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by Erin Z. Bass I recently finished reading "The Beautiful Cigar Girl: Mary Rogers, Edgar Allan Poe, And The Invention Of Murder" by Daniel Stashower. While I've enjoyed reading Poe's short stories and poetry since I first discovered them in high school, I have to admit I didn't know much about the author himself. That is until I read the above-mentioned book. "The Beautiful Cigar Girl" tells the real-life story of the grisly 1841 murder of New York cigar salesgirl Mary Rogers, which Poe used as the basis for his detective story, "The Mystery of Marie Roget." That angle is compelling enough, but author Stashower, known for his biography of Arthur Conan Doyle, weaves in Poe's life story among the events of the murder case. The result is a portrait of an orphaned, alcoholic, self-destructive and under-appreciated writer who tried desperately to achieve fame until the day he died. It's hard to believe that Poe (pictured circa 1904 at right, courtesy of Library of Congress) wasn't famous in his day. He had his moments - upon publication of "The Raven" and "The Gold-Bug" - but they were short-lived. Today, there's no doubt that Poe is the father of the detective story (creating

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