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Archive > Locked room cozies?

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message 1: by Barb (new)

Barb | 704 comments I've recently become fascinated by locked room mysteries, and would love to know if any of you know of any of these that would also be considered cozies? Thanks!


message 2: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 20 comments Did you know that A.A. Milne of Christopher Robin/Winnie the Pooh fame wrote a locked room mystery at his father's request? It is titled The Red House Mystery. It's okay, very English gentleman - jolly japes and all that what ho.

What is purported to be one of the very earliest locked room mysteries is The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux. Both are free ebooks produced by Gutenberg.

Having read these I am also interested in locked room mysteries so I shall watch to see what others come up with too.


message 3: by jaxnsmom (new)

jaxnsmom | 2440 comments Mod
I don't think any of these are cozies, but...

Bill Pronzini's Nameless Detective novels feature locked-room puzzles.

Edward D Hoch is know for short stories with impossible puzzles. They feature Dr. Sam Hawthorne, a country doctor. For a longtime his stories appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. (I loved that magazine! My mom got it and my sister and I couldn't wait for her to finish) EQMM had lots of great mysteries.

Another series is Gene Grossman's Peter Sharp Legal Mystery series.

I don't know of any definite cozy ones, but I'd be interested too.


message 4: by Barb (new)

Barb | 704 comments I know there's some difference of opinion as to whether or not Agatha Christie's books are cozies, but the book that prompted my interest was And Then There Were None. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it :)

@Ella's Gran: I knew about the A.A. Milne book, and I'd heard of the other, but my library system doesn't have either. I never thought to look for them as ebooks, but I'll check into that, thanks!

@Jaxnsmom: I'll look into those, too. I'm not fond of hard-boiled mysteries, but I'm ok with soft-boiled, so maybe these will be 'tolerable' for me :)


message 5: by Nell (last edited Dec 30, 2012 09:56AM) (new)

Nell | 2654 comments Mod
I define cozies as Agatha Christie style mysteries. Wasn't aware there was any difference of opinion on that.

Just finished an excellent locked room mystery, Envious Casca by Georgette Heyer. Family and friends gather for Christmas holiday. The victim's body was found in a room where all the doors and windows were locked. Very clever. Guessed who-done-it, but not how.
Envious Casca by Georgette Heyer


message 6: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 20 comments I agree Nell. Cozies to me are where the crime/murder occurs 'off-stage' and is often solved with an amateur sleuth working alongside a detective. They don't usually contain graphic violence, sex, blood, guts and gore which is why I like them. Those crime thrillers that do contain the aforementioned violence etc, fall into horror for me. So okay, I know I'm a sook.

I recall reading somewhere that the cozy is the modern day Agatha Christie style mysteries, and that the locked room/Agatha styles were the inspiration for a lot of mystery/adventure stories written for children - Enid Blyton's Secret Seven, Famous Five for example (loved those as a kid).


message 7: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 30, 2012 02:41PM) (new)

His may not be considered cozies, but John Dickson Carr is considered one of the masters of the locked room/impossible mystery. I've read a couple of his books and enjoyed them. He has also written books under the name Carter Dickson.

I have The Judas Window The Judas Window by John Dickson Carr on my Kindle, waiting to be read.


message 8: by Denise (last edited Dec 30, 2012 03:17PM) (new)

Denise (dulcinea3) | 131 comments A classic Christie locked-room mystery is A Holiday for Murder (aka Hercule Poirot's Christmas, and Murder for Christmas). A Christie locked-room short story is Dead Man's Mirror, which is found in the collections Murder in the Mews, and Dead Man's Mirror.

Not sure if it's considered a cozy, but Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone is also a locked-room mystery.

Hercule Poirot's Christmas (Hercule Poirot #20) by Agatha Christie Murder in the Mews (Hercule Poirot, #18) by Agatha Christie


message 9: by Barb (new)

Barb | 704 comments Are they series books, Elizabeth? If so, what's the first in the series?


