Poe’s famous story of ‘The Purloined Letter’ (1981b), is constructed around a bet between Dupin, the fi rst armchair detective, and the Prefect of Police, over which of the two will be able to recover a missing document believed to be hidden in the house of a state offi cial. The two literary protagonists adopt radically different ocular starting points in searching for the missing letter. While the Prefect of Police adopts a standpoint of ocular distance, forcing the letter to reveal itself by subjecting every square inch of the minister’s residence to the closest police visual scrutiny, Dupin approaches the problem from a more subjective ocular standpoint, imaginatively visualizing how the offi cial might have acted to conceal the document so it would not be visible to the Prefect’s anticipated searching eye.