Friday, April 11, 2014

What Is A Locked Room Mystery?

Hi, and welcome to The Locked Room! I'm PJ, and I'll be your host for this morning / afternoon / evening's bout of mystery related procrastination.

Impossible crime stories are seeing a bit of a renaissance at the moment, with shows like BBC's Sherlock demonstrating that there is still a huge appetite for the genre. The late 1800's and early 1900's (fondly known as "The Golden Age of Detective Fiction" by those who seem to forget the two world wars or any other global event that more adequately describes an age) saw a surge in popularity of the format and produced many of the now classic tales.

Featuring exclusive content from the upcoming novel "The Locked Room", I plan to fill this site with discussions on the genre, reviews of books / TV shows / movies that feature impossible crimes or related concepts, as well as my own experiences writing mystery stories. I'll say now that I am a somewhat fickle creature so plans are subject to change, re-interpretation or being forgotten entirely.

What is a locked room mystery?

Let's get the basics out of the way first so that there can be some hope that my future commentary may be somewhat intelligible.

Locked room mysteries and impossible crime stories are a subset of detective fiction. The plots generally involve an event or crime that seems to have occurred outside of what is physically possible. The locked room conundrum - a body is found alone inside a locked room with no possible escape route for their attacker - is generally the most popular of these and the various solutions provide some of the greatest examples of the genre.

"The Locked Room" by Tom Gauld

The genre has a really good Wikipedia page, which covers the general concept, history and various examples if you're interested. Whoever wrote that has far more (a) knowledge, and (b) dedication than me so if you're looking to do some serious research then it's definitely a good place to start.

There are also a few other fan pages which you're welcome to check out, as long as you don't forget about yours truly. John Pugmire's site LockedRoomInternational features some interesting articles (and also mentions that he fathered the current Wikipedia page - see above), as well as suggested reading. If that's what you're after then Hal White lists some of the best stories available (Hal has also written "The Mysteries of Reverend Dean" which features a more modern take on the genre featuring a retired pastor - an interesting read and maybe something I'll review in full at a later date), as has Moonlight Detective and GoodReads. I've never gotten round to creating my own list, but plan to at some stage (fickle creature, remember). For the moment I would heartily recommend that you read the rest of this site.

So there you have it - a somewhat hasty introduction to me, my site, and my topic of choice. Feel free to post suggestions or hurl abuse in the comments.

Until next time.


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