A good friend posted a collection of Edgar Allan Poe tales to me whilst I was in Sweden, after hearing me express my dismay at being ignorant of his work. Although the copy was slightly less grand than the one pictured above, it did include the The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841), The Purloined Letter (1844), The Fall of the House of Usher (1839), The Tell-Tale Heart (1843) etc.
I found them quite enthralling. And whilst I was expecting them to wield an influence over subsequent gothic tales, the bodies walled up in family mansions and murders involving rogue apes certainly made David Renwick (the creator of Jonathan Creek, one of my favourite TV shows) seem a little less inspired.
Having said that, there were fruits that hung higher, such the story on which Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954) was based:
This hideous murder accomplished, I set myself forthwith, and with entire deliberation, to the task of concealing the body. I knew that I could not remove it from the house, either by day or by night, without the risk of being observed by the neighbours. Many projects entered my mind. At one period I thought of cutting the corpse into minute fragments, and destroying them by fire. At another, I resolved to dig a grave for it in the floor of the cellar. Again, I deliberated about casting it in the well in the yard - about packing it in a box, as if merchandise, with the usual arrangements, and so getting a porter to take it from the house.
- The Black Cat (1843).