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The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries by Otto Penzler
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The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries

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The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries by Otto Penzler
Paperback $28.95
Oct 28, 2014 | ISBN 9780307743961

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    Oct 28, 2014 | ISBN 9780307743961

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“The best gift ever for the fan of mysteries impossible to solve. . . . Penzler, an acclaimed mystery writer, has a gift for bringing back talented writers from historical obscurity.”
     —The Seattle Times

“This collection delivers more than 900 pages of wonderful reading. . . . Every fan of old-time detection will want this book.”
     –The Washington Post

“Unparalleled. . . . This is the ideal bedside book for mystery fans: packed with short, challenging tales of murder and deduction, easily consumed before the eyes flicker. . . . Many of the stories are classics (and worth reading again), but there are a number of writers here whose stories aren’t well known, so there’s much to discover.”
     —Shelf Awareness

“A wide-ranging collection of the impossible. . . . This intelligently assembled anthology of 68 short stories will be catnip for fair play fans. . . . The real treat is in the revelations of the gifts at misdirection from undeservedly obscure authors such as Julian Hawthorne (Nathaniel’s son), J.E. Gurdon, Augustus Muir, and Vincent Cornier, whose ingenious work is less likely to be encountered in other anthologies.”
     –Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Connoisseurs of this eccentric, demanding form will find this an indispensable resource, a pearl beyond price.”
     –Kirkus Reviews

Table Of Contents


Table of Contents

Familiar as the rose in spring
The most popular and frequently reprinted impossible crime stories of all time

Edgar Allan Poe, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”
Jacques Futrelle, “The Problem of Cell 13”
Wilkie Collins, “A Terribly Strange Bed”
Lord Dunsany, “The Two Bottle of Relish”
G.K. Chesterton, “The Invisible Man”
Melville Davisson Post, “The Doomdorf Mystery”
Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Speckled Band”

This was the most unkindest cut of all
Stabbing in a completely sealed environment appears to be the most common murder method

John Dickson Carr, “The Wrong Problem”
William Hope Hodgson, “The Thing Invisible”
James Yaffe, “Department of Impossible Crimes”
R. Austin Freeman, “The Aluminum Dagger”
Gerald Kersh, “The Crewel Needle”
Stephen King, “The Doctor’s Case”
Manly Wade Wellman, “A Knife Between Brothers”
Joseph Commings, “The Glass Gravestone”
Edgar Jepson & Robert Eustace, “The Tea Leaf”
Peter Godfrey, “The Flung-Back Lid”
John Lutz, “The Crooked Picture”
Carter Dickson, “Blind Man’s Hood”

Footprints in the sands of time
Is there a more baffling scenario than to find a body in smooth sand (or snow) with no footprints leading to or from the victim?

Edward D. Hoch, “The Man from Nowhere”
Fredric Brown, “The Laughing Butcher”
Michael Innes, “The Sands of Thyme”
Samuel Hopkins Adams, “The Flying Death”
A.E. Martin, “The Flying Corpse”
Vincent Cornier, “The Flying Hat”

And we missed it, lost forever
It is a fantasy for many people to disappear from their present lives. Some people disappear because they want to, others disappear because someone else wants them to. And objects—large objects—sometimes disappear in the same manner.
Hugh Pentecost, “The Day the Children Vanished”
Stanley Ellin, “The Twelfth Statue”
William Irish, “All at Once, No Alice”
Edmund Crispin, “Beware of the Trains”
H.R.F. Keating, “The Locked Bathroom”
Dashiell Hammett, “Mike, Alec and Rufus”
C. Daly King, “The Episode of the Torment IV
Julian Hawthorne, “Greaves’ Disappearance”
Ellery Queen, “The House of Haunts”
J.E. Gurdon, “The Monkey Trick”
E.C. Bentley, “The Ordinary Hairpin”
Jacques Futrelle, “The Phantom Motor”
Edward D. Hoch, “The Theft of the Bermuda Penny”
Judson Philips, “Room Number Twenty-Three”

How easily is murder discovered
There are so many ways for the creative killer to accomplish the act

Lynn Wood Block & Lawrence Block, “The Burglar Who Smelled Smoke”
Augustus Muir, “The Kestar Diamond Case”
Kate Ellis, “The Odor of Sanctity”
Edward D. Hoch, “The Problem of the Old Oak Tree”
Nicholas Olde, “The Invisible Weapon”
Ray Cummings, “The Confession of Rosa Vitelli”
Stephen Barr, “The Locked Room to End Locked Rooms”

Shoot if you must
It may not be terribly original, but shooting someone tends to be pretty effective

Clayton Rawson, “Nothing Is Impossible”
Bill Pronzini, “Where Have You Gone, Sam Spade?”
G.D.I. & M.I. Cole, “In a Telephone Cabinet”
Stuart Towne, “Death Out of Thin Air”
Agatha Christie, “The Dream”
Margery Allingham, “The Border-Line Case”
Melville Davisson Post, “The Bradmoor Murder”
Leslie Charteris, “The Man Who Liked Toys”
Hulbert Footner, “The Ashcomb Poor Case”
Georges Simenon, “The Little House at Croix-Rousse”

Stolen sweets are best
How does a thief remove valuables from a closely guarded room? It seems impossible, but…

Erle Stanley Gardner, “The Bird in the Hand”
David Durham, “The Gulverbury Diamonds”
Frederick Irving Anderson, “The Fifth Tube”
MacKinlay Kantor, “The Strange Case of Steinkelwintz”
Maurice Leblanc, “Arsène Lupin in Prison”
L.T. Meade, “The Mystery of the Strong Room”
Dennis Lynds, “No Way Out”
C. Daly King, “The Episode of the Codex Curse”

One man’s poison, signor, is another’s meat
Often described as a woman’s murder weapon, poison doesn’t really care who administers it

Dorothy L. Sayers, “The Poisoned Dow ’08”
Margaret Frazer, “A Traveller’s Tale”
P.G. Wodehouse, “Death at the Excelsior”

Our final hope is flat despair
Some stories simply can’t be categorized

Martin Edwards, “Waiting for Godstow”

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