The pitiable chief of the police, whose diligent, thorough but uncreative approach to crime-solving is the object of Dupin's ridicule. Though he is more officially important than Dupin, and even handles high profile cases, he shows the official protection of the city to be lacking. It is instead Dupin’s undercover genius that secretly keeps the peace. The Prefect is also thoroughly invested in his own importance, and desperately wishes to solve cases not just for the sake of doing so, but for the sake of his own reputation. He appears in both The Murders of the Rue Morgue and The Purloined Letter.
The Prefect of the Police Character Timeline in Poe's Stories
The timeline below shows where the character The Prefect of the Police appears in Poe's Stories. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Murders in the Rue-Morgue
The Purloined Letter
...very confused. Dupin suggests that its very simplicity might be what’s causing their trouble. The Prefect finds this idea hilarious. When he stops laughing he agrees to tell them the situation,... (full context)
...be possible for the letter to be hidden somewhere other than the Minister’s apartment but the prefect is sure that it is not, because the letter holder’s power depends on being able... (full context)