Whatever possessed me to begin a mystery series I would later title A Twist of Poe? Was being fascinated by the dark subject matter of most of Poe’s well known works enough of a reason? Probably being fascinated by all things dark and gritty had a lot to do with it. Having made the decision, I thought it wise to look into Poe’s history.
A man known for debauchery, drug and alcohol addiction and a somewhat wild and crazy manner about him, Poe found little recognition in his own lifetime for his work. Many writers then and today who write out of the box have the same problem. Yet in today’s world of self publishing and a large amount of small publishers eager to discover new and talented writers, many of us are finding a niche in which we can have our work published.
Poe struggled through some early publications of his poetry to make his way into a fiction career by writing short stories and being rejected time after time. Had he been writing today he could have published his own work and put it out there to an audience of millions.
As it was, he finally wrote a short story titled MS. Found in a Bottle and won $50 from the Baltimore Saturday Visiter for the best short story entered. Nowhere could I find what kind of competition he had in this contest, but his win drew the attention of some important people.
But Poe was a man doomed to his own weaknesses. He married his cousin Virginia when she was barely 14, he became addicted to drugs and alcohol and was known to insult anyone he did not like.
So why, oh, why should I decide to twist my mystery titles from the more famous of Poe’s? Because he intrigues me despite his weaknesses, his writing is darkly romantic, darkly horrible, and very twisted. To be honest I just couldn’t resist.
The Purloined Skull, the title twisted from his, The Purloined Letter, is not a idea stolen from Poe, nor is it even written in his style. I think mainly the series title is to pay homage to a man destroyed by his own genius, torn apart by his own talent, a talent that was never recognized until long after his death. I raise my glass to you, Edgar Allan Poe. May you rest in peace, and not be too upset by my twist of your titles.