Even the Slightest, Most Trivial Thing: The Reading of Mystery and the Mystery of Reading

Where do these tracks lead?

The trail comes out from under the trees, onto open savannas, where first we stood and began to follow animal traces with our eyes, reading signs and reconstructing stories of our prey. The path winds around a method of examination and interpretation of detail, which we might, in retrospect, call the art of detecting, modeled in a folk tale first known in the west as “The Three Princes of Serendip.” Next the trail moves upward through the scientific methodology and logic of Voltaire’s Zadig and reaches a summit in the technique of ratiocination in Edgar Allan Poe’s definitive mysteries. Eventually, the tracks continue across the screen and lead all the way to–

Well, I wouldn’t want to give it away.

By inviting the reader to participate in the resolution of the mystery, Poe established the genre. Taking advantage of the formal aspects of this type of tale, a tale of detection, which goads the reader into examining and interpreting detail, Poe was in effect encouraging close reading and even literary interpretation. For the art of detecting and the art of reading are so closely intertwined that we may call them the same act.

Hunters: The First Readers to Tell a Story

The technique of examining and interpreting signs, which may be called “reading,” can be traced back to hunting. Many animals track by smell, which communicates directly to the instincts. Does it smell bad? Stay away! Does it smell good? Follow it and eat it! When a wolf comes across the scent, it doesn’t need to wonder which direction to go, it doesn’t need to interpret the smell. If the wolf turns left and the yummy deer smell fades, it turns to the right where the smell is fresher.

Modern humans hunt with their eyes, yet have not lost the ability to track with their noses; a recent study at Berkeley showed that humans could follow a scent, if they put their noses to the ground. The experiment tested whether humans, wearing blindfolds, heavy oven mitts and knee pads, could follow a 30-foot chocolate-scented string which “traced a dogleg course through the grass” (Ritter). In fact, two-thirds of participants were able to follow the trail and all, with practice, improved, suggesting we can train our sense of smell. While tracking by scent as a hunting tool has never been abandoned by modern humans, we have moved farther and farther away from direct olfactory clues. If not perhaps we would still tell our stories with our urine, the way dogs do. The gradual shift from nose to eyes probably began when our distant ancestors started walking upright across the grasslands, removing their noses from the ground and all the concentrated smells there.

Of course sight also communicates directly with the instincts. See a grizzly bear? Run! (A very bad instinct, by the way. If a bear sees you running away, it will trigger the bear’s chase instinct. Just as a cat cannot resist a jiggling string, a bear cannot resist a fleeing animal, especially a juicy one like you. Better stand your ground, wave your arms and say, “Hey, bear! Hey, bear! I’m a human!” Your words will distinguish you. Note: this does not always work. If language fails, play dead.)

When visual information is not direct, however, when the animal hunting us or being hunted is nowhere in sight, Homo sapiens must interpret visual signs. Unlike hunting by scent, this is a two-step process. Humans look at the shape and determine which side of the print is front and which is back, reading the direction the animal has gone, as if the hoofprint were an arrow. A gesture like pointing is also read as a sign. Try pointing out something to your cat. It will look at your finger that you are jabbing in the air and not “read” the meaning that you want it to look in the direction which you are pointing. Reading the direction the tracks lead and reading a gesture are both instances of symbolic interpretation.

A skillful hunter also knows what kind of animal made the tracks and how big the animal is. In the article “Clues: Morelli, Freud, and Sherlock Holmes,” Carlo Ginzburg says that “hunters learned to reconstruct the appearance and movements of an unseen quarry through its track-prints in soft ground, snapped twigs, droppings, snagged hairs or feathers, smells, puddles, threads of saliva. They learned to sniff, to observe, to give meaning and context to the slightest trace” (Ginzburg 88). Although Ginzburg mentions smells and sniffing, the primordial hunters he describes rely primarily on visual clues: snapped twigs, threads of saliva, and most tellingly track-prints. The word “track-prints” suggests the animal has printed, or written, the story of its passage on the land, which the hunter then carefully reads.

The hunter’s were able to “leap from apparently insignificant facts, which could be observed, to a complex reality which–directly at least–could not. And these facts would be ordered by the observer in such a way as to provide a narrative sequence at its simplest, ‘someone passed this way'” (Ginzburg 89). In other words, in the process of reading the evidence, the “apparently insignificant facts,” the hunters were able to reconstruct the existence of an animal they had not seen and a simple narrative about its passage through the landscape. This suggests that hunters were the first story-tellers, the first writerly readers, the first readers to construct a story as they read it.

The shift from nose to eyes helped humans develop a faculty for symbolic thought, the interpretation and eventually the production of signs. If a story could be read from signs, then signs could tell a story: grunts, gestures, even words. The same connection is suggested in one Chinese tradition of the origins of writing. In his preface to the Shuowen jiezi, an early 2nd century Chinese dictionary, Xu Shen described the invention of the Chinese script: ‘The Yellow Emperor’s Court Recorder, Cang Jie, looked down and saw the marks left by the tracks of bird and animals. He realized that by distinguishing their patterns he was able to differentiate one thing from another. Thus he created the script” (Wood). Althoughthe birds had flown and the animals had fled, Cang Jie was able to tell what wildlife had visited the riverside since the last flood. Others skilled in hunting could have read the same information from the tracks. His flash of genius, however, was the realization that the marks in the mud, or ones like them, could be reproduced to represent the bird or animal. As court recorder, he would have been very interesting in keeping track of the game on the emperor’s lands, a sign of the lord’s wealth, but until script was developed how did he keep the tallies straight?

Serendipitous Detectives: The Three Princes of Serendip

Whether hunting is really the ultimate source of reading, story-telling, writing, and, by extension, all literature (even this essay), is supposition, of course, yet hunting techniques unarguably lie at the root of detective fiction, as demonstrated in a folk tale, “The Three Princes of Serendip.” The folk tale, known in various forms throughout the Middle East, even in the Talmud, came into England via Persia and Venice as “The Three Princes of Serendip.” Serendip is the Persian name for Sri Lanka and the source of our word “serendipity,” a word which we will read closely later (but keep it in mind until then).

In the most famous episode, the three princes read tracks and other signs like hunters. They meet a camel driver who asks if they have seen a lost camel. The brothers ask the camel driver if the camel is “lame, blind in one eye, missing a tooth, carrying a pregnant woman, and bearing honey on one side and butter on the other” (Boyle). Yes, the delighted camel driver says, and asks them where the camel has gone. (He is apparently less concerned about the pregnant woman). When they tell him they have not seen it, he accuses them of stealing the camel and drags them to the emperor, demanding punishment, but the brothers are able to gain a stay of execution by explaining how they figured it all out from various clues, a trope we are all now very familiar with in detective fiction. I will not give all the princes’ explanations here, in spite of a temptation to do so (since most readers and writers love a good tale of detection).

I will, however, offer a few bits which will serve me in my hunt for meaning. The brothers explained that the tracks, clearly those of a camel, showed the prints of only three feet, the fourth a vague, wavering line, indicating that the animal was lame. Being able to recognize the tracks of a camel is not surprising, so, if the description is accurate (and I have embellished it a bit to make my point), who would doubt that a lame camel had passed by? Ginzburg says of the story, “The three brothers, even if they are not described as hunters, are clearly carriers of the hunters’ kind of knowledge” (Ginzburg). It is with this hunter’s knowledge they determine the animal is blind. “As the grass had been eaten on one side of the road where it was less verdant, the princes deduced that the camel was blind to the other side” (Boyle). Hunters commonly examine signs of foraging, so such signs are admissible evidence. (Admissible evidence. See how academic writing sounds like detective work?) The deduction seems reasonable enough if you think it out. Naturally the camel would have gone to the denser, more delicious vegetation if it had seen it, and since it saw the sparse, drier grass well enough to find it and eat it, the camel must have been blind in one eye.

If the simplest narrative sequence is, “someone passed this way,” then the tale of the three princes is not so simple, because the story is, in effect, “Someone said that someone passed this way and this is how they figured it out.” For the tale of Serendip is not really about the camel (or the woman), but about the reasoning powers of the three princes of Serendip. The princes assume that the camel was the only animal grazing along that stretch of the road, outside of a busy city. And they assume that the camel kept his head pointed straight down the road until time to eat, never swinging his head from side to side or looking around. And they assume that the camel was free to graze whereever it chose, not tied to a branch. However, if you question the prince’s reasoning, as I have done, it only proves the point. The art of detecting has become so automoatic that the careful reader even uses it against the earliest sources of detective fiction in western literature.

