It’s been a while since I’ve done a book review, so maybe I should do one now, considering this blog is called Cats and Books and all.
This review is for The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries, edited by Otto Penzler and published by Vintage Books, a Random House print. As it says on the cover, it’s “the most complete collection of impossible-crime stories ever assembled.” And by complete, they mean it’s 937 pages. I kept it on my dining room table and read a story while I was eating for probably well over a year. When you’re done you can use it for any of several things – a booster chair for your kid, a step stool, a doorstop, or you can pass it on to a mystery-loving buddy if you can lift the darn thing. It does come in an e-reader version, which I would have gotten had I known how big this would be when I ordered it!
Before each story you’re given some history of the author and his or her works, which is a very nice touch. A lot of these stories are from decades ago, written by authors you may not know, and this background may get you searching for other works they’ve done. The authors include many of the best mystery authors in the business, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, Erle Stanley Gardner, P.G. Wodehouse, Edgar Allan Poe, Ellery Queen and even Stephen King. And that’s just naming a few.
Speaking of Ellery Queen, many of these stories were previously published in mystery collections such as Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, which, btw, is still in print. You can pick one up at your local bookstore or through the website at the link above.
I particularly love “locked-room,” or seemingly impossible mysteries, and you definitely get your money’s worth with this collection. Whether you love reading these or fancy that someday you might write one yourself, this is a definitive collection by the masters of the genre.
Vintage Books has additional collections you might be interested in, such as The Big Book of Ghost Stories; Zombies, Zombies, Zombies!; The Vampire Archives, and The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps.
Image via Amazon.com
#BlackLizardLockedRoomMysteries #Agatha Christie #SirArthurConanDoyle #ElleryQueen