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Puzzle/Locked Room

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Solving the crime is your responsibility when you become the detective. Racking your brain about a puzzle mystery? Recommend it to other Community members.

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Juanita Rose Violini - 09:45pm Jul 29, 1997 PST(#1 of 154)

Mysterys that give the reader all the clues to figure it out for themselves and can still fool you are my favourite kind. I consider Agatha Christie the master of this form and one reason, maybe the only reason, why she is such a best seller. Would love to hear of other writers who also write this way. I also consider Rex Stout to use this form to some extent and his writing is superior in many other ways as well.

Marian Allen - 01:46pm Aug 26, 1997 PST(#2 of 154)

Just finished an Ellery Queen mystery. I remember thinking these were the cat's pajamas when I was a teenager, but I don't like EQ now. SOME of Agatha Christie's strike me the same way: Oh, yes, that's the solution, but it only HAPPENS to be the solution. It isn't very likely, and I don't believe it, no matter what the author says. Do you know what I mean? Sometimes the Holmes stories hit me the same way. A good puzzle that hits me right, though, I do love!

Juanita Rose Violini - 08:24pm Aug 26, 1997 PST(#3 of 154)

Hi Marian,

I am not quite sure i do know what you mean. Are they not very likely because the scenario is just too bizarre or that it is not consistantly bizarre enough for continuity and therefore believability? Is it the plot or the writing style that makes it seem that it only 'happens to be the solution'?

Marian Allen - 09:11am Aug 27, 1997 PST(#4 of 154)

Hi, Juanita-- I mean that, in some stories and books, given a specific puzzle, with a wealth of clues and suspects, there could be any number of possible solutions. In those cases, I don't "buy it" when the detective states, "This is the solution," and it is, but only because it's the solution the Great One designated. In a solution I DO "buy," various clues or characterizations cancel out all possible solutions but one. I might not SEE that as I'm reading--I don't object at all to being tricked into misleading myself--but the answer the detective gives should be the only possible answer.

Alex Dent - 11:28am Aug 28, 1997 PST(#5 of 154)

I always thought that Conan Doyle did this with Holmes. By that I mean Holmes extract a possible (but usually somewhat fantastic) solution to the puzzle which (by some freak co-incidence) turns out to be correct. I thought Colin Dexter's version of A Case of Identity illustrated this very well. He has Mycroft and Watson also provide solutions: Mycroft's is even more fantastical than Holmes' whilst Watson's is more ordinary and full of that crime writers opponant: common sense. I leave you to guess which one turns out to be right (It's not hard).


Annette Mentzer - 02:09pm Sep 30, 1997 PST(#6 of 154)

I'd like to chime in a few thoughts on Christie. I finally stopped reading the good Dame Agatha's works because I felt she cheated. Perot would send a telegram, read the response, smile to himself in his superior way, and tuck the information away in his vest pocket. Or Miss Marple would glance across the village high street, observe something, nod with satisfaction, and know who the killer was. In many instances the key to the solution was something Agatha witheld from the reader. After the umpteenth time of screaming "NO FAIR" at the end of one of her stories, I just quit. Now Conan Doyle was another matter. He always gave you all the clues. Sometimes his solutions were a bit fantastic, but you had an even chance of solving the puzzle.

Juanita Rose Violini - 02:13pm Oct 1, 1997 PST(#7 of 154)

I have found with reading Christie that it usually works (usually because i have only read a small percentage of what she has written) if i take not only the least obvious but the most impossible person to be the murderer then look for evidence in the story to support it. This way I can often figure it out correctly, if not always completely before the story is over.

Rebecca Giannuzzi - 10:31pm Oct 17, 1997 PST(#8 of 154)

Hi there mystery fans! Read any good books lately? If you have read a mystery book called "Ride a Dark Horse," by Lynn Hall, pleases e-mail me!

Kate Halleron - 12:17pm Oct 21, 1997 PST(#9 of 154)

Hey, I do happen to be an Ellery Queen fan, and have just begun re-reading the series again after several years (I have to wait long enough to forget the solutions before I can really enjoy the re-reading). Anyway, I find I have just a few books missing from the series and also a few duplicates. Is anyone there willing to work out some trades? I'm only interested in the EQ books in which one or both of the Queens are the detective(s). Any help?

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