Better Lock the Door

Tag: John Dickson Carr

Under Lock and Skeleton Key Review

by Tim Suddeth

A Secret Staircase Mystery by Gigi Pandian

Under Lock and Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian

Under Lock and Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian (2022, Minotaur Books) is the debut book in A Secret Staircase Mystery series. I’d read an interview with this author and found the story’s premise intriguing. How can the body of someone walking around the day before wind up inside of a wall that had been sealed up for over a century?

Book Summary

That is the dilemma that faces Tempest Raj. Tempest, a disgraced magician who has to return to her parent’s home after they shut down her Las Vegas magic act because of a near catastrophe. Was the catastrophe the result of an accident, sabotage, or the curse placed on her family? Continue reading

The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars

The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars was written by Anthony Boucher and published in 1940. The Case was a tribute to Sherlock Holmes.

Set in 1939, Hollywood, Metropolis Pictures plans to produce a movie based on one of Sherlock Holmes’s stories. However, they are getting backlash from the fans Holmes because the writer, Worth, wants to change the story to make it a tough, hard-boiled rendition. The executive at Metropolis discovers that, by contract, he cannot replace the hated writer. So, they decide to invite some of the members of The Baker Street Irregulars to oversee the production and give the film their stamp of approval. 

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The Locked Room Mysteries

The locked room mysteries, also known as the impossible crime or closed-circle mystery, is not really a genre. But the popularity of this type oif story can’t be argued.  As the name implies, the crime, usually a murder but can be a robbery, occurred in a room that is found locked or otherwise sealed.

A Locked Room Mystery

One of the earliest examples of the locked room mysteries is The Murders in the Rue Morgue, by Edgar Allan Poe. Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin and the unnamed narrator became interested in a newspaper story of a lady and her daughter who the authorities found dead in their fourth story room. The mother had many broken bones and her head fell off when they moved the body, while someone strangled the daughter and stuffed her up the chimney. The officials found the room locked from the inside, meaning the key would be inside the room. I will let you discover how Edgar handled this on your own. Continue reading

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