Regular visitors to this blog know that stories about crimes committed inside locked-and-bolted rooms, or other impossible locations such as murders where the killer left no footprints in the snow, are among my favorites.
One of the panel discussions at the recently-concluded Bouchercon in Long Beach this year was "Murder in a Locked Room: Solving the 'Perfect' Crime." Moderated by Bill Gottfried, the panel of authors included Janet Dawson, Jeffery Deaver, Laurie R. King, Marvin Lachman and Gigi Pandian. Those of us who attended the discussion were given a list of recommended locked room books for our own reading pleasure. It is NOT all-inclusive - it is intended as a starter-guide and contains some of the panel's favorites. Bill Gottfried kindly allowed me to put it here for my readers.
Here are their suggested books with links, where available, to Amazon; if you have a local bookstore, PLEASE let them get it for you or find you a second-hand copy:
- Edmund Crispin, The Moving Toyshop
- John Dickson Carr, The Burning Court
- John Dickson Carr, The Crooked Hinge
- John Dickson Carr, The Three Coffins (published in the U.K. as The Hollow Man) - it contains Carr's famous "locked room lecture"
- Carter Dickson (Carr's pseudonym), The Judas Window
- Carter Dickson, A Graveyard to Let
- Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four
- Paul Halter, The Invisible Circle
- Keigo Higashino, Malice
- Gaston Leroux, The Mystery of the Yellow Room
- Ellery Queen, The Chinese Orange Mystery
- Ellery Queen, The Door Between
- Clayton Rawson, Death from a Top Hat
- Daniel Stashower, The Dime Museum Murders
Again, that's far from an inclusive list. Personally, I would add Hake Talbot's brilliant and frightening Rim of the Pit and another "Carter Dickson," The Plague Court Murders. Also The Burning Court isn't one of my favorites, and there are a couple on there I don't know - yet. And for those who would like to start (or finish) with some short stories about impossible crimes, I would have to add the newly-published The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original), edited and with an introduction by Otto Penzler, which includes 937 pages-worth of classic locked room mysteries. According to the front cover, it is "the most complete collection of impossible-crime stories ever assembled." I'm looking forward to cold winter nights and a lot of locked doors.