Synopsis:Dupin and the anonymous narrator look into a blue-fire lightning bolt. Dupin is an Archie Goodwin who does Dupin's footwork into the investigation. He misses things that Dupin does not from simply reading a newspaper article about the same event, such as the lightning starts from the ground and goes up.
Little by little, the story gets stranger. An ape and a decaying man procure body parts and spill some on the streets. The ape was formerly a man who has been in dabbling in powers he ought not to...
Discussion With an Oblique Spoiler:Of the Auguste Dupin stories in this anthology, this one captures more of Poe's original voice, flavored with a dash of Arthur Conan Doyle and a splash of Nero Wolfe. The characters (Dupin and the anonymous narrator) have a bit more personality Poe's originals. It also plays in ideas from the original stories. It folds in basic Lovecraftian tropes to add a little cosmic horror.
It begins with a well-controlled Dupin tribute, and interesting ratiocination, and ends up in Lovecraftian territory. The ape from the original is a stroke of imaginative genius--a nod to Poe's "Murder in the Rue Morgue" with a new twist. One might hope for a resolution derived a bit more from Dupin's reasoning brain than Lovecraft's overpowering cosmic horror. The two universes would seem to come to conflict: Dupin's "There's a method behind this madness." vs. Lovecraft's "We're doomed! Everyone, run for your lives!"
Strangely, the story ends on a note that feels more Lovecraftian in tone:
"...a bright badge of normalcy, that from here on out I knew was a lie."