Miraculous Mysteries (British Library Crime Classics) by Martin Edwards (editor)

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Miraculous Mysteries (British Library Crime Classics) by Martin Edwards (editor)

Category: Crime
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Louise Jones
Reviewed by Louise Jones
Summary: A collection of short stories featuring seemingly-impossible murder scenarios.
Buy? yes Borrow? yes
Pages: 352 Date: April 2017
Publisher: British Library Publishing
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780712356732

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Consider the following scenario: a policeman hears someone screaming and runs to a house on a particular street, number 13, from where the noise is emanating. When he peeps through the letterbox he discovers a dead man in the hallway with a knife in his throat. He goes to fetch help, but upon returning, finds that the street does not have a number 13 and that the body and the room he saw have both mysteriously vanished...

Fans of crime fiction have always enjoyed the idea of 'impossible crimes' and 'locked-room' mysteries, as they provide a challenging puzzle for the reader. We are presented with a seemingly-impossible scene and invited to find a rational explanation. Upon discovering the solution we will either kick ourselves in frustration or feel a warm glow of self satisfaction for managing to solve the case.

Miraculous Mysteries is a collection of fine examples of the locked-room genre, written by some of of the world's most popular crime authors, including Margery Allingham, Dorothy. L. Sayers, G K Chesterton and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Each story is quite short; the perfect size for a tea-break, although readers may get so absorbed that they may wish to brew another cup in order to read the next story.

The best examples of the locked-room mystery are the ones that have a simple explanation. I enjoyed (and managed to solve!) the mystery of the Invisible Weapon which in which a dead man was found with his head bashed in, but no murder weapon anywhere to be seen. Another story that I took great satisfaction in solving was Death at 8:30 when a murderer leaves a blackmail note threatening that his victim will die at exactly 8:30 unless a ransom is paid. Despite locking the victim in a sealed vault for his own safety, he still dies, as predicted. It's our job to work out how.

By the way, if the scenario at the beginning of my review intrigued you, then you will need to read The Haunted Policeman to see how it all turned out...

This book will appeal to anyone who enjoys crime fiction and loves a good puzzle. The bite-sized stories are perfect for a quick and entertaining read and represent some of the most respected and admired names in crime fiction. Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy.

Fans of the classic locked-room mystery may enjoy Death at the President's Lodging by Michael Innes a landmark book with a tightly-drawn plot.

Buy Miraculous Mysteries (British Library Crime Classics) by Martin Edwards (editor) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Miraculous Mysteries (British Library Crime Classics) by Martin Edwards (editor) at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Miraculous Mysteries (British Library Crime Classics) by Martin Edwards (editor) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Miraculous Mysteries (British Library Crime Classics) by Martin Edwards (editor) at Amazon.com.


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