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American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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  Published in
Graham’s Magazine, April 4, 1841
    "Murders in the Rue Morgue" continued from p. 18

for some eight or ten feet above the hearths, will not admit, throughout their extent, the body of a large cat. The impossibility of egress, by means already stated being thus absolute, we are reduced to the windows. Through those of the front room no one could have escaped without notice from the crowd in the street. The murderers must have passed, then, through those of the back room. Now, brought to this conclusion in so unequivocal a manner as we are, it is not our part, as reasoners, to reject it on account of apparent impossibilities. It is only left for us to prove that these ‘impossibilities’ are not such.

“There are two windows in the chamber. One of them is unobstructed by furniture, and is wholly visible. The lower portion of the other is hidden from view by the head of the unwieldy bedstead which is thrust close up against it. The former was found securely fastened from within. It resisted the utmost force of those who endeavored to raise it. A large gimlet-hole had been pierced in its frame

    to the left, and a very stout nail was found fitted therein nearly to the head. Upon examining the other window, a similar nail was seen similarly fitted in it; and a vigorous attempt to raise this sash failed also. The police were now entirely satisfied that egress had not been in these directions. And, therefore, it was thought a matter of supererogation to withdraw the nails and open the windows.

“My own examination was somewhat more particular, and was so for the reason I have just given—because here it was, I knew, that all apparent impossibilities must be proved to be not such in reality.

“I proceeded to think thus—a posteriori. The murderers did escape from one of these windows. This being so, they could not have re-fastened the sashes from the inside as they were found fastened,—(the consideration which put a stop, through its obviousness, to the scrutiny of the police in this quarter). Yet the sashes were fastened. They must, then, have the power of fastening themselves. There

Continued on p. 20

   
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