You Know My Method: The Science of the Detective
You Know My Method surveys the century of development that followed Mr. Poe's invention of the fictional detective in 1841. The same century saw the development of the idea of scientist as a person who defined himself by his use of a disciplined method of inquiry (he had hitherto been a natural philosopher or a naturalist, and had more or less followed his instincts in the matter of method). By 1940, the detective had established himself as the most reliably popular figure in popular literature, and science had become the custodian of truth in the modern world. These two developments were not unrelated. The detective borrowed his essential technique from the scientist; he repaid the debt by demonstrating how the sometimes threatening power of science could be applied to inherently moral ends. Science might transform a Dr. Jekyll into a Mr. Hyde, but it might equally efficiently unravel the tangled skein of events that comprised the mystery at Lauristen Gardens.
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