The narrator and Dupin read a newspaper headlines about a horrible murder in the Rue Morgue.
One night, eight or ten neighbors of Madame L’Espanaye and her daughter, Mademoiselle Camille, wake to shrieks from their fourth-floor apartment. The neighbors hear two voices, then silence. Two policemen finally break into the locked apartment to find utter disorder and multiple pieces of evidence of a crime,
They find no traces of the older woman. However, the noticeable traces of soot in the room lead them to the chimney, where they find the corpse of Mademoiselle Camille.
The neighbors and police discover the body of Madame L’Espanaye in a courtyard in the rear of the building. They find her badly beaten, with her throat severely cut.
The 4,000 francs that Madame L’Espanaye had just withdrawn from the bank are still in the apartment, ruling out robbery as a motive for the grisly crime.The evening edition of the paper reports a new development. The police have arrested Adolphe Le Bon, a bank clerk who once did Dupin a favor.
With the arrest of Le Bon, Dupin becomes interested in pursuing the investigation and obtains permission to search the crime scene.