The Readers Review: Literature from 1714 to 1910 discussion

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2018/19 Group Reads - Archives > The Mystery of the Yellow Room - Week 3

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message 1: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
If you haven’t finished the book, please do not read the thread as there will be spoilers.

The curtain had been pulled back, and the mysteries explained.

Do you think the so,unions are plausible?

What did you think of the solution?


message 2: by Madge UK (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2933 comments What struck me about the book as a whole was how modern the plot was, which shows that most detection mysteries that followed were borrowing from this one, 'standing on the shoulders of giants' as the saying goes.


message 3: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
Madge UK wrote: "What struck me about the book as a whole was how modern the plot was, which shows that most detection mysteries that followed were borrowing from this one, 'standing on the shoulders of giants' as ..."

I agree. It could have been written today as a historical mystery.


message 4: by Andry (new)

Andry Actually I hoped for a "better" solution:

- Has she abandoned her child?
- Why Rouletabille let a "murderer" escape? He was a notorious criminal and not an innocent man...
- Also I find difficult to imagine that everybody should listen to a 18 yo boy when you have the police and a famous detective (Larsan) at your place (I mean when he gives orders to everybody in the house as what they need to do without explanations)


message 5: by Madge UK (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2933 comments The child was left with the aunt who helped her, not an unusual scenario in those times.

I think he let him escape because bringing the case to trial would have exposed the affair and illegitemacy thus destroying Mdme's reputation.

I found the youth of Rouletabille the most unbelievable part of the story and wondered if his character was based on some young and famous person of the day.


message 6: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2939 comments Mod
I thought the ending was a bit of a let-down myself. I figured out that someone was impersonating Darzac, but I had no idea it was Larsan.
I think the main reason he let Larsan get away was to help Mlle S. But isn't she technically still married to Larsan/B.?
I thought her an unsatisfactory character. She would rather die than have her reputation ruined? But if she was legally married, why did it matter so much?


message 7: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
Rosemarie wrote: "I thought the ending was a bit of a let-down myself. I figured out that someone was impersonating Darzac, but I had no idea it was Larsan.
I think the main reason he let Larsan get away was to hel..."


Yes she’s still married. Her loss of reputation would ostracize she and her father from society, and may impune their scientific work.

Regarding his age. Weren’t young people considered adult earlier than what we consider?


message 8: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
Do you think the solution was fair play?


message 9: by Brian E (last edited May 21, 2018 01:52PM) (new)

Brian E Reynolds | 754 comments I too was letdown by the answers to the key questions :
1) How did the 'murderer' get out of a closed room? He didn't, since the event actually happened when the room was not "closed."
2) Who did it ? None of the suspects, but some notorious evil doer in disguise as the detective.

While I don't read many murder mysteries, these resolutions seem too typical, though I understand maybe not typical at the time of this novel. Even if atypical, they still seemed more like cop-outs than clever resolutions.

I also never believed Rouletabille as an 18 year old even though the author says he was. I chose to picture him as a 25 year old disguised as 18, like Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed. if the author can use a disguise for his resolution then I can too.

Letting the killer go to escape justice, I oppose but can forgive. However, letting him go to possibly kill a further victim is not forgivable and is arrogantly despicable.

For all that, I still enjoyed the book and story.


message 10: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
Brian wrote: "I too was letdown by the answers to the key questions :
1) How did the 'murderer' get out of a closed room? He didn't, since the event actually happened when the room was not "closed."
2) Who did i..."


One thing not typically found in mysteries is the inspector did it


message 11: by Brian E (new)

Brian E Reynolds | 754 comments Yes, Deborah, maybe if it had been an actual inspector turned bad and not a famed notorious criminal who only assumes the guise of an inspector, though he did have to do the long con to get hired as an inspector. They need better background checks in their HR department.


message 12: by Lori, Moderator (new)

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1435 comments Mod
I also felt the ending fell flat a little bit.

About R.'s age, I guess it's so he could be young enough to be Mlle. S.'s son.

As Rosemarie pointed out, she is still married, so I guess she still couldn't marry Darzac. (Or did it say she married him at the end? I forget.)

I suspected Larsen for a moment somewhere in the middle of the book, but felt it was implausible (unless he is Spiderman, I still do).


message 13: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
So was the book still worth reading?


message 14: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2939 comments Mod
I enjoyed the book overall, especially the first part. I feel that the ending didn't live up to the rest of the book, and Rouletabille got on my nerves at times.
I am glad I read it, since I do enjoy a non-gory mystery for a fun read.


message 15: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1933 comments Mod
Agreed-while the book itself was a 2-3 star for me on its own merits, I enjoyed seeing an early form of the mystery novel, as I enjoy a lot of the Golden Age mysteries up to very modern (non-gory) ones.


message 16: by Brian E (new)

Brian E Reynolds | 754 comments My feeling toward the book is similar to my feeling toward the The Moonstone. While I may have found the final resolution a bit silly and a cop-out, the contemporary reader probably didn't, and the overall story is still worth my while, especially considering the importance of the story in the development of the detective/mystery genre. With this book, I also learned about the locked-room subgenre.


message 17: by Lori, Moderator (new)

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1435 comments Mod
It was worth reading. I gave it 3 stars.

