I don’t really do news, but am very excited to learn that one of the forthcoming titles the British Library will be including in its increasingly excellent Crime Classics collection is Anthony Wynne’s 1931 impossible crime novel Murder of a Lady (a.k.a. The Silver Scale Mystery). It’s a locked room of some repute, and has been preposterously hard to find for many a year now – I’ve not read it myself, and so am doubly excited that it’s being brought back. Everyone’s favourite rainforest-named internet retailer has the following synopsis:
Duchlan Castle is a gloomy, forbidding place in the Scottish Highlands. Late one night the body of Mary Gregor, sister of the laird of Duchlan, is found in the castle. She has been stabbed to death in her bedroom – but the room is locked from within and the windows are barred. The only tiny clue to the culprit is a silver fish’s scale, left on the floor next to Mary’s body. Inspector Dundas is dispatched to Duchlan to investigate the case. The Gregor family and their servants are quick – perhaps too quick – to explain that Mary was a kind and charitable woman. Dundas uncovers a more complex truth, and the cruel character of the dead woman continues to pervade the house after her death. Soon further deaths, equally impossible, occur, and the atmosphere grows ever darker. Superstitious locals believe that fish creatures from the nearby waters are responsible; but luckily for Inspector Dundas, the gifted amateur sleuth Eustace Hailey is on the scene, and unravels a more logical solution to this most fiendish of plots.Anthony Wynne wrote some of the best locked-room mysteries from the golden age of British crime fiction.This cunningly plotted novel – one of Wynne’s finest – has never been reprinted since 1931, and is long overdue for rediscovery.
9 thoughts on “#26: British Library Crime Classics republishing Murder of a Lady (1931) by Anthony Wynne!”
Being a fan of impossible crime stories, I am also very pleased.
I hope they also publish The Case Of The Gold Coins, also an impossible crime novel and regarded as his masterpiece.
Of the 28 novels of the author, as many as 16 belong to the impossible crime genre.
Thanks, Santosh – Wynne’s sheer unavailability dissuaded me from researching him too greatly, but it’s interesting to learn he wrote so many locked rooms. Here’s hoping Martin Edwards has a soft spot for him and encourages the British Library to republish some more. They’ve done several Farjeons, two Freeman Wills Crofts and appear to have a couple of Miles Burton books coming, too, so it’s not beyond hope…
I love that they’re re-releasing these collections and titles. There was a Christmas themed one on Netgalley recently and for some reason I didn’t request it. Wish I had now – am in the mood for some vicarious festive murdering. Might have to do Poirot’s Christmas pudding one for my December edition of Mondays are for Murder.
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Fantastic news – hurrah:)
I think of all the British Library Crime Classics reprints, this is the one I’m most keen to get my hands on! I read a review by TomCat at Moonlight-Detective, and was delighted to discover that it will be out in January… 🙂
Great news! I’ll echo the sentiment for republication of The Case of the Golden Coins and glad to read my review helped whet everyone’s appetite.
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Oh, great my comment finally appeared, as “your comment is awaiting moderation,” because none of the previous ones I attempted to post on previous posted seemed to appear. And I tried it from multiple devices. The trick appears to have been to remove my blog adress from the website section. Ah well.
Haha, not sure what to tell you – I’ve just seen two emails asking me to moderate these two comments, though, so you should be up and running now; welcome aboard!
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