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Re: [GAdetection] Re: "Locked Room" mysteries

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  • Nicholas Fuller
    No, I was the one who both suggested and disliked 7 Merveilles.   Nick Long live Meyerbeer forever!  Pour cette cause sainte, j obéirai sans
    Message 1 of 12 , Jun 1, 2008
      No, I was the one who both suggested and disliked 7 Merveilles.

      Long live Meyerbeer forever!  "Pour cette cause sainte, j'obéirai sans crainte, à mon Dieu, à mon roi!"

      --- On Sat, 31/5/08, pugmire1 <pugmire1@...> wrote:

      From: pugmire1 <pugmire1@...>
      Subject: [GAdetection] Re: "Locked Room" mysteries
      To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com
      Received: Saturday, 31 May, 2008, 12:54 PM

      Much depends on the definition of "island". Is it only water that can
      create an island? What if the water has turned to ice? Why not
      unmarked snow, mud, or sand around the deceased?

      Carter Dickson's "The White Priory Murders" (1934) has a body in a
      pavilion surrounded by water which has turned to ice and then been
      covered by snow. If you allow an expanse of unmarked snow to take the
      place of a river or sea, then G.K.Chesterton' s "The Dagger With Wings"
      (1926) would qualify as perhaps the earliest island story with a caped
      figure found languishing far from any human imprint.

      If you allow an expanse of unmarked mud to qualify, then the fifth and
      sixth impossible crimes in Paul Halter's "Les Sept Merveilles du Crime
      (The Seven Wonders of Crime)" (1997) are of interest. In the former
      case the victim is found dead of thirst in a cabin in the middle of a
      sea of dried mud with an untouched carafe of water by his side; in the
      latter the victim is found stabbed to death under a pergola surrounded
      by wet mud from recent rain (although in this case the victim's
      footprints were present, so perhaps not a pure `island' puzzle).

      Moving on to expanses of unmarked sand, Carter Dickson's "Death by
      Invisible Hands" (1958) has a deceased damsel wearing a scarf on an
      unmarked beach (one of several iterations of this story). In Halter's
      "Le Chemin de la Lumiere (The Path of Light)," (2000) set in Ancient
      Crete, the deceased is found in a pavilion surrounded by unmarked sand.

      If there absolutely has to be water all the way round, then of course
      Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None" (1939) is a classic
      (although the murderer didn't actually come from the outside). Paul
      Halter set his "Le Cercle Invisible (The Invisible Circle)" (1996) on
      a peninsula cut off from the mainland by a fallen bridge, creating a
      setting very similar to that of Dame Agatha's masterpiece. The first
      murder in Halter's "The Seven Wonders of Crime" is, as Xavier says,
      set in a lighthouse surrounded by a ferocious sea (I have to say the
      friends to whom I have lent the translation are not as disappointed
      with the solution as was Xavier).

      The most extraordinary island mystery of all, however, must surely
      have been set by Halter in his "Le Tigre Borgne (The One-Eyed Tiger)"
      (2004), set in India in the British Raj of the 1870's. A prince's life
      has been threatened and he is due to die at midnight. He has taken
      refuge in a room at the top of his palace set in a crocodile-infested
      lake. There is no window in the room except for a viewing aperture
      three feet wide and one foot high. His only companion is a pet rat.
      The room is accessed from a courtyard guarded by a baby elephant, but
      to reach it one must pass through three doors, the first of which is a
      massive external door whose bolts are so stiff the strongest man can
      neither knock it down nor move the bolts by reaching through the tiny
      side window. At the top of the stairs is an ante-chamber, also with a
      locked door. Finally, the internal bronze door to the prince's room
      has a lock for which only one copy of the key exists, which is always
      on the royal person.

      A squad of hand-picked royal guards patrols the perimeter of the
      palace at a frequency which makes it impossible to climb the sheer
      walls of the palace without detection. A larger squad patrols the
      banks of the lake. And, just in case all the foregoing is too easy,
      there's another tower thirty feet away in the lake, from the top of
      which a limited view into the prince's room is possible. A witness
      perched there sees a scuffle between two figures, one of which then
      vanishes, and the prince's body is found with a knife in its back
      shortly thereafter. Every door is, of course, locked on the inside.

      Hint: The butler didn't do it. Neither did the tea-wallah.


      --- In GAdetection@ yahoogroups. com, "vegetableduck" <cjevans@... > wrote:

      > I'm rather intrigued with this idea, expressed in "The Lighthouse"
      > review, that an island can be a "locked room." To be technically
      > accurate, that means the novel would have to revolve around an island
      > where a murdered person is found and it's believed there was no way
      > for anyone to have gotten on the island to commit the murder. Has
      > there ever been a book like that?

      Get the name you always wanted with the new y7mail email address.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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