As for the woman, and this is the best part, one of the princes said, “I guessed that the camel must have carried a woman . . . because I had noticed that near the tracks where the animal had knelt down the imprint of a foot was visible. Because some urine was near by, I wet my fingers and as a reaction to its odour I felt a sort of carnal concupiscence, which convinced me that the imprint was of a woman’s foot” (Boyle). In other words, the prince knew that the footprint was human, but he could not tell if it was a man’s or a woman’s foot. Since the pool of urine next to the footprint was (almost certainly) human, he stuck his fingers in the urine and smelled it, as a primordial hunter might have done. Since the smell of the urine gave him a sexual thrill, “a sort of carnal concupiscence,” he decided it must have been the urine of a woman. Could he have sensed phenoms that stimulated him or was he just getting carried away by his imagination? In any case this is not an example of the amazing reasoning powers of the prince; he is reacting viscerally, instinctively to the urine.

Let’s go back to the word serendipity, for it will help us understand the techniques the brothers employed. Serendipity is a word Horace Walpole coined after reading “The Three Princes of Serendip,” which he called “a silly fairy tale” (a surprisingly dismissive statement from the author of the absurd, but delightful Gothic tale The Castle of Otranto). He explains the word by describing the adventures of the princes: “they were always making discoveries, by accident and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of” (Wikipedia). An appropriate word then, for the brothers made many astonishing “discoveries by accident” of “things they were not in quest of.” For a careful reader might ask what the brothers were in quest of and why they were in the bushes sniffing urine. Keep in mind, they did this before they had ever met the merchant or heard about a missing camel. After all, they were not solving a crime; the art of detecting had not yet been adapted to that purpose. (Was a crime committed? Did the pregnant woman steal the camel?) Often when people use the word “serendipity,” they mean a discovery by accident, a happy coincidence, as in, “Oh look, brothers dear, I found a pregnant woman’s urine! What a feeling of carnal concupiscence it invokes!”

Yet users of the word are often unaware that Walpole intended “serendipity” to refer to sagacity as well. What is sagacity? Let’s examine the word like hunters, for the letters are tracks that tell a story or two. Let’s see, the root is “sage,” so sagacity means acting like a sage, wisely and judiciously. Whether crawling around in the bushes is wise, I will let the reader decide. The first definition of sagacity in the Oxford English Dictionary, now obsolete, has nothing, however, to do with wisdom or judgment, but “acute sense of smell,” which certainly fits our urine sniffing princes. The second definition in the OED is what we expect to read, “Acuteness of mental discernment; aptitude for investigation or discovery; keenness and soundness of judgement.” The brothers exhibit an amazing aptitude for investigation and discovery, however unmotivated, and certainly keenness and soundness of judgment.

Unfortunately, this sagacity which allowed the princes to make such astounding interpretations could not help them find the camel, even though the camel, lame and carrying a pregnant woman, must have been very slow. (Had the camel always been lame and blind in one eye?) They could tell where it had been, but not where it was going. They had lost the hunters ability to track and could only give the story-tellers version of what had happened. Nevertheless, the camel was eventually found wandering in the dessert. (I’m not sure what happened to the pregnant woman. Maybe you could take a look at the story.) So, the emperor spared the princes, enriched them, and appointed them to be his advisers.

The brothers exhibited amazing powers of reasoning, but not necessarily that of logic. The OED says that the word “reason” has often been associated with “the classical Latin ratio [which] originally denoted ‘account.'” The brothers are able to reason, in the sense of counting the hoof prints, and are able to reason, in the more common sense of the word of generating conclusions from facts and assumptions. They leaped to their conclusions, however, without having to state the various steps of their thought processes: “As the grass had been eaten on one side of the road where it was less verdant, the princes deduced that the camel was blind to the other side” (Boyle). They saw the drier grass eaten and declared, “Blind camel!” Logic, however, must proceed step by step through language, as suggested by the ancient Greek logos, a word which refers to reasoning, but which also means language. Logic would have to reproduce the steps of the reasoning process, as I have tried to do above when analyzing the story (for the academic approach is closer to Zadig’s method than that of the princes).

A Logical Detective: Voltaire’s Zadig

Voltaire adapted the tale of Serendip in his novel Zadig, but he raises the sagacity of the princes to the level of logic. The difference is that the art of detecting has become scientific, not dependent on chance discoveries or instinctual reactions to scent. We read that Zadig “pry’d into the Nature and Properties of Animals and Plants, and soon, by his strict and repeated Enquiries, was capable of discerning a Thousand Variations in visible Objects, that others, less curious, imagin’d were all alike” (Voltaire). This prying into the “properties of animals and plants” and “strict and repeated Enquiries” suggest Zadig is a scientist. Otherwise, the tale sounds very similar to that of the three princes.

