(April Fools) My Top 10 Favorite Locked Room Mystery Novels

I’ve been teasing this for a long time, but finally I think I feel confident enough to name what I consider the top ten best locked-room mystery novels ever written. I will be taking no notes, thank you.

  1. Le Tigre Borgne (The One-Eyed Tiger) by Paul Halter
  2. The Double Alibi by Noël Vindry
  3. The Three Coffins by John Dickson Carr
  4. The Fourth Door by Paul Halter
  5. Death in Five Boxes by John Dickson Carr
  6. Six Were to Die by James Ronald
  7. The Seventh Guest by Gaston Boca
  8. The Eight Mansion Murders by Takemaru Abiko
  9. Nine Times Nine by Anthony Bouncer
  10. The Ten Teacups by John Dickson Carr

14 thoughts on “(April Fools) My Top 10 Favorite Locked Room Mystery Novels

  1. BP April 1, 2022 / 2:27 pm

    Good list, although I feel like you had room to work in The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

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    • JJ April 1, 2022 / 4:07 pm

      Well, it would be taking a joke too far to include a non-locked room mystery on a list of favourite locked room mysteries.

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      • lawleywotton April 23, 2022 / 8:18 pm

        That wouldn’t be anything new, seeing how many non-impossible mysteries make their way into locked room lists 😛 (*cough* 8th entry in the Hoch list *cough*)

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      • JJ April 24, 2022 / 11:52 am

        Ha. Excellent point.

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  2. JJ April 1, 2022 / 4:06 pm

    Every time Anthony Bouncer drops out of view, he always comes back up eventually… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Scott April 2, 2022 / 5:06 am

    Isaac – thank you. I always enjoy GAD blogger lists like this one, hoping to learn of book I might not otherwise get to read. Your top ten was a good reminder that I haven’t read James Ronald’s, Six Were to Die (aka The Dark Angel). I enjoyed Ronald’s Murder in the Family and They Can’t Hang Me. I tracked down a copy of The Dark Angel online and look forward to reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Scott April 2, 2022 / 5:08 am

    Also just to check but is Halter’s, Le Tigre Borgne, translated to English? I haven’t see that one available.

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    • Isaac Stump April 2, 2022 / 7:18 am

      This is an April Fool’s list, actually. I haven’t read the book. Check the titles of the books carefully. 😛 Weren’t you a little suspicious when Death of Jezebel didn’t make an appearance?

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      • thegreencapsule April 2, 2022 / 1:51 pm

        Ha, well you had me fooled! It’s a nice spread of authors, and it was cool to see more modern titles mixed into the list. My big objection was that Death in Five Boxes isn’t really an impossible crime, plus it’s one of the lesser Carrs from the 1930s.

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  5. Scott April 2, 2022 / 9:43 am

    Even if only a prank list, there are still some good titles there. Indeed Death of Jezebel would be in my top 10.

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  6. TomCat April 3, 2022 / 12:36 pm

    I knew something funny going on with your list. Picking The Double Alibi over The Howling Beast? Surely, you must have been joking. Yes, you were.

    Thumbs up for starting the list with a French title and a substitute for two. It threw me off for a moment and didn’t notice the numbered titles until Six Were to Die.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isaac Stump April 3, 2022 / 8:39 pm

      I’ve never actually read THE HOWLING BEAST. It’s the only Vindry I haven’t read. I’ve had it recommended to me a lot, but I just didn’t like the other three I’ve read. I’ll probably get around to THE HOWLING BEAST eventually just to say I’ve read it, if you recommend it.

      I thought that THE HOUSE THAT KILLS was, aside from the (SPOILERS) detective being an intended victim (SPOILERS), a pretty… “nothing” impossible crime novel. Flavorless prose, mundane set-up, and solutions so generic I managed to successfully guess at what solutions I was probably going to see once I realized what kind of book I was reading. Maybe it was exceptional for the time it came out, but from my perspective it was relying on ideas so tired I’d already seen where it was going chapters in advance.

      THE DOUBLE ALIBI uses exactly the solutions you think it’ll use from reading the synopsis, and I personally don’t like doppelganger impossible crimes since there are, I dunno, three solutions ever used for it (even if the robbery in this one is a slightly more clever spin on it).

      THROUGH THE WALLS, I won’t lie, I just thought was pretty hokey and stupid, and is by far my least favorite of all of the Vindrys.

      I’ve been avoiding writing my thoughts on Vindry on the blog because I have pretty much the same opinion of every single one of his books I’ve read — boring, hackneyed, and obvious. I don’t want my reviews to end up the same.

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      • TomCat April 4, 2022 / 7:59 am

        Yeah, The House That Killed is pretty minor stuff and would have been forgettable had it not been for the impossible shooting of Allou towards the end. The Double Alibi should have been a short story or novella. I can see what Vindry tried to do in Through the Walls, effortlessly explaining a whole string of utterly bizarre incidents with simple answers, but that approach doesn’t work if nearly all those bizarre incidents are presented as impossible crimes. It sets expectations. Fredric Brown did the same thing much more successfully in The Night of the Jabberwock.

        There’s a reason why everyone keeps recommending The Howling Beast as it towers over the other three translations.

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