Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Big Bow Mystery” as Want to Read:
The Big Bow Mystery
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book

The Big Bow Mystery

3.33  ·  Rating Details ·  240 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
On a foggy day in the Big Bow District of London, Mrs. Drabdump becomes fearful for her lodger. She knocks several times at his door but no answer. She runs to Inspector Grodman and together they break down his door to find the pooor man lying in his bed with his throat cut. The door was locked from the inside. Thus begins Israel Zangwill's classic mystery. Written in ...more
Paperback, 196 pages
Published August 15th 2007 by Dybbuk Press, LLC (first published 1891)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Big Bow Mystery, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Big Bow Mystery

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oscar
Mar 01, 2015 Oscar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Como cualquier buena novela que trate el problema del cuarto cerrado (véase ’Los crímenes de la calle Morgue’, de Edgar Allan Poe, o ’El misterio del cuarto amarillo’, de Gaston Leroux), ‘El gran misterio de Bow’ (The Big Bow Mystery, 1892), del londinense Israel Zangwill, comienza con un asesinato cometido en una habitación con las ventanas y la puerta cerradas desde el interior. Todo apunta a un suicidio, pero es imposible, ya que el arma del crimen no aparece y no hay rastros de sangre. Enton ...more
Caroline
Jul 06, 2016 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Very interesting and amusing early mystery. The stars are for the writing, not the plot. The plot purports to be the point (as the ‘first’ locked room mystery) but it is actually beside the point for today’s reader. Instead, I enjoyed Zangwill's witty approach to satirizing the London of his day. Professional jealousy, exaggerated characters, do-gooders, the justice system, family life, crackpots...lots of wordplay and meticulous undercutting of common tropes make for lots of fun.

But there are
...more
Mariano Hortal
http://lecturaylocura.com/el-gran-mis...

El gran misterio de Bow de Israel Zangwill. Habitación cerrada: el clásico mistery

Inducir, en su tercera acepción de la RAE, indica lo siguiente:
Fil.Extraer, a partir de determinadas observaciones o experiencias particulares, el principio general que en ellas está implícito.
Que no es lo mismo que deducir:
Sacar consecuencias de un principio, proposición o supuesto.
La mayoría de las veces, las clásicas novelas policíacas se basan entonces en el método induct
...more
Nancy Oakes
Written originally in 1892, The Big Bow Mystery is supposedly the earliest example of a full-length locked-room mystery. The action begins as one Mrs Drabdump, who rents rooms to lodgers in London, goes to wake up one Mr. Constant. She can't wake him up and gets herself completely agitated to the point where she goes across the street to fetch a neighbor for help. Upon breaking down the locked and bolted door in the room, they find Mr. Constant dead. The neighbor, George Grodman, a retired ...more
Steve
Sep 21, 2012 Steve rated it liked it
This newspaper serial from the 1890s is a decidedly mixed blessing. In my eBook anthology, it is a bit short of a hundred pages, making me wonder if I didn’t get an abridged copy. Be that as it may, there were strengths, most notably lovely language and an intriguing mystery beginning, a murdered man in a room locked and secured from the inside. In the included preface, the author acknowledges that even HE didn’t know whodunit at the beginning, and he solved it as the story neared its climax, ...more
Anne
Apr 19, 2009 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After listening to Adrian Praetzellis's Librivox reading of Treasure Island, I was curious what other books he may have read aloud. I had never heard of Israel Zangwill or The Big Bow Mystery, but the description made me curious. As it turns out, it's absolutely fascinating - drags a bit in the middle, but is well worth it for the incredibly clever ending!
Lauren
Oct 19, 2016 Lauren rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: academic-reasons
ehhhhh Solid mystery, and I liked the solution, but I prefer my mysteries in 1 hour slots: crime shows and short stories.
English 390R Poe and The World
Juan Jiménez García
Israel Zangwill. La alegría de leer

Israel Zangwill forma parte de esos nombres a los que la historia no les sentó muy bien. Quiero decir que tuvieron toda la fama en vida y luego, bueno, los lectores, la posteridad, se olvidaron de ellos. Puede ser que fuera una cuestión de ser un hombre muy de su tiempo, y bien, eso no es necesariamente malo, pero es que ni tan siquiera era así. Sea como fuere, Zangwill esperó su momento, y su momento llega ahora de la mano de Ardicia. Y encontrarse con él es u
...more
Shawn
I'm taking a slight break from my reading pile of literature, horror and decadence and puttering around a bit in the depths of the "single author - one book" section on the ass-end of my reading list. In truth, some DeSade (and related theory) is up next and it doesn't fit the seasonal tone, so I'm reading some late 19th century stuff.

I'm not much of a mystery fan - I respect the genre very much but the formula seems too much of a straight-jacket to me - more a reason for some fun character deta
...more
Carlos_Tongoy
«¿Israel Zangwill? ¿Quién demonios es Israel Zangwill?».