One day as Zadig was out for a walk, one of the queen’s eunuchs, deeply distraught, asks him if he has seen her majesty’s dog. “Zadig very cooly replied, you mean her Bitch, I presume.” Zadig then goes on to say that the dog is small and “has had Puppies too lately; she’s a little lame with her left Fore-foot, and has long Ears.” The delighted eunuch then asks where the dog is, but Zadig says he has not seen the bitch nor ever heard of her before that day. A parallel event takes place when the king’s palfrey escapes the same day.

The head huntsmen, as distraught as the eunuch, asks Zadig if he has seen the horse. “No Horse, said Zadig, ever gallop’d smoother; he is about five Foot high, his Hoofs are very small; his Tail is about three Foot six Inches long; the studs of his Bit are of pure Gold, about 23 Carats; and his Shoes are of Silver, about Eleven penny Weight a-piece” (Voltaire). When asked where the palfrey has gone, Zadig states that he has never seen the animal nor ever heard of him. Of course, Zadig is dragged before the king who sentences him to imprisonment in Siberia. The horse and the bitch were found, however, so instead Zadig was fined for lying when he said he had not seen the animals, but since he was able to explain how he had arrived at his conclusions, logically and scientifically, the fine was reimbursed and he was hired as an adviser to the king.

Again, I will resist the temptation to lay out all of the explanations, since they may be found elsewhere. Suffice it to say that all of them are based on visual evidence and logic. A couple of pieces will serve: “The several small, tho’ long Ridges of Land between the Footsteps of the Creature, gave me just Grounds to imagine it was a Bitch whose Teats hung down; and for that Reason, I concluded she had but lately pupp’d” (Voltaire). The exactness of the description, “several small, tho’ long Ridges of Land” makes the reasoning convincing. If the description is accurate, we cannot doubt the logic.

Another important difference with the tale of Serendip is that everything is carefully measured, as with the signs of the missing horse, “The Dust of some Trees in a narrow Lane, which was but seven Foot broad, was here and there swept off, both on the Right and on the Left, about three Feet and six Inches from the Middle of the Road. For which Reason I pronounc’d the Tail of the Palfrey to be three Foot and a half long, with which he had whisk’d off the Dust on both Sides as he ran along.” Like in the tale of Serendip, this reasoning assumes that no other animals had passed that way, disturbing the dust, but the inclusion of exact measurements makes it quite convincing.

What’s even more convincing is that Zadig actually experiments! “As to the Bits of his Bridle, I knew they must be of Gold, and of the Value I mention’d; for he had rubb’d the Studs upon a certain Stone, which I knew to be a Touch-stone, by an Experiment that I had made of it” (Zadig). Scientific experiments are very persuasive; we are primed to accept such evidence as proof. No matter that Zadig was performing experiments on the rocks before he even knew that a horse was missing, at least he was not behaving as is suspiciously as the princes in the bushes. Besides this flaw, there are no other loose ends in the story that I could detect.

The rise of the scientific method gives legitimacy to the sagacity of the serendipitous princes, for the sagacity of the three brothers is translated into the logic of Voltaire. For it was the Age of Reason and the scientific method was on the rise. Reading tracks became a science. Ginzburg writes, “Today, someone who sees the print of a cloven hoof can conclude that the animal which left the print was a ruminant, and this conclusion is as certain as any that can be made in physics or moral philosophy. This single track therefore tells the observer about the kind of teeth, the kind of jaws, the haunches, the shoulder, and the pelvis of the animal which has passed” (Ginzburg). The right scientist could confirm the princes’ identification of the camel and Zadig’s identification of the dog and horse.

Darwin himself described his discoveries as “Zadig’s method.” Zadig’s method, analysis and logic, or the scientific method, is a “procedure common to history, archeology, geology, physical anatomy, and paleontology: that is, the making of retrospective predictions” (Ginzburg). The term “retrospective predictions” is interesting, it suggests guessing about what has happened, rather than forecasting what may happen. We are beginning to see that the trail we have been following leads in many directions.

