Debate between Edgar Allan Poe, Wilkie Collins, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, over who is the better mystery writer!!
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Collins: Welcome Edgar. How are you on this fine evening of your afterlife?
Poe: Well Wilkie, after being buried for over 30 years, I am not in the best of moods. I heard about the argument between you and Arthur and couldn’t help but interfere.
Collins: Ah. Yes. We have been disturbing everyone’s sleep, but this is something that will allow us all to rest in peace, once solved. Now, Sir Arthur erroneously believes his mystery novels to be superior to mine. Whom do you prefer?
Poe: Pardon me, Wilkie, but I came to tell you that without me, none of you guys would be writing anything. I am the American predecessor who influenced you…
Collins: Laughs. You woke up from your eternal sleep for this? You wrote what, short stories? (laughter) To quote T.S. Elliot, The Moonstone is “the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels.” Clearly, you had not the creativity, nor the story development for the novel.
Poe: Very funny, Wilkie. I might have written short stories, but “The Purloined Letter” and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” contain the first elements of the growing Mystery genre.
ENTERS Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Doyle: Hello my unfortunate quarrelers. Are you all here to agree that I am the undisputed victor?
Collins: Enough of your insufferable arrogance. You are dead for god’s sake.
Poe: I’ll have to agree with Collins on this one.
Doyle: I would rather suffer from arrogance than say… alcoholism or even more shameful, an opium addiction. Regardless, none of your works made it–as the Americans say– to the big screen!
Poe: Confused Face.
Collins: Come again?
Doyle: Right, you do not know. My books became plays, and now they are on television! I am so famous and loved, that the whole world talks about Sherlock Holmes. How many people talk about Betteredge or Blake from the Moonstone?
Poe: Collins, don’t answer him. Clearly, he doesn’t want to admit that he read my short stories, which later influenced his own works. I guess this is what people mean when I hear them saying that fame destroys someone’s true identity.
Collins: Doyle, you should acknowledge that you are indebted to us. You can deny it or you can come to terms with it. Yes, you are famous and loved, but everybody knows that Poe and I influenced the mystery genre.
Doyle: Yes, yet Sherlock Holmes is still the better detective, although I hate him.
Collins: I beg to differ; Sergeant Cuff is far more superior, with keener senses.
Poe: Detectives do not matter! It is the psychological interest of the crime itself. Suppose you pit your two great detectives against my murder of the “Cask of Amontillado”. After all, the murder was never solved…
Doyle, Collins and Poe all leave to prepare for THE MYSTERY GAME!
New characters enter the scene. Betteredge (one of the main narrators in The Moonstone) enters the scene and Watson (the main narrator of Sherlock Holmes) enters after him.
Watson: Betteredge, regardless of whether Holmes, or Cuff solves this crime, our competition will be who can relate the events of THE MYSTERY GAME better.
Everybody leaves, but Betteredge.
Betteredge: (snarky comment) Of course, I will beat that cripple, Dr. Watson.