09 August 2018

Early Early EARLY Mysteries

by Robert Lopresti

If I asked you what was the first mystery story, what would you say?

Edgar Allan Poe's "Murders in the Rue Morgue?"  Sorry.  Published in 1841, that's practically current events.

How about Shakespeare?  There was that whiny prince trying to figure out who killed his father.  Uh uh.  Hamlet only goes back to 1600.

Well, there was the story of Susannah, which appears in some editions of the Book of Daniel.  The prophet solves a crime by using a technique known to every modern police force.  But that only dates back to around 200 BC.

How about Sophocles' play about a king interrogating various witnesses to discover the murderer of his predecessor?  Nice guess, but no.  At 400 BC, he's still an Oedipus-come-lately.

Enough suspense.  Here is the true answer, courtesy of those brilliant British comedians David Mitchell and Robert Webb.


7 comments:

Paul D. Marks said...

Had me laughing out loud. And I always suspected that cavemen spoke with British accents, not grunts.

Steve Liskow said...

Great way to start the day, Rob.

I always figured the first crime was actually covered up when the killer tossed the body into a volcano or a tar pit, but what do I know? The evidence is all gone...

Thomas Pluck said...

That was fun. Now I want to write a paleolithic mystery. I'm sure it's been done, too...

R.T. Lawton said...

Rob, nice laugh for the morning.

O'Neil De Noux said...

Boy, did I get to this late. Uh. Funny.

Leigh Lundin said...

I'm a mad admirer of David Mitchell, especially when he appeared on QI. Nice choice, Rob.

Thomas, I don't think we've discussed paleolithic mysteries, but we did get into paleolithic kidney stone surgery.

Robert Lopresti said...

There was a stone age story in AHMM a few years ago, if I recall correctly. I liked it but that's all I remember...

Leigh, I LOVE QI. Haven't been able to see the new post Stephen Fry episodes. Of course Alan Davies, the other regular, starrred in Jonathan Creek, which was wonderful too.