Locked Room Mysteries

I LOVE a good locked room mystery! How did the killer manage to sneak into a locked room, commit a crime, and then sneak out again? It makes for great reading and adds an additional layer to the mystery. Usually, the question is who committed the murder, and why. Now, we have the added intrigue of how.

The answer will almost always surprise you.

The Mystery of the Yellow Room is one of the first mysteries that I fell in love with. Written by the same author who penned The Phantom of the Opera, this classic whodunnit features the detective Joseph Rouletabille. The murder in this case was only attempted. A young woman is heard screaming in her locked room, and when the door is broken down, she’s discovered on the floor, her hair matted with blood. But, how could the criminal have entered the room, attacked her, and then escaped, if the only entrance/exit was locked the entire time?

In Murder of a Lady, Mary Gregor is found dead in Duchlan castle. She’s been stabbed–in her locked bedroom. The only clue to her killer’s identity is a silver fish scale left beside her body. When Inspector Dundas is sent to investigate, Mary’s family tells him about how Mary was a kind, sympathetic, and deeply caring person. But, as his investigation heats up, he learns that there was a darker side to the victim, who was not nearly as innocent as her family wants him to believe.

The Chinese Orange Mystery leaves us with a handful of tantalizing clues: an unknown caller found dead in an empty waiting room, a room turned completely backwards and upside down (even the victim’s clothes are on backwards!), two spears sticking out of the dead man’s shirt, and a missing tangerine in the fruit bowl. What can it all mean?

If you’re not just looking for one locked room mystery, but want a whole assortment to binge-read, then I suggest checking out The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked Room Mysteries. Treat yourself to 900+ pages “impossible” crimes. The collection contains contributions from a whole host of literary greats, including Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, PG Wodehouse, and Stephen King.

This last title, Now You See Me isn’t exactly a locked-room novel per se, but it still fits the theme: a murder was committed in an enclosed space and in seemingly impossible circumstances. Six college students go on a boat ride through Standedge Tunnel, the longest tunnel in England. Two and a half hours later, the boat comes out on the other side–with only one student and the dog–the rest have disappeared. Matthew McConnell claims that he was unconscious when he emerged from the tunnel, and that it was too dark to see what was happening while he was awake. But, the police think that he killed his friends and hid the bodies. So, the question remains: what really happened on that fateful boat ride?

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Erin

I'm the Reader's Advisory Librarian at WPPL. My interests include old horror films, classic novels, manga and anime, paper-crafting, and plants. If you like my suggestions, you can request personalized recommendations from me on My Librarian page.