Thursday, August 6, 2015

"It May Not Be Terribly Original, but Shooting Someone Tends to Be Pretty Effective"

Edited by Otto Penzler (born 1942).
Anthology: 68 stories.
Vintage Crime.
2014. 941 pages (TPB).
For sale HERE.
The word "definitive" is often loosely tossed around to designate a book, but Otto Penzler's universally praised locked-room anthology comes close to being just that; in "Resources" below you'll find a large number of reviewers who agree. A few of the stories are in the public domain, and we've supplied links to those (with no guarantee they'll still be there). Your best bet, though, is to buy this book.


Familiar as the rose in spring.
The most popular and frequently reprinted impossible crime stories of all time.

(1) Edgar Allan Poe, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” [online HERE]
(2) Jacques Futrelle, “The Problem of Cell 13″ [online HERE]
(3) Wilkie Collins, “A Terribly Strange Bed” [online HERE]
(4) Lord Dunsany, “The Two Bottles of Relish” [review HERE]
(5) G. K. Chesterton, “The Invisible Man” [online HERE]
(6) Melville Davisson Post, “The Doomdorf Mystery” [online HERE, PDF]
(7) Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Speckled Band” [online HERE]
This was the most unkindest cut of all.
Stabbing in a completely sealed environment appears to be the most common murder method.

(8) John Dickson Carr, “The Wrong Problem”
(9) William Hope Hodgson, “The Thing Invisible” [online HERE]
(10) James Yaffe, “Department of Impossible Crimes”
(11) R. Austin Freeman, “The Aluminum Dagger” [online HERE]
(12) Gerald Kersh, “The Crewel Needle” [brief review HERE]
(13) Stephen King, “The Doctor’s Case” [online HERE, PDF]
(14) Manly Wade Wellman, “A Knife Between Brothers” [briefly discussed HERE]
(15) Joseph Commings, “The Glass Gravestone” [more about Commings's stories HERE]
(16) Edgar Jepson & Robert Eustace, “The Tea Leaf” [online HERE]
(17) Peter Godfrey, “The Flung-Back Lid” [mentioned in passing HERE]
(18) John Lutz, “The Crooked Picture”
(19) Carter Dickson, “Blind Man’s Hood”
Footprints in the sands of time.
Is there a more baffling scenario than to find a body in smooth sand (or snow) with no footprints leading to or from the victim?

(20) Edward D. Hoch, “The Man from Nowhere” [a Simon Ark bibliography HERE]
(21) Fredric Brown, “The Laughing Butcher” [review HERE]
(22) Michael Innes, “The Sands of Thyme” [online HERE]
(23) Samuel Hopkins Adams, “The Flying Death” [online HERE]
(24) A. E. Martin, “The Flying Corpse”
(25) Vincent Cornier, “The Flying Hat”
And we missed it, lost forever.
It is a fantasy for many people to disappear from their present lives. Some people disappear because they want to, others disappear because someone else wants them to. And objects—large objects—sometimes disappear in the same manner.

(26) Hugh Pentecost, “The Day the Children Vanished” [brief discussion HERE]
(27) Stanley Ellin, “The Twelfth Statue” [review HERE]
(28) William Irish, “All at Once, No Alice”
(29) Edmund Crispin, “Beware of the Trains” [part of a review HERE]
(30) H.R.F. Keating, “The Locked Bathroom”
(31) Dashiell Hammett, “Mike, Alec and Rufus”
(32) C. Daly King, "The Episode of the Torment IV" [mentioned in a review HERE]
(33) Julian Hawthorne, “Greaves’ Disappearance” [online HERE]
(34) Ellery Queen, “The House of Haunts” [review HERE]
(35) J. E. Gurdon, “The Monkey Trick”
(36) E. C. Bentley, “The Ordinary Hairpin”
(37) Jacques Futrelle, “The Phantom Motor” [online HERE]
(38) Edward D. Hoch, “The Theft of the Bermuda Penny” [modi operandi of both author and thief discussed HERE]
(39) Judson Philips, “Room Number Twenty-Three”

How easily is murder discovered.
There are so many ways for the creative killer to accomplish the act.

(40) Lynn Wood Block & Lawrence Block, “The Burglar Who Smelled Smoke” [author's notes HERE]
(41) Augustus Muir, “The Kestar Diamond Case”
(42) Kate Ellis, “The Odor of Sanctity”
(43) Edward D. Hoch, “The Problem of the Old Oak Tree” [briefly dealt with HERE]
(44) Nicholas Olde, “The Invisible Weapon” [also collected elsewhere; go HERE]
(45) Ray Cummings, “The Confession of Rosa Vitelli”
(46) Stephen Barr, “The Locked Room to End Locked Rooms”

Shoot if you must.
It may not be terribly original, but shooting someone tends to be pretty effective.

(47) Clayton Rawson, “Nothing Is Impossible”
(48) Bill Pronzini, “Where Have You Gone, Sam Spade?” [part of a review HERE]
(49) G.D.I. & M.I. Cole, “In a Telephone Cabinet”
(50) Stuart Towne, “Death Out of Thin Air” [see the review HERE]
(51) Agatha Christie, “The Dream” [very brief reviews HERE]
(52) Margery Allingham, “The Border-Line Case” [see the diagram HERE]
(53) Melville Davisson Post, “The Bradmoor Murder”
(54) Leslie Charteris, “The Man Who Liked Toys” [this one was filmed; see HERE]
(55) Hulbert Footner, “The Ashcomb Poor Case” [online HERE]
(56) Georges Simenon, “The Little House at Croix-Rousse”
Stolen sweets are best.
How does a thief remove valuables from a closely guarded room? It seems 
impossible, but . . .

(57) Erle Stanley Gardner, “The Bird in the Hand” [part of the discussion HERE]
(58) David Durham, “The Gulverbury Diamonds”
(59) Frederick Irving Anderson, “The Fifth Tube” [briefly discussed HERE]
(60) MacKinlay Kantor, “The Strange Case of Steinkelwintz” ["a poor-man's Sherlock Holmes"; go HERE]
(61) Maurice Leblanc, “Arsène Lupin in Prison” [online HERE]
(62) L. T. Meade, “The Mystery of the Strong Room” [online HERE]
(63) Dennis Lynds, “No Way Out”
(64) C. Daly King, “The Episode of the Codex Curse” [included in the discussion HERE]
One man’s poison, signor, is another’s meat.
Often described as a woman’s murder weapon, poison doesn’t really care who administers it.

(65) Dorothy L. Sayers, “The Poisoned Dow ’08″ [online HERE]
(66) Margaret Frazer, “A Traveller’s Tale”
(67) P. G. Wodehouse, “Death at the Excelsior” [online HERE]

Our final hope is flat despair.
Some stories simply can’t be categorized.

(68) Martin Edwards, “Waiting for Godstow”

~ This book has attracted a lot of attention. We can't add any more to what these reviewers have already said:
- At Goodreads HERE.
- At Kirkus HERE.
- At Shelf Awareness HERE.
- At Mysterious Reviews HERE.
- At Biographile HERE.
- At Beneath the Stains of Time in 7 parts HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.
- . . . and very extensively (8 parts) at The Locked Room Mystery starting HERE.

Category: Locked-room mysteries

No comments:

Post a Comment