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Old 01-07-2024, 08:49 PM   #1
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Favorite Locked Room Mysteries?

Does anyone have recommendations for favorite locked room mysteries (both short stories and novels)?

Note: I'm using the term "locked room" -- but the term "impossible crime" works as well. The locked room might be a locked room in a mansion or a locked compartment on a train. Some experts also include crimes that occur in a remote location. (But others believe those should be called "closed circle mysteries" instead.)

John Dickson Carr ends up on many lists of favorite authors of locked room mysteries, so I picked up some of his books recently. I still have to read them, of course.

I also recently picked up books like "The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries" and "Golden Age Locked Room Mysteries" -- so if your favorites are short stories, they might already be in there.
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Old 01-08-2024, 01:13 AM   #2
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Sherlock Holmes short stories, "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" and "The Adventure of the Empty House".

The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux.
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Old 01-08-2024, 07:34 AM   #3
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There are several Father Brown locked room mysteries; I remember especially "The Arrow from Heaven". He's sure to be represented in your collections.
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Old 01-08-2024, 07:48 AM   #4
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I'll also recommend Edmund Crispin's The Case of the Gilded Fly, the first of his Gervase Fen mysteries, as much for the Oxford setting, the literary allusions and the snark, as for the mystery itself.
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Old 01-08-2024, 08:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Critteranne View Post
Does anyone have recommendations for favorite locked room mysteries (both short stories and novels)?
One I found amusing is Case for Three Detectives by Leo Bruce.

I would second the recommendation of Edmund Crispin's The Case of the Gilded Fly.

If you're not already familiar with them, you might want to take a look at these two websites. One is an article from The Guardian, the other "A Locked Room Library" by John Pugmire, which lists a lot of locked-room mysteries, some of them ranked, not all of which are available new (or as ebooks).

https://www.theguardian.com/books/20...adrian-mckinty

https://mysteryfile.com/Locked_Rooms/Library.html
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Old 01-08-2024, 10:23 AM   #6
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Sherlock Holmes short stories, "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" and "The Adventure of the Empty House".

The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux.
And these stories are all available via the Patricia Clark Memorial Library of MobileRead!

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Originally Posted by issybird View Post
There are several Father Brown locked room mysteries; I remember especially "The Arrow from Heaven". He's sure to be represented in your collections.
I should return to reading him. I remember reading "The Secret Garden" in "The Innocence of Father Brown" while in high school -- and being shocked at the revelation of the killer. I was sure Chesterton had broken some rule about mysteries -- but that was OK with me. (Some rules are meant to be broken.)
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Old 01-08-2024, 10:30 AM   #7
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One I found amusing is Case for Three Detectives by Leo Bruce.

I would second the recommendation of Edmund Crispin's The Case of the Gilded Fly.
My Classic Mysteries wishlist is taking a hit!

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If you're not already familiar with them, you might want to take a look at these two websites. One is an article from The Guardian, the other "A Locked Room Library" by John Pugmire, which lists a lot of locked-room mysteries, some of them ranked, not all of which are available new (or as ebooks).

https://www.theguardian.com/books/20...adrian-mckinty

https://mysteryfile.com/Locked_Rooms/Library.html
Thanks!

Ooh, I just bought the new edition of "Rim of the Pit"...
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Old 01-08-2024, 01:38 PM   #8
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John Dickson Carr ends up on many lists of favorite authors of locked room mysteries, so I picked up some of his books recently. I still have to read them, of course.
If you got Carr's The Hollow Man (also known as The Three Coffins) be aware that one chapter is a "locked room lecture," which contains spoilers of sorts for some other writers' locked-room mysteries, so I would suggest either skipping it or reading older locked-room mysteries, such as Leroux's The Mystery of the Yellow Room or Israel Zangwill's The Big Bow Mystery (also available on mobileread) first.
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Old 01-08-2024, 06:28 PM   #9
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As a born contrarian, I can't stand either The Yellow Room (I seriously wished savage painful death on the teenage brat detective) or J.D. Carr's work - in The Hollow Man The ONLY bit I liked was the 'how it's done' treatise, quite brilliant stuff. My personal advice would be skip the book EXCEPT that bit

On a slightly more serious note, despite loving the "how to" treatise written by the acknowledged master of the genre, I have not found any locked room mysteries I read after it to have been in any spoiled for me.

