Episode 1. Which questions are answered?
Let me tell you about Auguste Dupin, a man with not only great powers of analysis but also a great imagination. We met by chance one day in a small library in Paris. In fact, we were both looking for the same book and we began a most pleasant conversation. To cut a long story short, we became great friends and decided to share anapartament to save money. Soon after we had moved into our apartment, Dupin read out a story from the morning newspaper. It concerned some horrible murders in the Rue Morgue. According to the newspaper, this is what had happened.
One night, about three o’clock in the morning, some neighbours of Madame L’Espanaye and her daughter, Camille, were woken by screams from their apartment on the fourth floor.They immediately called the police. When the police arrived, they had to break into the locked apartment and found the room in a complete mess. It was an obvious crime scene with many pieces of evidence. There was a razor with blood on it, some reddish – brown human hair and several bags of money , but at first the police couldn’t find any victims. Then one of the policemen noticed some marks onthe floor leading to the chimney, where they found the body of Madamoiselle Camille. It seems the murderer must have killed the girl and then pushed her body up the chimney. But where was her mother? The police and neighbours searched the area near the apartment and found Madame L’Espanaye’s body un the yard at the back of the building. Her throat had been cut.
The next day, the newspaper gave moredetails about the crime. All the witnesses agreed that they had heard two voices. One was a deep Frenchman’s voices. The other was a higher voice; some witnesses thought it was foreign, others that it may have been a woman’s voice. It also announced that the police had arrested a man, Adolphe Le Bon, in connection with the murders. When I read this last point to Dupin, he became concerned. Heknew Le Bon, a bank clerk, who had once done a favour for him, and did not believe he was capable of these violent murders.
Dupin immediately went to the police and got permission to investigate the crime scene. Afterwards he told me his conclusions. He thought the police were trying to find a motive, but maybe there wasn´t one. He also thought the police had not interpreted the statements of thewitnesses carefully. For example, nobody could be certain the high voice was a man’s or woman’s, the language it spoke or indeed if it spoke any words – maybe it just made sounds. Also, the police said no suspect could have climbed the wall of the building and entered the apartment through a window. However, when Dupin investigated the scene, he concluded that a very athletic person could climb theelectric cables on the outside wall and jump onto the window ledge. This final point, linked with the horrible violence of the murders, led Dupin to the conclusion that this crime bust have been committed by someone, or something, with superhuman strength and inhuman violence.
‘Are you saying the murderer is not human?’ I asked.
‘ Let me just say that I don’t believe the hair the police removedfrom Madame L’Espanaye’s fingernails is human hair,’ replied Dupin. ‘And one more thing.’ At this point he look out a pencil and drew a picture the same size and shape of the hand that killed the two women. ‘What are you suggesting, Dupin? I asked.
‘All I am saying is that all the evidence points to one conclusion. The murderer was a animal- an orang-utan.’
The next day,Dupin put and advert in the newspaper. He offered a reward for the safe capture of an escaped orang-utan.
‘I believe we will soon meter the owner of this animal,’ he said. ‘ He’s probably a sailor.´
‘Why do you say that?’ I asked.
‘When I examined the yard at the back of the building, I found some cloth tied with a salior’s knot.
That’s something else the police didn’t notice.’