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The Mammoth Book of Locked-Room Mysteries and Impossible Crimes Paperback – Aug 22 2000

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 532 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press (Aug. 22 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786707909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786707904
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13.1 x 3.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,110,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Penzler Pick, February 2001: The very thing that first hooked me on mysteries long ago is the element most on display in this fat and satisfying volume: amazement. Not whodunit or why, but how. And that really means wow, as in, "Wow, I can't believe what I just read!" Such cases were originally the province of Edgar Allan Poe's Inspector Dupin, whose unraveling of such sensational "impossible" crimes as "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" gave the reading public of an earlier era its appetite for gasp-inducing solutions. Just a few decades later the mystery genre had progressed to a more rational approach, with which Arthur Conan Doyle equipped Sherlock Holmes, though the crimes demanding our greatest sleuth's attention were highly fanciful more often than not. Snakes in airshafts menacing gentlewomen! Clubs restricted to redheaded fellows! Wow!

Next appeared the exceedingly baroque whimsies of John Dickson Carr, who eventually grew to feel the strain of being regarded as the Houdini of mystery literature. But before he saw his powers of invention begin to flag, Carr, who also wrote as Carter Dickson, had defined the subgenre of locked-room crime for all time, producing over 50 novels and dozens of short stories featuring some startling variations on the theme. The Hollow Man, published in the U.S. as The Three Coffins, is considered by experts to be this author's greatest achievement. It offers in the course of the story a seminal lecture about the locked-room crime.

In this bargain tome, Carr is represented by "The Silver Curtain," in which a man standing alone in a cul-de-sac is fatally stabbed in the back. From a less well-known writer, Clayton Rawson (a real-life magician as well as an authorial one), comes a tale written in response to a challenge by Carr, his friend and rival: make a man vanish from a phone booth. (He succeeds, of course.) Also on hand are four clever contemporary tricksters: Peter Lovesey, H.R.F. Keating, Lawrence Block, and Edward D. Hoch. There's almost too much entertainment value in these 29 tales assembled by veteran editor and mystery scholar Mike Ashley. "I've endeavored to bring together a collection of stories," he says, "that seem utterly baffling and where the solution is equally amazing." That's OK. Ration them, and you'll only savor them more. --Otto Penzler

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x991dc558) out of 5 stars 10 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x992578ac) out of 5 stars So THAT'S how they did it!!! Jan. 4 2002
By K. H. ZAINAL - Published on
Format: Paperback
A great collection of 'howdunnit' mysteries. Murder most foul (the fictional kind of course) is made more fun for the reader when the crime was committed in an impossible manner. How did a fresh corpse end up in a coffin which has laid undisturbed for two decades? How did the murderer-thief escape from a 10th floor showroom that was constantly under observation (and with only one exit...guarded, naturally)?
Most of the short stories here were written specifically for this book but there are some great classics as well like "The Silver Curtain", "The Adventure of the Jacobean House" and my personal favourite, "Off the Face of the Earth" by Clayton Rawson.
I admire the authors who must have racked their brains to come up with ingenious, incredible, seemingly impossible yet logical solutions to their stories. The reader is challenged to solve it but amateurs like me just dont bother. I prefer to sit back and enjoy the ride.
As I write this, has does not have ready copies of this anthology. Since its a UK published book, I advise potential sleuths to log onto They have more copies of this book than they know what to do with!!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9928375c) out of 5 stars Locked Room Mysteries Rule! Nov. 25 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is filled with some great locked room mystery stories. These are always the hardest to solve, but the most satisfying to read. If you love a challenge, try to figure some of these out.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99129d2c) out of 5 stars Good, not great collection Dec 5 2001
By Ken Braithwaite - Published on
Format: Paperback
There is a lot of fun stuff here, at a good price. Unfortunately quite a lot of the book is original stories, and inevitably they are not as good as some classics not included. But if you like locked rooms, there is no reason to hesitate about buying this.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x992f384c) out of 5 stars A mixed bag Dec 14 2013
By Jim Grinstead - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Don't expect to be astonished. Seasoned mystery readers will see the solution in some of these stories coming early in the story. Others are surprising and others, as noted by the compiler, are possible, but unlikely. It's a good investment for those looking for decently written short stories, but it's more of a "browser" than a "reader."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99284164) out of 5 stars So many and all wonderful Jan. 25 2014
By Leyla - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed both the tales and the history of each writer and story. Many stories I have read before but that did not take away from the enjoyment of experiencing of reading a well write mystery without the gratuitous violence. There was only one story I did not like but maybe because I'm not much into maths. Well edited and easy to read.