Both stories may model the advantages of attention to detail and the powers of reasoning, however, neither story invites the reader to participate in the process of examining clues and interpreting signs. Readers of the tale of Serendip may envy the three princes their sagacity, their reasoning and their intuition, they may envy Zadig his knowledge, his scientific methodology, and his logic, and the envy may even inspire them to try to become more like the characters, to develop their own powers of observation and logic, but in neither story are readers themselves asked to examine and interpret the clues. All clues are given in retrospect along with the explanation, after the denouement. We are amazed by the perception and intelligence of the characters, but we passively watch them unroll their reasoning for us without being called on to participate. It is only admiration and jealousy, and habits of close reading and practice in logic, which cause the reader to look for flaws in the reasoning, but the reader is not directly invited to do so.

Ratiocination: Edgar Allan Poe’s Auguste Dupin Stories

Not so, however, with Edgar Allan Poe’s definitive mysteries. In his Auguste Dupin stories, Poe makes the technique of close examination and reading of signs modeled by the three princes and Zadig the focus of the stories, more important than plot or action, more important than the characters themselves. More significantly, he recognizes the potential of such stories to involve the reader, to encourage the reader to participate in the process of ratiocination, as he calls it.

At the beginning of “The Murders of the Rue Morgue,” he explains ratiocination at length, making it seem straightforward and even simple, seemingly inviting the reader to try it out themselves. This treatise suggests to the reader that, with careful attention to detail and sound reasoning, the reader will be able to perform the same feats of ratiocination as Auguste Dupin.

Significantly, Poe presents (most of) the facts to the reader before the denouement, thereby encouraging the reader, now equipped with a detailed explanation of how ratiocination works, to analyze and interpret the clues. However, the reader, as we have noted, has no direct evidence before them, only text. The prototypical detective, Auguste Dupin relies almost exclusively on the written word. Such texts are paraded before the reader at great length, so the reader is encouraged to read over our unnamed narrator’s shoulder and try as he does to anticipate Dupin. In “The Murders of the Rue Morgue,” we are presented with the basic facts of the case through a series of newspaper articles, the second of which includes a long list of depositions.

Even a careless reader would begin to notice that each person describes the second, shrill voice as belonging to a foreigner, but each person suggests a different language, a language they do not speak themselves. Isidore Muset, whose is French, says he believed the language to be Spanish, but Alfonzo Garcio, who is a native of Spain, thinks the shrill voice was that of an Englishman. William Bird, who is an Englishman, says the voice seemed German, and so on. Reader will begin to make suppositions about why this is. They may begin to think that, since only European languages are suggested by the witnesses, the person must be Native American, or African, or from Vanuatu, or any place where non-European languages are spoken.

Unfortunately, the reader’s involvement in the case is frustrated, because who would have guessed from these testimonies that the shrill voice was that of an orangutan! Going back over the depositions and the newspaper articles a second time, there is not the slightest hint, I can assure you. We are even allowed to accompany the narrator and Dupin to the scene of the crime in order to examine some of the visual clues there, but again we are only given the descriptions the narrator chooses to give us; key facts are kept from the reader, most significantly the bit of hair and the hand-print, which the narrator immediately recognizes are not human. The frustrated reader feels cheated, because if such obvious clues had been offered, orange hair and an inhuman hand-print, the reader might have been able to deduce an orangutan.

Yet our frustration only highlights the fact that the Poe has succeeded in involving the reader in the process of trying to solve the mystery on a textual level, a revolutionary idea that was so popular Dupin was called back twice and then copied by myriads of writers, most famously in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. If Poe fumbles a bit in his story-telling, it was because the genre was new and it hadn’t fully established it’s own logic, which now we take for granted. All clues must be presented to the reader before the denouement or we toss the book away. We can forgive “the Rue Morgue” because Poe was developing something new, something exciting, the detective mystery. Besides, he was able to improve the form in the following two tales of ratiocination.

In “The Mystery of Marie Roget,” Dupin only examines texts and no important facts are withheld from the reader. Poe fully exploits the potential of a story of ratiocination to train readers in close reading. The story is based on a real unsolved murder in New York, that of Mary Cecilia Rogers. The short story, “Marie Roget,” developed out of Poe’s close reading of newspapers and police reports. Through his own process of applying the principles of ratiocination to the various texts, he showed how to be a writerly reader, one who recreates the story as he reads it. And by transforming his reading into a work of fiction, Poe became a readerly writer. In “The Purloined Letter,” Poe further developed the concept of ratiocination and its potential to involve the reader, but his most triumphant mystery, in terms of encouraging reader participation is a story that precedes the Dupin detective stories.

