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Authors, Books and Discussions! > Locked room mystery

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

The locked room mystery is a sub-genre of detective fiction in which a crime—almost always murder—is committed under apparently impossible circumstances. The crime in question typically involves a crime scene that no intruder could have entered or left, e.g., a locked room. Following other conventions of classic detective fiction, the reader is normally presented with the puzzle and all of the clues, and is encouraged to solve the mystery before the solution is revealed in a dramatic climax.

To investigators of the crime, the prima facie impression almost invariably is that the perpetrator has vanished into thin air. The need for a rational explanation for the crime is what drives the protagonist to look beyond these appearances and solve the puzzle.

In the Golden Age of Detective Fiction impossible crimes were mainly solved by brilliant amateur sleuths, inspired by Conan Doyle's creation Sherlock Holmes, who were inexplicably given free rein by Scotland Yard and, to a markedly lesser extent in their American equivalents, the New York Police Department; puzzling mysteries were solved by sheer reasoning and brain power. Such creators of famous Anglo-Saxon amateur detectives as Jacques Futrelle, Thomas and Mary Hanshew, G. K. Chesterton, Carolyn Wells, John Dickson Carr, C. Daly King and Joseph Commings turned out novels featuring impossible crimes in vast quantities. To a lesser degree, Christianna Brand, Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Clayton Rawson and Hake Talbot did the same. Authors such as Nigel Morland and Anthony Wynne, whose output leaned more toward science-based detective stories, also tried their hand at impossible mysteries.

During the Golden Age of detective fiction, English-speaking writers dominated the genre, but after the 1940s there was a general waning of English-language output. French authors continued writing into the 1950s and early 1960s, notably Martin Meroy and Boileau-Narcejac who joined forces to write several locked-room novels. They also co-authored the psychological thrillers which brought them international fame, two of which were adapted for the screen as Vertigo and Diabolique.

The locked-room genre has also been translated into children's detective fiction, although the crime committed is usually less severe than murder. One notable example would be Enid Blyton, who wrote several juvenile detective series, often featuring seemingly impossible crimes that her young amateur detectives set out to solve.

King Ottokar's Sceptre is the only Tintin adventure that is a locked room mystery, no homicide is involved, the crime is disappearance of the royal sceptre that is bound to have disastrous consequences for the king.

Notable authors,

1.John Dickson Carr
2.Carter Dickson
3.Anthony Boucher

message 2: by Abhijeet (new)

Abhijeet (reading_is_magic) It's on TV as well. One of my favourite British TV mysteries is Jonathan Creek where the titular character is a magician's apprentice and uses his knowledge of magic tricks to solve mysteries. He has solved more than one 'locked room' mystery on the show.

message 3: by Sujet S (new)

Sujet S Shukla John Dickson Carr nd Carter Dickson is same.

message 4: by Sujet S (new)

Sujet S Shukla 'He Who Whispers' by John Dickson Carr i hv read.

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