alibi [7]: "Le Bon did me a favor for which I don't want to be ungrateful," he admits. 

The fact is that Dupin has everything to gain by imposing his version of the case, however totally absurd. Even without supposing that he will share the fruits of the robbery on the Rue Morgue with Le Bon (honesty obliges us to admit that we have no proof on this point), Dupin achieves a double win here: he exonerates his friend (and certainly accomplice), and ensures in the process a reputation as an elite investigator, which he will monetize later on. The least that can be said is that, thanks to the fame he acquired with the Rue Morgue affair, Dupin secured a non-negligeable source of income, very useful given the state of poverty to which he was reduced (p. 519), and that he was able, by this means, to restore his lost fortune. Note, for example, that in his two other investigations, our detective is offered - and unscrupulously accepts - rewards far in excess of the miserable four thousand francs at the scene of the crime ("fifty thousand francs" for The Purloined Letter, p. 825; for Marie Roget, the narrator speaks of a "direct proposal, certainly a very generous one, whose precise value he is not allowed to reveal", p. 605).

For Dupin, obviously, does not lose his bearings when it comes to his interest - the interest he has taken great care to divert us from. This is entirely consistent with Poe's portrayal of the talented con artist in Diddling Considered as One of the Exact Sciences: " Your diddler is guided by self-interest. He scorns to diddle for the mere sake of the diddle. He has an object in view- his pocket—and yours.”(p. 702). This is a far cry from the image of the reclusive night owl, in love with logical abstraction and enigmas, withdrawn from the world and all social considerations, complacently portrayed by the narrator - who, if he were a little less naive, might wonder about the "fortuitous" coincidence (p. 520) that led him to become so infatuated with Dupin that he graciously accommodated him and maintained him, even though he barely knows him. But, on reflection, this portrait was already hardly consistent with the fact that Dupin knew all the Parisian notables (the prefect, thanks to whom he knew he would have easy access to the crime scene, Minister D., etc.) and was even decorated with the Legion of Honour, theoretically reserved for those who had rendered great service to the nation for more than twenty years (at least this is what his title of Chevalier suggests).

Dupin's great skill is to offer us a symbolically well-set scenario, plunging into the roots of our unconscious imagination and into the scientific prejudices of his time, as William Kels skillfully shows in a recent article in French, and which, despite its implausibility, is flattering to the public, who are perfectly content with it. A crime scene that transposes the buried horror felt by the child in front of the primitive scene of his own parents' animal copulation, would say Marie Bonaparte, for example.

One could, here, have fun, as Dupin does at the beginning of the story with the narrator, reconstructing "the main rings of the chain" (p. 522) of thoughts that led the hero to conceive of such an incredible solution; a solution that is not admittedly very credible from the point of view of the facts, but highly plausible from the point of view of the character's psychology, as envisaged by Poe: we know, in fact, that a swindler, according to his heart, "holds old routine tricks in abhorrence [and] would return a wallet if he realized that he had obtained it by a commonplace swindle" (p. 702). To imagine Dupin's creativity in action, one would have to imagine the frenetic trajectory of the character's gaze as he wanders through the shelves of his library, composing his story at the very moment his friend reads the newspaper to him, when he "seemed to take a singular interest in the case" (p. 529) – a trajectory that would be modelled on the movements, imperceptible at the first viewing of the film, of Keyser Soze in Brian Singer's Usual Suspects (1995).


Look at him. Learning from the Gazette des Tribunaux that Le Bon has lost his footing and left behind two horribly and absurdly mutilated corpses, he foresees the possibility of a scenario even more incredible than the somewhat dull alibi he had surely planned for his accomplice - and, as a good con man, he cannot resist the call of such a formidably aesthetic mystification. His little grey cells are running at full speed, while the narrator details the various testimonies to him, to refine a satisfying and wonderfully original story, a masterful swindle that can definitively divert suspicion. His masterpiece. Dupin's Deception. We can almost hear him gloat, almost admitting that his entire screenplay is a fiction of which he prides himself on being the creator, when he measures his power of manipulation with the narrator: "What impression have I made on your imagination?”(p. 538).


The two reclusive victims remind him, by association of ideas, of the Rue des Deux-Hermites, on Île de la Cité - which was wiped off the map in 1866 to build the Hôtel-Dieu. He therefore decided to base his transformation to make it unrecognizable on an old and horrific story of Parisian folklore - today, it would seem, an urban legend - recently revived in Victorian Gothic style, and promised a bright future in fiction, with the story of Sweeney Todd, the diabolical barber of Fleet Street [8]. This story of a bloodthirsty barber is in fact inspired by a current affair that is said to have taken place in 1387 in Paris, known as the "affair of the rue des marmousets" - recounted, among others, in the chronicles of Jacques du Breul, published during the Renaissance and still popular in the 19th century - where a barber, at the shop on the corner of rue des Marmousets and rue des Deux-Hermites, out of madness and greed, regularly slit the throats of his customers, and disposed of the bodies by having them transformed, by his pastry-cook neighbour, into small pâtés, which are said to be the delights of the nobles, and even of the King. All the elements of this sordid affair can be found, arranged in a different way, in the plot that Dupin is building.


Dupin is thinking of using the brutality of murder to divert suspicion towards a non-human agent - it is only natural that the name "marmouset" evokes the monkey, and especially the great apes, those "men of the woods" who, since the Middle Ages, have been regularly accused of cannibalism and anthropophagy [9]. His gaze then falls, at the same time as he remembers hearing, at random during his nightly peregrinations, about a passing sailor landing with an orangutan, on the natural history of Cuvier (which he presents to the narrator, p. 539), and perhaps on Walter Scott's last novel, Robert, Count of Paris (1831), which describes the morals of this animal that the hero must face, and in particular its ability to imitate human gestures - omitting the fact that this animal is generally described as particularly docile and obedient to its master. All he has to do is contact the monkey's owner and make an agreement with him to accept, in exchange for a large reward, to play the role he is known for - namely, that he claims to have lost his animal and to have chased it down the Rue Morgue. And, in this way, to stage the ultimate coup de théâtre that completes the swindle, and definitively corroborates his improbable version of the facts in the eyes of the world.


Poe says it explicitly - even if, as always, in an encrypted way - in his correspondence: the skill of the plot is to Dupin's credit, not his own:


"In Murders in the Rue Morgue, for example, how clever is it to unravel a plot that you (the author) have woven with the express intention of unravelling? The reader is led to confuse the ingenuity of Dupin's imagination with that of the author of the story." (Letters, II, p. 328, quoted p. 1367)


 If one understands that Dupin is the true author of the story, one is then in a position to reconsider the objective elements according to which Dupin manages to persuade everyone of the validity of his solution - and to explain the inconsistencies which have long been wrongly reproached to Poe (see presentation of the text, p. 1365). Critics have pointed out, in particular, how little credibility there was for so many nationalities to be present, at the time, in the middle of the night, in a Parisian street. This can easily be explained if one understands that some of the witnesses, those who spontaneously presented themselves to the police, were in fact sent upstream by Dupin to cover up the tracks and make all the other depositions completely unverifiable by contradicting them. The same goes for the fact that no one, apart from Dupin, noticed the tuft of monkey hair supposedly found in Ms Lespanaye's hand. Is it really credible that neither the police nor the two doctors who scrupulously examined the body found it? Yes, provided that this decisive piece of evidence was brought to the crime scene after the fact, by Dupin himself. You've got it right: there was never an orangutan in the Rue Morgue. In the same way, Dupin had a great deal of fun unveiling the rusted nail ploy, giving the impression that the window through which the murderer escaped was locked from the inside - since it was his accomplice, Le Bon, who had himself tampered with the latch.


To those who would object that it is contrary to all the rules of crime fiction to make the detective the criminal mastermind of the case, I would reply that the genre did not wait for The Infallible Silas Lord (1937) to consider that a detective could himself fake the crime scenes, to create false evidence - a most effective way of being the only one who can unravel the seemingly intractable threads of the riddle, which Intercripol agents could use as a source of inspiration to fill the coffers of our honourable organisation.