“The Man of the Crowd” sets up expectations very similar to the Dupin stories. Throughout the first half of the story the narrator examines the passersby, reading their history from their faces and clothing. He shows us how it is done, as in this identification of clerks: “They had all slightly bald heads, from which the right ears, long used to pen-holding, had an odd habit of standing off on end” (Poe 426). We may question whether all clerks have bald heads and whether they all put pens behind their ears, but again, our doubts confirm that Poe has involved us the process of detecting. Then, the man of the crowd, the central mystery of the story, comes on the scene. The narrator is presented with a face he cannot read: “As I endeavoured, during the brief minute of my original survey, to form some analysis of the meaning conveyed, there arose confused and paradoxically within my mind, the ideas of vast mental power….” (Poe 428). The narrator, and the reader through him, look for other clues to interpret the unreadable face, getting a glimpse of a diamond and a dagger, symbols of wealth and violence.

The narrator follows him all around the city, but never learns the mystery behind the man. As in the Dupin stories, the reader is invited to read and interpret, but the mystery is never resolved. There is no denouement. The only resolution offered is incomplete, a tease. “‘This old man,’ I said at length, ‘is the type and the genius of deep crime. He refuses to be alone. He is the man of the crowd.(Poe 429). Poe frustrates our expectations of a denouement, not because any clues are withheld from the reader, as in “Rue Morgue,” but because the mystery of the man in the crowd is perhaps too profound to be lightly read. We have the clues, we have the technique, we think we can make sense of this mystery, even if the narrator could not

Conclusion: The Reader as Detective

The story cannot be a book which does not allow itself to be read, as the ending implies, so the reader, without the help of the detective to explain it all, turns back and begins to reexamine the clues. This frustration of expectations ultimately encourages readers to transfer the techniques of detecting to the reading of literary fiction, whereby Poe fully embraces and exploits the potential of the budding genre to teach close reading and literary interpretation. By taking advantage of the formal aspects of a tale of detecting to encourage the reader to hunt for detail, to distinguish the significant from the insignificant, to form logical conclusions, to reconstruct events as a writerly reader must do, Poe almost single-handedly created detective fiction. Reading and detective work have always been so inextricably intertwined that they may in fact be called the same act. In a postmodern mystery, “The City of Glass” Paul Auster suggests the same connection.

“In a good mystery there is nothing wasted, no sentence, no word that is not significant. And even if it is not significant, it has the potential to be so–which amounts to the same thing. . . . Since everything seen or said, even the slightest, most trivial thing, can bear a connection to the outcome of the story, nothing must be overlooked. Everything becomes essence” (Auster 9).

We have followed a trail leading from hunting to reading to story-telling, suggesting that close reading requires a an active reader, who reconstructs meaning, as good reader of a mystery story is trained to do. And so the tracks that led from Serendip to Zadig to Poe continue across this essay, as I have tried to read the art of detecting itself and its intimate connection to reading. As to where the trail leads, I leave that question at your feet.


Works Cited

Auster, Paul. “City of Glass.” The New York Trilogy. New York: Penguin Books USA Inc., 1990. 3-108. Print.

Boyle, Richard. “The Three Princes of Serendip.” The Living Heritage, 2000: n. pag. Web. 15 November 2009.

Ginzburg, Carlo. “Clues: Morelli, Freud, and Sherlock Holmes.” The Sign of Three: Dupin, Holmes, Peirce. Eds. Umberto Eco & Thomas A. Sebeok. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1983. Print.

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Man of the Crowd.” Complete Tales and Poems. Edison: Castle Books, 2002. 425-430. Print.

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Murders of the Rue Morgue.” Complete Tales and Poems. Edison: Castle Books, 2002. 117-140. Print.

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt.” Complete Tales and Poems. Edison: Castle Books, 2002. 141-170. Print.

“Ratio.” Etymology. Oxford English Dictionary. Draft Revision Dec. 2009. Web. 5 December 2009.

Ritter, Malcolm. “Humans Show Unexpected Odor-Tracking Ability.” Seattle Times 18 December 2006: n. pag. Web. 1 December 2009.

“Sagacity.” Def. 1 and 2. Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed 1989. Web. 20 November 2009.

“Serendipity.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 24 Nov 2009, 22:11 UTC. Web. 1 Dec 2009.

Voltaire. Zadig. London: John Brindley Bookseller, 1749. The Project Gutenberg. Web. 15 November 2009.

Wood, Frances. “Mysterious in Origin and Magical in Meaning.” Fathom: The Source for Online Learning. Fathom Knowledge Network, 2002. Web. 25 November 2009.

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