Who were the detectives and suspects in William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily"? 

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Technically, there are no detectives in "A Rose for Emily." The town did meet to discuss certain issues with Emily. They meet to discuss how to deal with the smell coming from her house. Since they conclude that it is too inappropriate to confront a woman about smelling bad, they send four men to sprinkle lime around the house during the night. They also confront her about paying taxes. She continually claims that Colonel Sartoris had remitted them. They argue back but Emily is insistent and they eventually give up. 

When Emily dies, it is attributed to old age, so there is no need for detective nor any suspects. And, when Homer Baron disappears, the matter is not investigated and there are no suspects. However, when they go through Emily's house after she's been buried, they find a man's corpse in one of the rooms. The name of the corpse is not mentioned, but it is widely interpreted that it is the corpse of Homer Baron. The story ends before any detective work can begin. But given Emily's secrecy and the fact that the corpse has been in her home for some time, she would be the primary suspect. Adding some morbid notion to this Gothic ending, the men who discover Homer's corpse conclude that Emily had been sleeping with the body: 

Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of irongray hair. 


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A Rose for Emily

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