Abstract

Abstract In an August 9, 1846, letter, Poe explained his method for writing detection. The trick, he tells Philip Pendleton Cooke, is to work backward, first inventing a character that commits the crime (or otherwise sets the mystery in motion) and then creating a second character (i.e., the detective figure) that solves it. “Where is the ingenuity,” Poe writes, “in unraveling a web which you yourself (the author) have woven?” When asked which part of   Where the Crawdads Sing she liked best, Delia Owens said, “The ending. The idea for the ending came to me suddenly, so I started there. Then I jumped back to the beginning and braided the two storylines together toward the end. Weaving together all the pieces—the characters, the clues, the feathers, and the shells—was so much fun.” Here she not only evokes Poe's methodology but, through the words “braided” and “weaving,” his sewing imagery.

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