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The Quilty Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

Reading progress update: I've read 82 out of 359 pages.

Miraculous Mysteries: Locked Room Mysteries and Impossible Crimes (British Library Crime Classics) - Martin Edwards

I decided to read this one for the "Locked Room Mystery" square. I'm not sure if I'll read all of the stories, or just pick and choose, but I decided to start at the very beginning!


1. The Lost Special by Arthur Conan Doyle: This is not one of the Holmes stories and was published during the time that the public believed Holmes to be dead from the incident at Reichenbach Falls. It is a clever story about a train that simply disappears one day, never to be seen again.


I was exhausted last night, so this was as far as I got in the stories. Looking at the TOC, there are a total of 16 stories, with enticing titles like "Beware of the Trains" and "Too Clever By Half." Next up is The Thing Invisible by William Hope Hodgson.


2. The Thing Invisible: this was an "impossible crime" more than a locked room mystery. It wasn't bad, but it also wasn't great. 


3. The Case of the Tragedies in the Greek Room: Wow, was this story ever terrible! It had a vaguely supernatural solution, and some absolutely awful purple prose:


‘Mr. Coram,’ he continued, ‘I am an old fool who sometimes has wise dreams. Crime has been the hobby of a busy life. I have seen crime upon the Gold Coast, where the black fever it danced in the air above the murdered one like a lingering soul, and I have seen blood flow in Arctic Lapland, where it was frozen up into red ice almost before it left the veins. Have I your permit to see if I can help?’


All of us, the police included, were strangely impressed now.


They may have been "strangely impressed." I was not.


 4. The Aluminum Dagger: At last we come to our first legitimate "locked room mystery," this one involves a victim who was stabbed while locked in his room on the second floor. A very fine, albeit semi-implausible solution.


5. The Miracle of Moon Crescent: This is a Father Brown tale, set in the United States. This one had quite a complicated solution, and I certainly didn't guess what happened to the victim! I liked the writing in this one quite a lot.


6. The Invisible Weapon: This is a very locked room mystery, with a pretty common solution. I liked it - the author got straight to the point.