Monday, 10 April 2017

Miraculous Mysteries

Today sees the UK publication of Miraculous Mysteries, my collection of classic locked room and impossible crime mysteries for the British Library. I've always had a love of this paradoxical type of puzzle, and this book is dedicated to the memory of Bob Adey, the greatest expert on the subject, who guided me to so many hidden gems prior to his untimely death.

The first locked room detective story, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" by Poe, was a short story, and I feel that the short form is best suited to the locked room puzzle, because of the necessarily fantastic nature of most of the plots. Of course, there are some fine novels featuring impossible crimes, and John Dickson Carr wrote a bunch of them. But I see these mostly as exceptions to the general rule.

As ever, I've tried to include a range of familiar and unfamiliar authors. We all know Conan Doyle, but Grenville Robbins is long forgotten. And so too is Marten Cumberland, even though he had a long and relatively successful career. I'm very pleased too that I've been able to include a little known story by Christopher St John Sprigg that I found highly enjoyable.

I'm delighted by the initial reaction to the book, including this splendid review. It would please me enormously if this book were to sell well, since there are plenty of good classic impossible crime stories around, and I'd love to put together a follow-up volume. But that lies far in the future. Right now, I'm celebrating this book, and I hope that it provides thousands of readers with plenty of entertainment.


TomCat said...

My copy arrived today and the content looks great. You even included one of my favorite Father Brown stories, "The Miracle of Moon Crescent," which is often overlooked as a splendid locked room mystery. But what's more important is the selection of rarely anthologized stories by the likes of Cumberland, Spriggs and Robbins. Looking forward to reading those!

Do you think you'll be compiling a second anthology of impossible crime stories for the British Library? I know, I know. I haven't even read this one yet, but you can never, ever, have enough locked room mysteries to read or look forward to.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Splendid Martin - can't wait to get my hands on this (inside a hermetically sealed chamber, obviously, preferably surrounded by a mile of unbroken snow)- well done!

Dan @ The Reader is Warned said...

Really exciting news Martin.
Is there a contents list anywhere? Would love to see what's in store!

Val said...

This is going on my shopping list sounds like a lovely mix.
A good short story is a great treat and it's really nice that you are focusing on them.
I bought a nice Cyril Hare volume of short stories following your recommendation
Many Thanks!

Martin Edwards said...

TomCat, it's too early to say about a second BL volume of locked room stories, but speaking purely for myself, I think it would be viable, because there are plenty of good stories I didn't have room for this time.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Sergio. You have chosen exactly the right reading room!

Martin Edwards said...

Dan - here's my original draft list:
Margery Allingham – The Villa Marie Celeste
G K Chesterton - The Miracle of Moon Crescent
Edmund Crispin – Beware of the Trains
Marten Cumberland – The Diary of Death
Arthur Conan Doyle – The Lost Special
R Austin Freeman – The Aluminium Dagger
William Hope Hodgson – The Thing Invisible
Michael Innes – The Sands of Thyme
Nicholas Olde – The Invisible Weapon
Grenville Robbins – The Broadcast Murder
Sax Rohmer – The Case of the Tragedies in the Greek Room
Sapper – The Music Room
Dorothy L Sayers – The Haunted Policeman
Christopher St John Sprigg – Death at 8.30
E Charles Vivian – Locked In

Martin Edwards said...

Val, hope you enjoy it!

Dan @ The Reader is Warned said...

Thanks Martin,

What a great list. As TomCat said the Chesterton is a top choice, and glad to see a Crispin in there.