René Reouven:
La Vérité sur la rue Morgue
Our story begins in Paris, in 1832, in the Rue Morgue. A group of scientists and poets (Théophile Gautier, Evariste Galois, Gérard de Nerval, to cite a few), who share a lively interest in the theories of evolution, rent several stories of a house in order to conduct their own investigations of these phenomena. The most charismatic of them is an American gentleman named Eddy, who is gifted with talents as a hypnotist. Eddy has brought along an orangutan named Hop Frog to be used for the group’s experiments with animal magnetism. Indeed, the American succeeds in grafting his will and some of his personality onto the beast, who seems to acquire human characteristics, one of these being a great fondness for Eddy’s young friend, the lovely Marie Roget. However, in these troubled times, the informal meeting of the minds arouses a great deal of suspicion. Certain observers – the landlady’s lover, for example, and the ubiquitous detective Vidocq – imagine that the apartments in the Rue Morgue actually house a plot to overthrow the government. The secretive search for an ordinary letter – the permit admitting the ape to France, signed by a high official – soon erupts into unforeseen tragedy and bloodshed, in a Paris unaware that it is also stalked by deadly cholera.

René Reouven, La vérité sur la rue Morgue, Flammarion, Paris, 2002.
Appended stories: “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “The Mystery of Marie
Roget,” and “The Purloined Letter,” by Edgar Allan Poe.