Saturday, July 23, 2022

The ten most puzzling impossible crime mysteries

Tom Mead is a UK crime fiction author specialising in locked-room mysteries.

He is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association, International Thriller Writers, and the Society of Authors.

Mead's debut novel is Death and the Conjuror.

[ My Book, The Movie: Death and the Conjuror; The Page 69 Test: Death and the Conjuror; Q&A with Tom Mead]

At Publishers Weekly Mead tagged ten of the best locked-room or impossible crime mysteries, including:
The Chinese Orange Mystery by Ellery Queen

What makes this one brilliant is the puzzle. While there is an impossible/locked-room element to the mystery itself, it is another seemingly unanswerable question that makes this novel a classic: why should an unidentified man be killed in a room in which everything—the furniture, the paintings on the walls, even the victim’s clothes—have been turned backward? Even though this is not a physical impossibility, it seems to be a logical one. And yet, the solution is perfectly, utterly rational… but I bet you won’t see it coming. The Ellery Queen series is one of the definitive achievements of the Golden Age, and The Chinese Orange Mystery represents its authors at the peak of their imaginative powers.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue