Written by: Vitina Molgaard
This collection of stories shares not only the original tale from Master of Deduction Poe but adds to it nine other narratives from authors of well-known fame offering their take on Poe’s legendary detective Mr. Dupin and his perilous adventures. Each tale offers some special treat in their presentations and while some of these stories may have you pausing; wondering why their creators have approached them in the manner that they do, be patient, you should find your curiosity aptly rewarded. The editors of this compilation did a very nice job of placing the stories in an order that enable each piece to properly complement the next, and that makes it a pleasant read.
Over the years there has been one man who predominately comes to mind when looking for Gothic writing, or early detective work in fiction. That man should be immediately recognized as Edgar Allan Poe and the detective in question would be none other than Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin. Dupin is an eccentric genius who relies on deductive reasoning and a theory called ‘rationcination’. We immediately meet our key player and learn of his deductive reasoning in ‘The Murders of The Rue Morgue.’ A tale of a seemingly unsolvable crime in which we discover two victims and no suspect trapped in a room sealed from within. Poe, using Dupin as the focal vehicle, provided us with a fascinating mystery that intrigues the reader while eventually resolving the tale.
Weston Ochse and Yvonne Navarro introduce us to ‘The Weight of A Dead Man,’ a surprising piece set in the late 1800’s in Arizona where we meet the grandson of Dupin, Nate Dupes, who’s been hired by the Pinkerton Detective Agency to retrieve a stolen tapestry. This is an interesting, albeit different take, as Nate hones his deductive skills, while dealing with a young Mexican bandit; a powerful local politician; and supernatural powers. These authors achieved great success in taking this to tale in a Gothic direction.
Jonathan Maberry – while giving us time spent with Dupin in ‘The Vanishing Assassin’ – also shares a lesson about morality and a question well suited to this tale: Who is the criminal here? Who has truly committed the more offensive crime, the victim or the perpetrator? Maberry works the magic he’s come to be known for, this is a magnetic tale that commands attention and respect.
Joe R. Lansdale is true to his own style of writing in ‘The Gruesome Affair of The Electric Blue Lightning’ which he credits as having come from the files of C. Auguste Dupin. Leave it to this author to take his tale into fantastical places. Alternate universes are shared here and they aren’t warm, welcoming or people friendly. But that does not stop Dupin from tackling the case on the grounds in which it must be tackled. As is the norm, Lansdale introduces some wild and crazy characters. All the reader can do is sit back and enjoy them.
Clive Barker brings climax to this collection with his quasi sequel, ‘New Murders in the Rue Morgue’, which feels quite befitting of both Barker and Poe. This short provides quite the journey into Mr. Barker’s mind, a realm always guaranteed to have unorthodox winding roads and unexpected twists. Be prepared, it’s amazing, and it’s most definitely Barker in strong form. For the most part Clive manufactures real synergy with Poe’s original story, but he adds just enough of his own eccentricity, and bizarre twists to make this reboot as much his as Poe’s.
This leaves you with five more stories to explore, but since I don’t want to turn this into a review that is competing in size with the novel itself I’m going to call halt to this review. All you really need to know is that these are all well-crafted stories deserving of your time.
This is a must have, get it here!