The Murders in the Rue Morgue
by Edgar Allan Poe
Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge
Poe's contribution to the world of detective literature in writing of "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" has been recognized with an annual prize given in his name by the Mystery Writers of America association. The prize itself is a bust of Poe's head. (Source)
Poe had the great misfortune to anger a guy who wrote a series of biographies and reviews that have forever after colored how we think of Poe. Rufus Wilmot Griswold is the origin of lots of accusations against Poe of alcoholism and drug use that are either exaggerated or downright untrue. (Source)
Still, even discounting Griswold, Poe lived a pretty interesting life, what with lying about his age and enlisting in the army at 18, and then marrying his 13-year-old cousin. We'd like to direct your attention to the comprehensive critical biography Edgar Allan Poe, by Arthur Hobson Quinn, rated by the Edgar Allan Poe Society as probably still the best overall biography of Poe yet written.
Poe's death has always been subject to a lot of confusion, with various people suggesting that he died of an enzyme disorder, alcoholism, or even rabies. At any rate, it's clear that he was in quite a state when he passed away in 1849, at 40 years of age. No one is certain where he was in the days immediately before his death. On October 3, 1849, a note was delivered to a certain Dr. Snodgrass informing him that someone named Edgar Poe had been found (in the gutter, popular tradition had it) and was asking for him. Poe's answers about his illness and whereabouts, upon being questioned, were "unsatisfactory," and he eventually died four days later of "brain congestion." (Source)