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

They are more like the Christie books, some have the same detective, but don't need to be read in order. The first of the Dr. Gideon Fell books is Hag's Nook Hag's Nook (Dr. Gideon Fell, #1) by John Dickson Carr . He has other books that are stand alones as well.


message 11: by Barb (new)

Barb | 704 comments Thanks, Elizabeth, I'll check to see if my library system might has any of them :)


message 12: by Susan (new)

Susan Oleksiw | 53 comments I always considered Agatha Christie's books traditional/cozies, but in the last thirty years or so the term cozy seems to have come to be associated mainly with the mysteries that are extremely light-hearted, not just those without onstage violence and crime.


message 13: by Barb (new)

Barb | 704 comments I think you're right, Susan. I'd add Dorothy Gilman's Mrs. Pollifax books to that same cateogry -- not a cozy, in the modern sense of the word, but definitely not a hard-boiled or detective story either.


message 14: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 14 comments I had never heard the term "locked-room" mystery before. Is it primarily the "impossible" mystery, where it seems there is no way any of them could have done it? Or just that everyone is stuck together in one location? Of the few I've read that fall under the latter description, I've really enjoyed them. It's limiting, so your brain can focus on the characters better. As far as impossible puzzles, those are great! I love anything with puzzle solving, but that doesn't necessarily mean it qualifies as a cozy. I love all the puzzle solving in the Robert Langdon mystery/thrillers, for example, but they are definitely not cozies. Figuring out historical clues are just plain fun, though, and make me feel more intelligent as I learn more about a person or time period.


message 15: by Barb (new)

Barb | 704 comments Alana wrote: "I had never heard the term "locked-room" mystery before. Is it primarily the "impossible" mystery, where it seems there is no way any of them could have done it? Or just that everyone is stuck together in one location?"

I think the "official" definition leans more toward the impossible mystery, Alana, but some of the books I've found on 'locked room' lists are the stories where everyone's stuck together in one location -- stranded during a blizzard, for example.

I've learned not to trust GR's Listopia lists, though! I just read P.D. James' Cover Her Face, which was on one of the Listopia lists for locked room mysteries. Yes, the door of the room was locked -- but there was an open window that anyone could have used to access the room *@@*


message 16: by ☯Emily (new)

☯Emily  Ginder | 1408 comments Barb wrote:
I've learned not to trust GR's Listopia lists, though! I just read P.D. James' Cover Her Face, which was on one of the Listopia lists for locked room mysteries. Yes, the door of the room was locked -- but there was an open window that anyone could have used to access the room *@@* "


Too funny!


message 17: by Susan (new)

Susan Oleksiw | 53 comments The locked-room mystery is a very specific category of crime fiction. The murder is found to have taken place in a room in which there is no obvious way in or out. The first one was Edgar Allan Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." Others followed, including "The Adventures of the Speckled Band," by A. C. Doyle. John Dickson Carr's character Dr. Gideon Fell gives a lecture on this form in The Three Coffins. This form was very popular when early crime fiction focused more on puzzles than characters and situations. There's a good discussion of this (and other topics) inThe Oxford Companion To Crime And Mystery Writing


message 18: by Barb (new)

Barb | 704 comments ☯Emily wrote: "Barb wrote:
I've learned not to trust GR's Listopia lists, though! I just read P.D. James' Cover Her Face, which was on one of the Listopia lists for locked room mysteries. Yes, the door of the room was locked -- but there was an open window that anyone could have used to access the room *@@* "

Too funny! "


Funny, yes, but also frustrating when you're trying to use one book for as many challenges as possible -- and one of those challenges calls for a locked room mystery. Even worse when that challenge is the reason you chose that particular book LOL


message 19: by Shirley (last edited Aug 31, 2013 01:59PM) (new)

Shirley (shirleythekindlereader) 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.

