William Palmer

Murder Most Foul

Edgar Allan Poe and the Murder of Mary Rogers


Oneworld Publications 328pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

In 1842, Edgar Allan Poe sold a long story to the Ladies’ Companion, a New York magazine. It was not the journal’s usual fare; it advertised itself as being for women of ‘exquisite refinement and taste’, and Poe’s tale was of the brutal rape and murder of a young woman. However, the editor could not resist; Poe had sold him the story on the premise that ‘The Mystery of Marie Rogêt’ was based firmly on the real and sensational case of the unsolved murder of Mary Rogers in New York the previous year. Although Poe’s story was transferred to Paris, the chief characters involved in the real case were only lightly disguised, and Poe promised a dramatic solution to the case.

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