Vidocq, in particular, a former convict who became head of Parisian security, whose critics believe he may have inspired the character of Dupin in Poe - even though, in the novel, his hero criticizes him as "cunning, nothing more, continually going in the wrong direction" (p. 529) - admits in his Memoirs, published in 1828 with great success, that his exceptional efficiency in tracking down criminals led him to regularly face this type of accusation [10].


Poe, perhaps feeling remorse for having allowed his character to mislead everyone, or invaded by this type of irresistible self-denunciation impulse which he brilliantly described in the Demon of Perversity (where a murderer who has committed the perfect crime cannot help but confess, finally, his guilt), wrote, barely three years after Murders in the Rue Morgue, a short story entitled Thou art the man (1844) - "satire of the police genre and parody of Dupin's methods" (note p. 1416), in which a certain Charles Goodfellow claims to have found a stray bullet at the scene of the crime, in the throat of a dead horse, evidence of his enemy's guilt - which he obviously brought himself.


On this occasion, Poe insists on the bias of the speaker's good reputation, and especially the prejudices associated with onomastics - which can be seen in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest:


"Is it a miraculous coincidence or a secret influence of this name on the character? I don't know; but the fact remains that the fact is beyond dispute. No one has ever seen a person by the name of Charles who was not open, virile, honest, kind, spontaneous, gifted with a clear and modulated voice that is good to hear, and with a look that looks you straight in the eye as if to say: "I myself have a clear conscience; I fear no one and I am below all baseness". Thus, in the theatre, all the secondary roles that require poise, drive and carelessness are invariably given to characters named Charles" [11].


Would Poe alert us here to our propensity to postulate a little too quickly the innocence of a suspect named Le Bon, or the exceptional probity of an investigator named Charles Auguste Du-pin [12]? It is far from being impossible. Many critics have suggested, with regard to The Purloined Letter, that Dupin was confronting his alter-ego, and that Minister D., inspired, like the detective, by the historical figures of André Dupin (a leading politician of the July Monarchy, reputed to be highly devious and unscrupulous) and his brother Charles (a mathematician, a logician for the love of pure truth, above all suspicion because of the virtue of his first name), was only the dark side of himself. Dupin, both Sherlock Holmes and Mycroft, in The Purloined Letter, would thus be, like Silas Lord, "both Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty" [13], from Murders in the Rue Morgue... Thus, just like the character of Steeman a century later, "he did not even need twenty-four hours to play the Oedipus, since there was no other sphinx but him" [14].


Finally, it is worth noting in passing that in this whole affair, Baudelaire played (or pretended to play) for the French public the role of the complacent narrator, unable to see through the detective's duplicity: he reinforced the hero's aura of supernatural insight by subtitling his translations "Auguste Dupin's divinatory faculties", and therefore deprived the French-speaking reader of a series of clues [15], and did not translate Thou art the man at all - an essential piece of evidence allowing us to reread, in a more suspicious way, Dupin's deductive tricks as pure and simple mystification. Just as Dupin setting his sights on a rather simple companion (the narrator), so Poe, the high-flying crook, has found an inspiring double confidence, a companion with a name that blossoms with honesty (Charles) to cover up the dubious actions of his characters. And, as a good swindler, he had, like his hero, to finish his day by revelling in his skill - with a laugh whose French alter-ego pointed out, in a famous article, how diabolical it was [16] :


"The real crook finishes all his blows with a giggle. But he is the only one to see it. He sneers when he has finished his day; when the labors that were due to him are accomplished; at night in his study. These revelries alone are reserved for him. He goes home, puts the door latch on, undresses, blows out the candle, gets into bed and lays his head on the pillow. Only then does the crook giggle. It's so obvious. » (p. 703) 

Caroline J. Dupin.


To quote this article:

Caroline Julliot, "Double(t)s dans la rue Morgue", Intercripol - Revue de critique policière, "grands dossiers : double investigation dans la rue Morgue", N°001, December 2019. URL: murderer/doublets-in-the-morgue-street.html. Accessed March 22, 2020. 

