(originally published 1844-1845 in The Gift: A Christmas and New Year’s Present)
This is the third in a series of three detective stories starring Poe's character C. Auguste Dupin. It starts when the Prefect of Police recounts the case of a stolen letter to the amateur detective Dupin and the narrator (who happens to be with Dupin at the time). The Prefect has just finished a very scrupulous search for the letter, and has concluded that he is unable to find it. He believes the case is impossible to solve. A month later when he again visits Dupin, Dupin has the very letter in his possession. Dupin then explains how he found it.