To give you some insight into the anthology, we interviewed one of the editors, Paul Kane, to ask why they have returned to Poe's detective in 2013.
PK: I’ve been a big fan of Poe’s work since I was in my teens, and in particular the Dupin stories because I love both horror and crime. Appropriately enough – as we included this in the anthology – Clive Barker’s ‘New Murders in the Rue Morgue’ led me to Dupin, as I wanted to read the original before diving into that one. It always amazed me that Dupin hadn’t reached the kind of superstar detective heights of Holmes or Poirot, in spite of the fact that he came first – and actually set the template for the detective story. I did a bit of research and tracked down the Dupin stories Michael Harrison wrote for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine back in the 1960s, but was surprised there hadn’t been any more tales since then. So, as with Hellbound Hearts, it was just a matter of creating something because it didn’t exist and we wanted to see it. I’d been trying to get it off the ground for a little while when my co-editor Charles Prepolec, came on board – I’d got to know him when I wrote ‘The Greatest Mystery’ for his Holmes anthology Gaslight Arcanum, then met him at WFC 2009 and we got on like a house on fire; to my mind he was the perfect partner to have for this one. Thankfully, we managed to gather together some of the best contemporary writing talents who luckily happened to be fans of Dupin, plus Titan saw the potential in the project and backed us all the way. Hopefully we’ve fulfilled a need that was clearly there, judging from the response from readers and reviewers anyway. And that’s a really nice feeling for any editors.
DM: What do the contemporary horror authors in Beyond Rue Morgue bring to Poe's iconic detective from 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue', Le Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin?
PK: Each brought something different to the table, and they had pretty much free rein to run with their ideas – as long as they weren’t too similar to each other - which gave the whole book a great energy. As I say, they’re all fans of the original stories, so were able to remain true to the spirit of those while putting their own individual stamp on things. What we ended up with was a great variety and richness of tales, which explored everything from the criminal underworld to supernatural occurrences. Some are set in Dupin’s time and used the original characters, while others explored what might have happened to his descendents. This was something that originally drew me to Clive’s story, so it was kind of like we were coming full circle.
DM: In light of James McTeigue's film The Raven (2012) and Kevin Williamson's television show The Following (2013-), why do you think there has been a recent surge of interest in the intersection of crime and Gothic horror in Poe's work?
PK: I think the 200th anniversary of Poe’s birthday in 2009 had a lot to do with it – which was a big thing at the aforementioned WFC in San José, that Charles and I attended. There were a whole bunch of anthologies and novels released around that time which sparked things off, including Ellen Datlow’s POE from Solaris and Horror Bound’s Return of the Raven – which included my sequel to ‘The Masque of the Red Death’: ‘Masques’ (recently included as an extra with the e-version of my short novel Sleeper(s)). But I don’t really think he’s ever gone away – the stories have always been popular, and films based on them crop up in every generation. I remember seeing the Roger Corman adaptations when I was very young, then later watched and loved the Stuart Gordon ones – including ‘The Black Cat’ episode of Masters of Horror in 2007 – and now we’re getting more Corman-produced Poe movies, including remakes of House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum and The Masque of the Red Death… Good stories and good writers will always come back and always inspire again and again. Personally, I was delighted to see the Poe influence in The Following, and to see filmmakers do something different with the man himself in The Raven – which I thoroughly enjoyed. Long may it continue, and it’s great that we’re helping to contribute to that with Beyond Rue Morgue.