Dupin, Holmes and Poirot
In mystery fiction there are three genre defining characters. They are Auguste Dupin, Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. These anti-hero lead characters, have become iconic images in universal literature and are, perhaps, the main reason why crime fiction and mystery fiction novels and mystery authors became so popular.
Auguste Dupin, first appeared in "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" written by Edgar Allan Poe. This story is considered as the very first detective fiction story in literature. In fact, Poe wrote the character of Dupin before the concept of a "detective" was considered. Dupin's appearance was the model for other fictitious detectives to follow, still today writers and authors in crime fiction. He was portrayed as a highly inteligent and rational individual, capable to put himself on the mind of the criminal. Dupin appeared in only three of Poe's short stories, the afore mentioned "Rue Morgue", "The Purloined Letter" and "The Mystery of Marie Roget". According to the stories Dupin was a man of wealth that due to certain misfortunes was reduced to more humble terms. His high intellect makes him fascinated with enigmas and mysteries, which is why he gets involved with the mysteries that take place in his stories.
Dupin served as a prototype for other characters, but none as more popular than Sherlock Holmes. He was created by scottish author Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes also displays an enormous amount of intelligence, his great skills in forensic science and ability to take almost any disguise. His popularity is universal and his appearance in literature is far greater than his predecessor, he appeared in 4 novels and in 56 short stories. Almost all but four of his stories are narrated by his friend and biographer, Dr. John Watson, another important character in the genre.
Finally, a third important character in mystery fiction is Hercule Poirot. Created by Agatha Christie he is a belgian detective. He is one of Christie's most famous and loved characters and is considered to be up to the stature of great characters in Mystery Fiction like Holmes and Dupin. He appeared in 33 novels and 51 short stories. Poirot is a detective more inclined to the psychology of the crime to solve his mysteries. He is one of the latest characters in Mystery fiction literature to become iconic.