Librivox has a number of G. K. Chesterton as audible choices.


message 20: by Barb (new)

Barb | 704 comments I saw a lot of John Dickson Carr titles on the Listopia list for locked room mysteries, but after my experience in message #15 above, I'm not sure I can trust the books on those lists LOL I need one more for the challenge I mentioned above, and I'm hoping that Murder on the Orient Express actually *does qualify, as I've been wanting to read that one for a very long time!


message 22: by Barb (new)

Barb | 704 comments Thanks for the link, Shirley! I'll have to see which of these my library system has available -- after I figure out which are in English and not French! LOL


message 23: by DJ =^^= (new)

DJ =^^= (debzee) | 38 comments What is a locked room cozy?


message 24: by Barb (last edited Aug 31, 2013 06:31PM) (new)

Barb | 704 comments I'm not sure there are many locked room *cozies, but the definition of a locked room mystery, according to Wikipedia, is:
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.


message 25: by M. (new)

M. | 4 comments Ellery Queen's The Door Between is another locked room murder mystery. I love this type of book; I rack my brain trying to figure it out, and it often seems that the answer was right in front of me. I guess I need my clues in bright neon orange with the word 'clue' flashing repeatedly!


message 26: by Shirley (new)

Shirley (shirleythekindlereader) Completed works
Milne, A. A.. "Red House Mystery, The" · (readers)

available librivox


message 27: by Barb (new)

Barb | 704 comments Yep, Shirley, that's one of the books I read already for that challenge :) I'll look into the Ellery Queen book, M., thanks!


message 28: by Donna (new)

Donna McLean | 2 comments Hello all, I'm new here but simply had to jump in on one of my favorite subjects! This is an old book that is probably at your local library, Death Locked In. It is a collection of short stories by the best and brightest mystery writers, and a few old and obscure ones, too! I've read and re-read it a number of times (having found a good used copy).


message 29: by Barb (new)

Barb | 704 comments Thanks, Donna! My library system doesn't have it, but I've made a note to look for it next time I go to my local mystery bookstore :)


message 30: by AngryGreyCat (new)

AngryGreyCat (angrygreycatreads) | 665 comments The Circular Staircase I haven't read it yet but it is supposed to be a classic locked room mystery and it is free or at least it was free on Kindle


message 31: by ☯Emily (new)

☯Emily  Ginder | 1408 comments Fanficfan44 wrote: "The Circular Staircase I haven't read it yet but it is supposed to be a classic locked room mystery and it is free or at least it was free on Kindle"

Yes, that is definitely a locked room mystery written quite a long time ago. You can find reprints of the book at most libraries.


message 32: by Barb (new)

Barb | 704 comments According to the cataog, the only copy in our 8-library system has been withdrawn because it's damaged :( I'll add that to my list for my next trip to the mystery shop in town.


message 33: by AngryGreyCat (new)

AngryGreyCat (angrygreycatreads) | 665 comments Barb wrote: "According to the cataog, the only copy in our 8-library system has been withdrawn because it's damaged :( I'll add that to my list for my next trip to the mystery shop in town."

If you really want to read it and your shop doesn't have it you can read it on your computer for free through Gutenberg press or even amazon.


message 34: by Barb (new)

Barb | 704 comments Thanks, I'll keep that in mind :)


message 35: by Shirley (new)

Shirley (shirleythekindlereader) ☯Emily is tired of waiting for GR announcement, so now has Booklikes account. wrote: "Fanficfan44 wrote: "The Circular Staircase I haven't read it yet but it is supposed to be a classic locked room mystery and it is free or at least it was free on Kindle"

Yes, that is definitely a ..."


Librivox has a lot of Mary Roberts Rinehart as audible.


message 36: by Donna (new)

Donna McLean | 2 comments Barb wrote: "Thanks, Donna! My library system doesn't have it, but I've made a note to look for it next time I go to my local mystery bookstore :)"

I stumbled upon it at the library, read it, then found a good copy on an online auction site (are we allowed to mention names?). If you're a big fan of the classics, it is worth adding to your collection. The intro includes a description of the locked room genre and there are also bits of trivia preceding each story. Short stories don't seem to be very popular now, but I love reading them and always shop at used book stores, thrift stores, library sales, etc just to find anthologies like this one.


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