Esto me lo pregunto cuando empiezo a ver uno, dos, tres, cuatro y hasta cinco seres humanos sin más relación que yo mismo y mis circunstancias recomendar este libro, este desconocido libro, de este autor, este desconocido autor. Busco: Zangwill, Israel. Dejen que se lo ahorre: encuentro: que no es nadie. Casi nadie. Tres obras tres a lo largo de su inglesa vida de fin de siglo XIX. Tres obras tres que dice la wiki que fueron betsellers. Aqu
...more
Graham Powell
Jul 06, 2014 Graham Powell rated it liked it
The Big Bow Mystery, written in fourteen days in 1892, is widely considered the first modern locked-room mystery. But the mystery seem (to me) to be secondary to a wicked social satire, which I found pretty funny, in a late-Victorian way.

Mrs. Drabdump takes in lodgers in Bow, a neighborhood in the working-class East End of London. Her current two lodgers are Arthur Constant, an young gentleman of means and an inveterate do-gooder, and Mr. Mortlake, and man of more humble origins who is now a lab
...more
Steffi
Oct 21, 2012 Steffi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: places-london
Nach Edgar Allan Poes Geschichte "Mord in der Rue Morgue" wohl eine der ersten Kriminalgeschichten, die einen Mord, in einem von innen verschlossenen Raum zum Gegenstand haben. Dabei bleibt Zangwill stilistisch weithinter Poe zurück, auch wenn es interessant ist wie er die politischen Umstände in die Geschichte integriert, indem er zwei der Protagonisten als Arbeiterführer einführt. Lesenswert ist die Geschichte auf jeden Fall: Kurzweilig, die amüsanten Dialoge (insbesondere vor Gericht) schreie ...more
Dharia Scarab
Mar 19, 2015 Dharia Scarab rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle

Since I don't normally write reviews unless I have something specific to say, here's the break down of how I rate my books...

1 star... This book was bad, so bad I may have given up and skipped to the end. I will avoid this author like the plague in the future.

2 stars... This book was not very good, and I won't be reading any more from the author.

3 stars... This book was ok, but I won't go out of my way to read more, But if I find another book by the author for under a dollar I'd pick it up.

4 sta
...more
Linda
May 23, 2015 Linda rated it it was ok
Since The Big Bow Mystery is cited as the first "locked room" mystery NOVEL (The Murders of the Rue Morgue being the first "locked room" mystery STORY), I was looking forward to seeing what tiny detail the author would invent. I became wary when the author in his introduction to a later edition of the book boasted of outfoxing all the readers who wrote in to the magazine which first published the story, by coming up in the final episode with the only murderer no one had thought of. In said ...more
Kathy (ebookkat)
Jul 30, 2012 Kathy (ebookkat) rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2012-read, kindle
"The Big Bow Mystery" is a locked room mystery written in the late 1800's. Basically the story is about a man being found dead in his bedroom. The bedroom door and windows were bolted and locked from the inside. Did the man commit suicide or was he murdered? If he was murder how did the murderer leave the room since the door and windows were locked and bolted from the inside? Also, if it was murder who committed the crime? It has everyone including the Scotland Yard inspector guessing. I ...more
Leah A. A.
Oct 03, 2015 Leah A. A. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery fans, language lovers
The seminal locked-room murder mystery, essential reading for genre enthusiasts—as its ranking on the "Queen's Quorum" attests—"The Big Bow Mystery" remains worthwhile not only for the cleverness of its plot but for the pleasures of prose such as this:

"From Bow even unto Hammersmith there draggled a dull, wretched vapor, like the wraith of an impecunious suicide come into a fortune immediately after the fatal deed. The barometers and thermometers had sympathetically shared its depression, and th
...more
Susan
Nov 05, 2010 Susan rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-england
Zangwill, a contemporary of Dickens, wrote this early mystery, which probably seemed more radical to his readers than it does to us. Upper class Arthur Constant works and lives in London's poverty-stricken East End, as part of an idealistic way of living lhis life. Now he is dead, in a locked room, under circumstances that make murder and suicide seem eally impossible. Scotland Yard's Inspector Wimp comes up with a solution to the crime, and a man is convicted. But Wimp's retired predecessor ...more
Carmen
Un libro simpático. Me ha sorprendido agradablemente por lo bien que ha envejecido (es de finales del XIX) si lo comparamos con otros de esa época y del mismo género.
Evidentemente, Zangwill no es Conan Doyle, pero es un buen escritor, tenía oficio y sentido del humor. Esta obrita le da mil vueltas a mucha bazofia que se publica actualmente.
Borges, que era gran aficionado al género, dijo que la solución de este misterio era "de las más brillantes al juego del cuento policial". Y tenía razón.
Le
...more
Atram_sinprisa
Típico pero no por ello tópico misterio de habitación cerrada. Un hombre aparece degollado en su cuarto, tras una puerta cerrada con llave y ventanas con pestillo.
Las deducciones se suman a la investigación de la vida del difunto para dar con el asesino.
Parte de la magia original de la novela fue su publicación por entregas y las elucubraciones de los lectores sobre quién era el asesino, aspecto que el propio autor explica al final de la novela.
Caroline
The Big Bow Mystery was something of a hoot. Written in 1882, the tale is touted as the first closed room murder mystery ever written. The plot and its denouement were by the book blah and expected but the language of the text was exquisitely hilarious and barbed-filled. I'm not sure who Israel Zangwill is, other than the author or this short read, but I'd be surprised if he wasn't out there under a different name.
Hal Brodsky
Aug 04, 2015 Hal Brodsky rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, kindle
There's a undeniable pleasure in reading these old Victorian mysteries. The genre was just being developed (this is reputedly the first story dealing with a body discovered murdered in a locked room). The writing is thick and proper and Victorian. There are no hard-boiled detectives, forensics teams, fingerprints, drug dealers, gang bangers.... it was another time and the story has to stand on its own and on the description of its , in this case, amusing characters.
Z
Feb 09, 2014 Z rated it liked it
Listened to the Librivox audio by Adrian Praetzellis while reading along. He tells the story quite well, giving life to characters in a way we otherwise might not appreciate today.

