Contribution

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Jorge Luis Borges’s primary contribution to the detective genre is his recognition and exploitation of the fact that the genre is the quintessential model for pattern and plot in fiction. An admirer of the stories of Edgar Allan Poe since childhood, Borges saw that Poe’s development of the detective story was closely related to his theories of the highly patterned short-story genre in general; he also knew very early in his career that G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown detective stories were built on the paradoxical union of a highly rational plot with a mystic undercurrent.

Although few of Borges’s short fictions are detective stories in the conventional sense, many of them make specific reference to the genre and use detective-story conventions to focus on the nature of reality as a highly patterned fictional construct. Borges was influential in showing that detective fiction is more fundamental, more complex, and thus more worthy of serious notice than critics in the past had thought it to be.