Notes :

* Note 1: Made in jewellery since the Middle Ages, the "doublet" is a stone superimposed on another component of lesser value, set in such a way as to give the illusion that it is more precious - either by artificially increasing its volume, by adding a crystal prism under the breech, by gluing a natural stone on a cabochon of glass or another synthetic material (see diagram), or by simply imitating the appearance of a gem, by fixing a coloured body behind a piece of crystal or a synthetic compound. This is one of the possible figures of swindle and duplicity - which will be much discussed here. And if I don't use the word imposture, it's only to avoid quoting from the new book by our perpetual secretary Maxime Decout - and not to encourage you to go and read pages 44-47 of it, in particular, as a supplement.

[2] All references to Poe are taken from Claude Richard's edition for the Bouquins collection (Paris, Robert Laffont, 1989). Where the correspondence to the original text was found, original text was used in lieu of translation.

[3] See, for example, the inquisitors in The Pit and the Pendulum- who deploy an impressive inventiveness to torture the narrator with sophisticated machinery - even though the death sentence has already been passed and they do not seek to make him confess anything. 

[4] R. L. Stevenson, Le cas étrange du Dr Jekyll et de Mr Hyde, tr. T. Varlet, ed. J-P. Naugrette, p. 67.

[5] Ibid, pp. 59 and 66.

[6] By way of comparison, the average annual salary of a worker in the years 1820-1856 ranged between 10,000 and 15,000 francs (see A. Bayet, Deux siècles d'évolution des salaires en France, INSEE working paper, 1997, ) The sum withdrawn by Ms. Lespanaye would therefore have, at the time, fed a precarious household for four to five months.

[7] p. 528. In his statement, he confirms that he did not meet anyone on his way out.

[8] This is a tale published in London in the Terrific register as early as 1825, which gave rise to a novel, The String of pearls: A romance, written in 1846 by Malcolm Rymer and Thomas Peckett Prest. The following year, it was successfully adapted for the theatre, before becoming a musical by Stephen Sondheim in 1979, which was to become a Broadway hit, followed by a film by Tim Burton in 2007.

[9] On this question, see in particular J. le Goff, l'Imaginaire médiéval, Paris, Gallimard, 1985, and F. Tinland, L'Homme sauvage : homo ferus et homo sylvestris, Paris,L'Harmattan, 2003.

[10] Cf. Tenon edition, ch. XXIV :

"To get along with thieves like that, he must get along with them," said one.

 - By Jove," said the other. It is he who puts them into action; he uses the cat's paw... 

- He's a clever monkey," said a third.

Then a fourth, broaching the whole thing, cried out in a sententious tone: When he has no thieves, he does. »

That Dupin is sarcastic, even contemptuous, of his illustrious predecessor is only one of the many signs of the arrogant narcissicism of the detective, who wants to be the only one in the square to have a little bit of judgement - which Dupin himself will pay for when, in "A Study in Red", Sherlock Holmes, piqued to have been compared to him by Watson, describes his ways as "artificial and flashy".

[11] The author of this survey, responding to a first name which is one of the female equivalents of Charles, can only applaud such considerations.

[12] "Augustus" means, among other things, according to the TLF, "who has something sacred, solemn, imposing, worthy of veneration or respect". The proximity of the detective's surname to the verb "to deceive" might have put the reader's ear to the malady, but it must be thought that the reader heard it above all as a token of honesty - prejudging that a character bearing such a surname could only be, in accordance with the French adage in force at the time, "bon comme du (bon) pain". 

[13] The Infallible Silas Lord, op. cit. p. 563.

[14] Ibid. at 564.

[15] One witness, the tobacco merchant, contradicted his own testimony by saying, two lines apart, that he had been dealing with the victims for four years and then for six years. Baudelaire removed this inconsistency "in an overzealous manner", which was counterproductive for the investigation, since it partly conceals the unreliability of the witnesses (see note 24, p. 1368).

[16] C. Baudelaire, "De l'essence du rire", Salon of 1859.