#148: So, Like, What Is an Impossible Crime or a Locked Room Mystery?


Recent experiences of reading Darkness at Pemberley by T.H. White and What a Body! by Alan Green  — oh my days, I’ve only just noticed that they’re both named after colours… — have made me wonder on the above question.  See, both are listed here, on a compendium of the best ever locked room mysteries voted on by an international collection of people who know about this stuff, and both are listed here, on a rundown of the favourite locked room mysteries by resident blogosphere expert TomCat…yet personally, in the face of public opinion from such well-informed and respected sources, I’m reluctant to consider either of them as locked room mysteries.  Even taking my famously contrary nature out of the equation…what the hell?

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#147: What a Body! (1949) by Alan Green

what-a-bodyI dunno, I’m starting to think it’s me.  For the second time in just over a month — the first being with T.H. White’s Darkness at Pemberley — I’ve read a novel famed for its impossible murder plot and come away going “Well, yeah, but that’s not really an impossible crime, though, is it.”  The shooting of millionaire health guru Merlin Broadstone on the fourth floor of his hotel on his exclusive island health farm  presents a couple of interesting points, but the fact that he was shot through an open window and that an obvious deduction is ignored for pretty much the entire duration of the case precludes any impossibility in my mind.  One perplexing occurrence and the characters failing to consider a particular set of circumstances doesn’t make it an impossible crime.  Maybe I’m too narrow-minded, but this doesn’t fly for me.

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