The First Detective Story


Many of us love a good “whodunit” and the detectives and forensic experts who work to solve the mysteries and crimes in the story.

But did you know that the first detective story — or at least the one credited as being the first “modern” detective story — was published April 20, 1841. Given the macabre nature of his work, it probably comes as no surprise that the author of this work was Edgar Allen Poe.

Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue appeared first in Graham’s Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine. The character Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin uses his exceptional analytical skills to solve the murders of a woman and her daughter living in Paris. Ultimately, detective stories gave way to detective novels, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced the fascinating character Sherlock Holmes in the novel A Study in Scarlet in 1887. Holmes’ escapades have continued to delight 21st-century readers and is the inspiration for the modern television series, “Elementary,” on CBS and the BBC production “Sherlock” that features Benedict Cumberbatch.

But our fascination and appreciation for crime stories and detectives began many years ago with a story for which Poe earned $59.00!










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Terrific Tuesday: More “new” Dr. Seuss!


At first we thought “no,”

It couldn’t be so,

A new Dr. Seuss book,

That someone forsook?

But, yes, it is true,

And it is quite a coup,

That some lost stories or such,

Were found — thanks so much!

We’ll make a mad dash

With our piggy bank cash,

To read what is new,

All the way through!

Hitting the bookstores today is a new Dr. Seuss book, Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories.

People who know the Editorial Assistant, Mom Karen, also know that she loves Dr. Seuss. I think it’s because her imagination never quite left childhood, but I’m not an authority on that. You’ll have to ask her yourself.

Anyway, Dr. Seuss expert Charles Cohen spent thousands of hours conducting research on the author and his works and writings. He discovered about 30 Dr. Seuss stories that had never been published in book form.

It was something of a literary mystery.

Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories are among these works.

We can never have too much Dr. Seuss, the Editorial Assistant tells me. I will have to take her word on that. I did find Mom Karen’s 50th anniversary edition of How the Grinch Stole Christmas to be quite delicious, although she was not pleased to see it in shreds. Oops! Apparently, books are to be read, not chewed up.

Click to find out much more about the new book and how it came to life!



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Thoughtful Thursday: Portrait of Resilience


Poet. Author. Dancer. Singer. Activist. Educator. Mother.

The death of Maya Angelou brought tributes and remembrances from around the world. Of all the accomplishments from her incredible life, I most admire Ms. Angelou’s resilience. No matter what peril, disappointment, slight or hurt that ever came her way, Ms. Angelou picked herself up and moved forward. She didn’t wait for others to come to her rescue. She was the rescue team. Often, she was a team of one.

She was determined not to let the trials and tribulations define her life. Ms. Angelou marched ahead, knowing that she was the one who would write her life’s story. The educator defined how her life would be remembered. And what a life it was — in large part because of her resilience.

Resilience isn’t a trait you discover that you had after you survived trauma or tragedy. Resilience is what took through that trauma and tragedy when you endured seconds, minutes, hours, days and months of heart break and sadness. Resilience lived in a place you didn’t know existed. Resilience is what took over when the pain robbed you of your good sense and hope, and resilience dragged you over the mountain that seemed too steep to face.

We can find strength in these words from Ms. Angelou: “I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.”

Life will go on without this great voice, but it won’t be the same.





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Terrific Tuesday: “Mockingbird” will be an e-book!


The news was met with cheers among those who love books.

Author Harper Lee has agreed for her book “To Kill a Mockingbird” to be released electronically. The announcement from her publisher HarperCollins came Monday on the reclusive author’s 88th birthday.

“I’m still old-fashioned. I love dusty old books and libraries,” Lee said through her publisher. “I am amazed and humbled that `Mockingbird’ has survived this long. This is ‘Mockingbird’ for a new generation.”

The e-book, together with an audiobook narrated by Sissy Spacek, will be released July 8 by HarperCollins.

The Editorial Assistant, Mom Karen, says this is one of her favorite books. And although she, too, prefers “dusty old books” and even those that aren’t dusty, she realizes that times change. The e-book release will bring the classic novel set in the South to a new, and perhaps younger, audience. And who can’t cheer about that!


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Fantabulous Friday: Read, Read, Read!

I was a guest at the 2014 Read-In at the S.C. Statehouse. "Oh, the Places You'll Go" could be the very theme of my life. Who would have imagined that a rescued poodle would one day end up mingling with politicians, beauty queens, students, teachers and lots and lots of people, all who appreciate good books and reading!

I was a guest at the 2014 Read-In at the S.C. Statehouse. “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” could be the very theme of my life. Who would have imagined that a rescued poodle would one day end up mingling with politicians, beauty queens, students, teachers and lots and lots of people, all who appreciate good books and reading!

The Editorial Assistant, Mom Karen, has had a particularly busy week and begged off writing the blog. So, here we are on Friday with a few words of inspiration!

I was a guest at the Read-In at the S.C. Statehouse yesterday, and the organizers were very considerate to let the Editorial Assistant tag along. I had so much fun. I received lots of pats and hugs, and I even got in a few dance steps with the fabulous drum line from Benedict College. It is an honor for us to be asked, of course, and, once we are there, people always ask lots of questions about me and our books.

Some 1,400 students, teachers, parents and guests attended this year’s Read-In that honored Dr. Seuss and his wonderful book, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go.” Even S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley was there to participate, but I was the only poodle in the crowd.

The program featured people from around the world reading parts of Dr. Seuss’ book in their native languages. We’re offering these great words to you in English, and with graduation season just ahead we know that you’ll find a chance to share them with a favorite graduate in your family, among friends or right in your own neighborhood!

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

This is good advice for any of us — poodles, included, though we often have to steer our humans in the direction we choose! The Editorial Assistant was appalled when I headed in the direction of a student and his sandwich. I’m sure he wanted to share!


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Thoughtful Thursday: It’s Today!


We can always count on our friend Winnie the Pooh to put things in perspective for us.

The beloved fictional character was the creation of A. A. Milne. Pooh made his debut in the book “Winnie-the-Pooh,” published in 1926 and followed by “The House at Pooh Corner” in 1928. Mr. Milne’s character also was featured in his books of poetry, “When We Were Very Young” and “Now We Are Six.”

Winnie the Pooh was brought to life in movies and short feature films by Disney, giving a face and voice to the lovable bear and the many friends around him.

Through his innocent charm, Pooh gave us many other delightful and inspirational lessons:

On Living Without Someone You Love: “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”

On Friendship and Love: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

On Caring: “Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.”

On Forgetfulness: “I did know once, only I’ve sort of forgotten.”

On Courage: “It is hard to be brave, when you’re only a Very Small Animal.”

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