I gave The Moonstone 5. It was plausible to me and well written.


message 18: by Andry (new)

Andry Deborah wrote: "So was the book still worth reading?"

Yes, it was worth of course. I liked much more the first part anyway: I remember it happened the same with The Phantom of the Opera...must be a Leroux's peculiarity


message 19: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
I too enjoyed it, and am happy I read it. As many of you have mentioned, the reader of that time would be more surprised by the ending. I found it not as creative as the Sherlock stories, but still fun.


message 20: by Andry (new)

Andry By the way...the mutton bone? Ms Stangerson was strangled in the afternoon, than she slipped on the bedside table, so what? I really don't understand the presence of this button-bone in her room


message 21: by Madge UK (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2933 comments A red herring? A staple of detective stories


message 22: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
Madge UK wrote: "A red herring? A staple of detective stories"

Definitely a red herring. But also didn’t it say he had used a mutton bone before?


message 23: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2939 comments Mod
I remember reading that he had used the mutton bone before.


message 24: by Linda (new)

Linda | 230 comments I finally finished this morning. What a whirlwind of an ending, I had not suspected Larsen for a second so that was a surprise. Like others mentioned, I felt a bit let down at the ending too. For me, the reason was that there was an entire backstory that was not revealed until the very end. Specifically, the introduction of a "new" character of the swindler who was, in fact, Larsen. Also, that Rouletabille always kept his thoughts to himself until the reveal at the courthouse, was sometimes frustrating to me.

I guess now it is clear why Larsen didn't need to inspect the Yellow Room for clues and instead was down at the lake for extended periods of time - he needed to plant the evidence of the footprints. I do like how Rouletabille's suspicion fell on Larsen during the murderer's disappearance in the gallery once he realized that the murderer had to be one of the five people present.

I was a bit confused at the end with all the details thrown at me at once. I'm not sure exactly how Arthur Ranse fit into the picture? I thought it was mentioned that he was also in love with Mlle S, or am I remembering wrong?

Also, the fact that Mlle S had a child, how does that fit in to the overall story, or was it simply a detail thrown in? Lori mentioned the possibility of the child actually being Rouletabille.

I'm glad I read this, but I did enjoy the first half more than the resolution. I am rating it 3 stars.


message 25: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2939 comments Mod
I gave it three stars as well.


message 26: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "I finally finished this morning. What a whirlwind of an ending, I had not suspected Larsen for a second so that was a surprise. Like others mentioned, I felt a bit let down at the ending too. For m..."

It did get a bit confusing at the end. Did you feel it was fair play for the reader? Where there enough clues that it could have been solved by the reader?


message 27: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2939 comments Mod
I thought that throwing in the fact that Larsan was in reality someone else not fair play. The only time he did anything really suspicious was regarding the walking stick, which really wasn't much of a clue to show that he was the assailant.


message 28: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
Rosemarie wrote: "I thought that throwing in the fact that Larsan was in reality someone else not fair play. The only time he did anything really suspicious was regarding the walking stick, which really wasn't much ..."

I tend to agree with you. There should have been more of a hint of a second identity


message 29: by Linda (new)

Linda | 230 comments I agree with both you and Rosemarie, Deborah. I was surprised that essentially a new character was thrown in at the end because that made it impossible for the reader to make an educated guess as to who the murderer was.


message 30: by Robin P, Moderator (last edited May 28, 2018 06:52PM) (new)

Robin P | 2227 comments Mod
I have the same feelings, that the end was a bit of a letdown and a trick. The nightmare that caused her to fall was a bit much. Larsan was a famous investigator so he must have been doing well as an impostor ("it takes a thief. . ") The way Rouletabille shows up and takes over the court is also pretty unlikely.

Still like the rest of you I enjoyed this early example. There were several false trails such as the Green Man. I would give it 3 stars, the same as The Moonstone. On the other hand, in The Woman in White, when I was listening to the audiobook, I actually gasped aloud at an unexpected turn in the story.

Mlle Stangerson doesn't have any personality, which isn't surprising considering Phantom of the Opera. I admit I haven't read it, only seen the movie, and I couldn't stand how the heroine had no agency ever, just drifted into men's control. Here she does have the backbone to stage a whole scenario in order to cover up the truth.


message 31: by Deborah, Moderator (last edited May 28, 2018 07:13PM) (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
Robin wrote: "I have the same feelings, that the end was a bit of a letdown and a trick. The nightmare that caused her to fall was a bit much. Larsan was a famous investigator so he must have been doing well as ..."

I also enjoy stronger female characters and tend to be drawn to authors who write those


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