Enjoyed the tongue in cheek humor and excellent prose. The plot does ramble, but it's still a fun glimpse back in time.
iarXiv
May 23, 2014 iarXiv rated it liked it
Shelves: a-english
A rather longwinded, drawn-out, closed-room whodunnit, with an unexpected ending mostly worthy the effort of getting through the book. Contains some rather misplaced discussions on 'Beauty', 'the Beautiful' and 'the Useful' which detract from the flow of the mystery novel. It's almost like the author wanted to write a book on Beauty and on Murder, but decided to mesh them both into one. A shame.
Tatra
This is definitely a classic murder mystery. It was a pretty interesting mystery, it did keep one guessing in the twists and turns. It was a bit of a slow pace, but it was also a book of its time. As such, the murderer was revealed at the complete end and I totally recognized the pattern that many other mystery stories have used in more recent times. It was fun.
Glitter
Jul 07, 2012 Glitter rated it liked it
For what it was and the time it was written in, I thought this book was rather charming. The ending was, of course, a shocker, as I think it should have been. It did drag on a little, though, with certain information that could have been omitted completely being detailed to the dot. Nevertheless, this book is a nice passtime, I think.
John
Jul 28, 2014 John rated it liked it
I have to agree with other reviewers that this book is so beautifully written that it is worth reading for this alone. The plot however is weak. As an East Londoner myself, I enjoyed the locale very much. A very tongue-in-cheek, satirical look at social and political life of the time. Who else could have named one of the principal characters Mrs Drabdump and the detective Wimp !!?
Marts  (Thinker)
Mar 18, 2011 Marts (Thinker) rated it really liked it
So here's another one of those locked door mysteries, Mr Constant's landlady Mrs Drapdump calls him as per usual and gets no answer, after some time elapses, she seeks her neighbour Grodman's assistance...
Helen
Jan 19, 2016 Helen rated it liked it
Intriguing, but more because it was the first of its kind than because of any other reason. The solution to the plot is clever but it takes a long time coming and there's a long time when nothing happens.
Paola
Oct 13, 2012 Paola rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gialli
L'ho preso al Libraccio convinta che il titolo fosse: Il grande mistero di Boh, ed esso titolo mi ha intrigato, maledetta dislessia.
Comunque: boh é il commento.
Un tantinello palloso. E poi l'humour inglese a me (mi) fa venire il latte alle ginocchia.
Karen
Jan 29, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it
Twisted and sick crazy ending. I would have given this a 5, but did not like how the author subtly mocked the word of God in it. Classic old mystery. If you love locked door mysteries this is a very good one.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Great Detectives: A Century of the Best Mysteries from England and America
  • The Notting Hill Mystery
  • The World of the Short Story: A Twentieth Century Collection
  • The Best of Mystery: 63 Short Stories Chosen by the Master of Suspense
  • Don't Open This Book
  • Nightmare Abbey; Crotchet Castle
  • The Middle Temple Murder
  • The Altar of the Dead
  • The Eye of Osiris
  • The Old Man in the Corner
  • The Promise of a Lie
  • The Leavenworth Case
  • Monsieur
  • Death Notes (Inspector Wexford, #11)
  • The Journal of Professor Abraham Van Helsing
  • The House Without a Key (Charlie Chan, #1)
  • A Whisper in the Dark
  • Murder in Grub Street (Sir John Fielding, #2)
6795
Israel Zangwill was a British novelist, short-story writer and dramatist.
More about Israel Zangwill...

Share This Book



“The cold cut like a many bladed knife” 7 likes
“The Creator has – I say it in all reverence - drawn a myriad red herrings across the track, but the true scientist refuses to be baffled by superficial appearances in detecting the secrets of Nature. The vulgar herd catches at the gross apparent fact, but the man of insight knows what lies on the surfaces does lie.” 6 likes
More quotes…