Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Big Bow Mystery by Israel Zangwill

The Big Bow Mystery by Israel Zangwill published in 1892 is considered to be the first locked room mystery.

Mrs.Drabdump of Bow, London, is not able to wake her lodger Arthur Constant. Her shouting and rattling at the door is not answered. Mrs.Drabdump fears the worst and runs across the street to ex- detective Grodman. They break the door. Arthur Constant is found dead in his room. All the doors and windows are locked so how did any one gain entry and kill him. So is it suicide? If it is suicide, where is the weapon? If he was murdered who killed him and how? Edward Wimp of Scotland Yard investigates the case. The rivalry between Wimp and Grodman is interesting.

Speculation in the newspapers and the Coroner's inquest are funny. I liked Zangwill's humour and his characters especially Peter Crowl, 'the plain Man' without any fads and Denzil Cantercot, the dreamer and the poet. There is a conversation on Beautiful and Truth which can be irritating to some but it is funny. The preface where Zangwill describes how he developed the story is interesting.


There is only one possible logical solution to a locked room mystery. (Of course there are many illogical and fantastic solutions.) I guessed it. Did you?

The book can be downloaded for free from Gutenberg. So what are you waiting for?

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