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The Purloined Letter

The Purloined Letter


by Edgar Allan Poe

C. Auguste Dupin Timeline and Summary

  • Dupin listens to G—'s story, and suggests that G— is being a big dummy and missing something obvious.
  • When G— returns a month later, Dupin just happens to have the letter. He hands it over and gets a check for fifty thousand franks in exchange.
  • After G— leaves, Dupin tells the narrator that he tries to get inside people's heads in order to figure out how they might behave in a given situation.
  • He describes using this technique to help himself see that D— was hiding the letter in an obvious place.
  • When he figured it out, he strolled over to D—'s, located the letter, and then contrived to return the next day and exchange it for a copy he'd created.
  • Turns out, he and D— are rivals, and that he didn't steal the letter back just for money or because he liked the queen.
  • Nope, he also wanted to get revenge on D— for some unspecified past "evil" (122).
  • To make sure D— understands that it was Dupin who took the letter, he leaves D— a message inside the fake letter.