The British author Tom Mead is a serious JDC afficionado and has written about him and written intros for some editions of JDC books. His own locked room novels I love - Death and the Conjuror and The Murder Wheel
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Old 01-09-2024, 06:04 AM   #10
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John Dickson Carr = also wrote under Carter Dickson.
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Old 01-09-2024, 08:56 AM   #11
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As a born contrarian, I can't stand either The Yellow Room ... or J.D. Carr's work ...
I haven't read many of Carr's books, but I have become more tolerant toward him than I used to be.

Quote:
On a slightly more serious note, despite loving the "how to" treatise written by the acknowledged master of the genre, I have not found any locked room mysteries I read after it to have been in any spoiled for me.
I was thinking specifically of Zangwill's The Big Bow Mystery. The book isn't named, but the author is (and as far as I can tell, this was his lone mystery novel), and we are told (in general terms) how the murder was performed and who (again, in general terms) committed it. I must have read The Big Bow Mystery right after reading The Hollow Man, so I still remembered that much of the "The Locked-Room Lecture" (chapter XVII), which functioned as a spoiler for me.

The "Lecture" also reveals how the murder is performed in Anna Katherine Green's Initials Only and in "one of the most brilliant short detective stories in the history of detective fiction.... This is Melville Davisson Post's, The Doomdorf Mystery ..."

Gaston Leroux's The Mystery of the Yellow Room is named ("the best detective tale ever written"), but the game isn't completely given away, though still more of it than I would have liked. (I must have read it soon after The Hollow Man, as well.)

Quote:
The British author Tom Mead is a serious JDC afficionado and has written about him and written intros for some editions of JDC books. His own locked room novels I love - Death and the Conjuror and The Murder Wheel
Thanks to your having mentioned the latter elsewhere, the former is on my ereader, anxiously waiting for me to get to it.
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Old 01-09-2024, 10:21 AM   #12
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It's strange how self-referential locked room mysteries can get.

I recently read The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo, a Japanese novel first published in 1946, and that also references prior examples, including Carr and The Mystery of the Yellow Room.

It was good, but maybe a bit over-the-top, as locked rooms often are.
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Old 01-09-2024, 01:11 PM   #13
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John Dickson Carr = also wrote under Carter Dickson.
A very clever pseudonym. No one would have ever guessed they were the same person. (I supposed that was the point...)
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Old 01-09-2024, 07:25 PM   #14
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Here is a timely link that I brazenly stole from the FREE/BARGAIN — Mystery, Suspense & Thrillers thread:
https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...postcount=7399
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Old 01-13-2024, 06:57 AM   #15
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From the late, great mystery writer, Edward D. Hoch:

Nothing is Impossible

OP: I think this is your lucky day! It may not be available as an ebook. (I don't know.)

From Amazon:

"Dr. Sam Hawthorne, a New England country doctor in the first half of the twentieth century, was constantly faced by murders in locked rooms and impossible disappearances. Nothing Is Impossible contains fifteen of Dr. Sam s most extraordinary cases solved between 1932 and 1936, including a circus acrobat who vanishes from a trapeze; an invisible weapon; murder in a cabin surrounded by unmarked snow; murder in a locked house surrounded by an electrified fence; the attack on a ventriloquist's dummy; a haunted teepee; the vanishing of a teenage girl from her blue bicycle; and eight other ingenious problems for Dr. Sam. The introduction is by Janet Hutchings, editor of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine."

There may be three books in this series. (Not certain.)
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