Special Sub-Topic: The Purloined Letter
|"The Purloined Letter" is one of the early classics of American literature and it is one of the United States' first mystery stories. In what year was this classic by Edgar Allan Poe first published?|
1844. 'The Purloined Letter' was first published in 'The Gift: A Christmas and New Year's Present' for 1844.
|The story opens with a quote from the Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Seneca the Younger). What does the opening "Nil sapientiae odiosius acumine nimio." roughly translate to?|
Nothing is more hateful to wisdom than excessive cleverness.. Unless you are fluent in Latin, this opening quote probably has little meaning the first time you read it. The quote likely refers to the authorities' seemingly "clever" search for the letter that ended up being unsuccessful.
|What was the name of the Prefect of the Parisian police who called upon C. Auguste Dupin to assist in finding the purloined letter?|
Monsieur G. The narrator does not seem to have a very high opinion of Monsieur G whom he believes "called everything odd that was beyond his comprehension".
|What was the name of the individual that purloined the letter?|
Minister D. The police Prefect told Dupin that it was known that Minister D stole the letter and replaced it with another letter.
|Why was the Parisian police Prefect able to search the thief's house while he was away?|
His servants were always drunk.. The Prefect mentioned to Dupin and the narrator that he had been searching the house for three months but had still not found the purloined letter.
|How did the Parisian police determine that the thief's chairs did not hold the purloined letter?|
They examined the chairs' jointings with a powerful microscope.. The Prefect told Dupin and the narrator that "a single grain of dust would have been as obvious as an apple".
|Which of the following did Dupin not ask about being searched after being informed about the chairs?|
Light fixtures. Dupin also asked how the curtains and the area between the boards and plates were searched. In addition to meticulously searching the house, the police searched the two adjoining houses.
|Which of the following was not part of the search of the theft's books?|
They examined the books at eye level with a blue light for fingerprints.. The officers were not content by merely shaking the books out but instead went to these excessive measures. They also opened every package and parcel in the house.
|What did Dupin recommend the Parisian police to do after being told of how the premises was searched?|
To search the premises again.. The Prefect thought this was a bad idea and he made the following comment: "I am not more sure that I breathe than I am that the letter is not at the hotel".
|The police Prefect returned to Dupin a month later and told him that the reward had been increased. Which of the following did Dupin not do after hearing this?|
He contacted the thief and told him they had found the letter.. The reward had been increased to fifty thousand francs. The Prefect was so overjoyed at finding the letter that he did not say a word to Dupin before leaving the room.
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