Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Abraham Lincoln, Mystery Writer

Abraham Lincoln's birthday is February 12, and even though we no longer celebrate his birth as an independent holiday, I thought I'd say a few words in today's Blog about him. Honest Abe is well known for many things, but for Mystery Fanfare, most important is the fact that Abraham Lincoln wrote a mystery. Lincoln was a big fan of Edgar Allan Poe, and Poe's "Murders in the Rue Morgue" was first published around the time that Lincoln was defending the Trailor Brothers in 1841. He based his story "The Trailor Murder Mystery" on this case. It wasn't uncommon then for lawyers to write true crime articles which were popular with the public--and not considered a breach of etiquette. What is unusual is that Lincoln chose to write fiction based on this case. "A Remarkable Case of Arrest for Murder" (the original title) first appeared on the front page of the Quincy Whig on April 15, 1846 and was described, as "A murder mystery by Abraham Lincoln." The story was reprinted as "The Trailor Murder Mystery" in 1952 in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. Read the story.


Maria said...

It's also available at -- a website where you can choose that story and others, create a book, purchase it and have it shipped to your home! I bought the Lincoln story in an anthology. I found it a very interesting read. The prose was a bit stilted by today's standards and the pace completely different. But it was still a good story and it was very mysterious. It was neat to read something like that by Lincoln

Janet Rudolph said...

How cool. Thanks for the tip!