Are you smarter than a fictional Parisian detective from the early 1800s? If we're talking about Dupin, probably not. "The Purloined Letter" isn't so much a heart-pounding, nail-biting suspense story so much as it is an awfully wordy game of wits—and you're invited to play. Cleverness pits its power against sense, as the characters try to outthink, outsmart, and out-purloin each other. It's a never-ending puzzle that just gets more complicated the more you think about. Don't say we didn't warn you.
"The Purloined Letter" mocks those who put too much emphasis on being clever.
Dupin's methodology suggests that imagination is an important element of wit.