Arthur Conan Doyle, Arthur Reeve, Edgar Allan Poe, Anton Chekov, Wilkie Collins, Thomas Hanshew: Detective Stories
The honour of founding the modern detective story belongs to an American writer. Such tales as "The Purloined Letter" and "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" still stand unrivalled. We in America no more than the world of letters at large, did not readily realize what Poe had done when he created Auguste Dupin - the prototype of Sherlock Holmes, up to the present hour. On Poe's work is built the whole school of French detective story writers. Conan Doyle derived his inspiration from them in turn, and our American writers of to-day are helped from both French and English sources. It is rare enough to find the detective in fiction even to-day, however, who is not lacking in one supreme quality, - scientific imagination. Auguste Dupin had it. Dickens, had he lived a short time longer, might have turned his genius in this direction. The last thing he wrote was the "Mystery of Edwin Drood," the mystery of which is still unravelled. I have heard the opinion expressed by an eminent living writer that had Dickens' life been prolonged he would probably have become the greatest master of the detective story, except Poe.