So, earlier this week I put up this post lamenting the poor selection of stories for a ‘new’ locked room anthology edited by David Stuart Davies. In response, the internet’s resident doyen of all things locked room, TomCat over at Beneath the Stains of Time, put up this post suggesting an alternative list of equally out-of-copyright stories suggested by a look through Robert Adey’s Locked Room Murders. To wit:
I arranged an alternative line-up of fifteen titles for Classic Locked Room Mysteries or a hypothetical, non-existent anthology, called Ye Olde Book of Locked Room Conundrums…
To cut a long story short, I am currently engaged in making this hypothetical, non-existent athology somewhat less hypothetical and rather more-existent, scouring the internet to collect these public domain stories into one document — electronic only, sorry Sergio — that I will then make freely available to anyone who wishes to read them. The stories included will hopefully be:
- ‘Rhampsinitus and the Thief’ (c. 440 BC) – Herodotus
- ‘The Spectre of Presburg: A Hungarian Tale’ (1818) – Anne and Annabella Plumptre
- ‘The Diamond Lens’ (1858) – Fitz-James O’Brien
- ‘The Black Pearl’ (1888) – Victorien Sardou
- ‘The Case of Roger Carboyne’ (1892) – H. Greenbough Smith
- ‘The Suicide of Kiaros’ (1897) – L. Frank Baum
- ‘The Lost Special’ (1898) – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- ‘The Mystery of the Circular Chamber’ (1898) – L.T. Meade and R. Eustace
- ‘The Mystery of the Locked Room’ (1905) – Tom Gallon
- ‘Plague of Ghosts’ (1907) – Rafael Sabatini
- ‘The Mystery of the Flaming Phantom’ (1907) – Jacques Futrelle
- ‘The Unseen Hand’ (1908) – M. McDonnell Bodkin
- ‘The Round Room Horror’ (1911) – A. Demain Grange
- ‘The Mystery of Howard Romaine’ (1917) – Herbert Beerbohm Tree
- ‘Flashlights’ (1918) – Laurence Clark
16 thoughts on “#119: An Undertaking – Ye Olde Book of Locked Room Conundrums”
haha I love the sketch at the top. Where does that come from?
Great idea by the way for producing your own anthology. Not that familiar with the ones you’ve chosen so I’d definitely read it. You should also definitely write an introduction to it!
P.S. Well done Tom Cat on the cover, it’s great!
Yeah, the sketch was something that I found online. Weirdly it shouldn’t be showing up, though, but I think I’ve fixed that now.
Full credit for the selection of these stories goes to TomCat — I’m simply taking advantage of that excellent work to try and collate them since I’m the one who complained in the first place! And for an introduction I feel I should read them all, but it’s already 100 pages with five stories to find, so I think that may be beyond me. Never say never, though…
What can I say? We’re pretty awesome!
It’s still kind of sad that a bunch of plucky bloggers are slapping together a better and (historically) more interesting anthology of locked room mysteries than a professional writer with a big publisher behind him.
This is a great idea and, as a fan of the short story format, I’d love to read the finished collection. Much kudos to all involved. Just goes to show that a project initiated out of love for the genre can have far more resonance than a collection cobbled together to make a fast buck. Which ones are you still searching for?
We’re still looking for Grange’s “The Round Room Horror” and Tree’s
“The Mystery of Howard Romaine.”
Tree’s The Mystery of Howard Romaine.is available in his collection Nothing Matters And Other Stories. Only a limited number of new and used copies of this book are available.
It may be very difficult to get Grange’;s The Round Room Horror since it seems to have been published only once in the obscure and defunct magazine Everybody’s Story Magazine (March 1911 issue)
I now have a copy of Nothing Matters and Other Stories…Santosh, my sincere thanks once again. Feeling rather like a detective doing this, it’s rather fun!
I also don’t have the text for ‘Flashlights’ by Laurence Clarke in a usable format — that is to say, one that I can easily export and turn into a written document. And I’m struggling with a conversion of ‘The Spectre of Presburg’ for…reasons. And I’m going to have to type up Tom Gallon’s story from the Chicago Tribune website, too it seems, as there’s no other version of that anywhere. Still, I love a challenge…!
The Spectre Of Presburg is the first story of the book Tales Of Wonder, Of Humour And Of Sentiment Volume 2. I suggest you download the epub version of this book from Google books (available free), then copy and paste the relevant text on to a word document and finally make the necessary modifications (changing the font size, deleting the gaps between the words etc).
Regarding the other two stories, there do not seem to be any alternative to typing them out.
Great minds, Santosh, great minds — am currently engaged in doing exactly that! Is gonna take a while, mind…
This sounds really good! Thanks to all going to so much work for us greedy readers. You’re champs!
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Great idea JJ and TomCat. If you can scan the pages of the tricky stories, there are free OCR applications on the web which will then turn them into text that’s 95%ish OK. It’s then just a mega-proofing job. If you guys then fancy turning this into a ‘proper’ ebook, I think I can help with that.
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