Predecessors and Contemporaries
Edgar Allan Poe is widely credited with formulating the genre of the modern detective story during the 1840s. His "tales of ratiocination" featuring the detective Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin present his detective arriving at a solution through an organized method of detection. As Poe states in The Murders of the Rue Morgue, "The analytical power should not be confounded with simple ingenuity; for while the analyst is necessarily ingenious, the ingenious man is often remarkably incapable of analysis."
Emile Gaboriau established the detective story, or roman policier in France, and like Poe, was an influence on Dr. (later Sir) Arthur Conan Doyle. His detectives, le père Tabaret, and Inspector Lecoq , were introduced in L'Affair Lerouge. Although their methods utilize deduction, some devices of melodrama are also included in Gaboriau's tales.
In his novels of the 1860s, Wilkie Collins achieved remarkable success with sensational fiction, most notably The Woman in White and The Moonstone. The Woman in White presents a mystery which makes full use of details of Victorian society and psychology. The opening scene possibly recalls Collins' first meeting with his mistress Caroline Graves.
Although little read today, Fergus Hume was one of the best-selling authors of detective fiction during the nineteenth century, and was the first to sell over one half million copies of one novel. His first novel, The Mystery of a Hansom Cab, was initially turned down by the Australian publisher George Robertson, who felt that Australian authors would not sell well. The privately printed Australian first edition of 5000 copies is one of the most sought after mystery novels, with only two copies known to be in existence. This is the London edition, hundredth thousand.
Bloomington by Gaslight: