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Anthony Abbot Locked Room Titles

anthony abbotAnthony Abbot was the pseudonym of Charles Fulton Oursler (1893-1952), who allegedly chose both the name and his method of titling (About the…) to bring his books to the beginning of alphabetical lists. He also wrote under his own name on Christian themes, including ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’, and penned several Broadway plays, most notably ‘The Spider’ (1927). 

Charles Fulton Oursler was born in Baltimore, the poor son of a city transit worker. His childhood passions were reading and stage magic. He was raised in a devout Baptist family, but later converted to Catholicism. While still in his teens, he got a reporter’s job for the Baltimore American, then later moved to New York City to edit ‘The Music Trades’. He freelanced for a variety of publications, and his short stories regularly appeared in The Black Cat, Detective Story Magazine, The Thrill Book, and especially Mystery Magazine. Many of his stories, like ‘The Magician Detective’ incorporate magicians and magic into the plots.

In the 1920s Oursler aided Harry Houdini in his crusade against fraudulent mediumship, using the pseudonym Samri Frikell, and he later authored the book ‘Spirit Mediums Exposed’ (1930) which revealed the techniques of fraud mediums.

He became the Supervising Editor of various magazines and newspapers published by Bernarr Macfadden from 1921-41. In the fall of 1939, Fulton Oursler, when editor of Liberty, printed a piece in his magazine called “Alcoholics and God”, which brought a rush of 800 frantic inquiries into the New York office of Alcoholics Anonymous (as it was to be known). Oursler left Macfadden Publications shortly after Bernarr Macfadden was ousted from the company in 1941. 

Edited from Wikipedia: Charles Fulton Oursler

Anthony Abbot Locked Room Novels

night club ladtAbout The Murder of The Night Club Lady (1931) 
Thatcher Colt, Police Commissioner


Best Review

Available only in used paperback and hardcover editions. Movie not currently available.


Note: Happy NewYear?

A socialite is murdered at 3AM on New Year’s morning – in her penthouse apartment which is surrounded by police! Not Abbot’s best – but still turned into a 1932 movie called The Night Club Lady! 

circus queenAbout The Murder of The Circus Queen (1932) 
Detective: Thatcher Colt


Best Review

Available only in used paperback and hardcover editions. Movie not currently available.


Note: The falling young woman on the flying trapeze!

Colt is in Madison Square Gardens for the opening night of a circus that has been having a series of serious ‘accidents’. Then the trapeze star falls to her death in front of an arena full of spectators. Colt starts to get the idea that these ‘accidents’ might not be so ‘accidental’! This one got filmed as The Circus Queen Murder (1933).

startled ladyAbout The Murder of A Startled Lady (1935)  
Detective: Thatcher Colt


Best Review

Available only in used paperback and hardcover editions.


Note: A seance leads to the bottom of the river!

A medium holds a seance in Colt’s office and tells him the tale of a woman who was murdered, dismembered and dropped to the bottom of the river. A box of bones is duly discovered in the aforementioned spot, which begins a complicated investigation.

shudders abbottThe Shudders (1943)
AKA: Deadly Secret
Detective: Thatcher Colt

Best Review

Available only in used paperback and ebook editions.


Note: A shocking mystery?

Colt’s adversary is a mad scientist who has discovered a completely untraceable means of murder, and is using it to eliminate all the witnesses to an electrocution three years earlier – and Colt may be next on the list!

Anthony Abbot Locked Room Short Stories

About the Disappearance of Agatha King 
Detective: Thatcher Colt

Collection: The Mystery Book (1939); Cosmopolitan, June 1932

No Review

Available only in a rare anthology edition.


Note: Almost a lost story!

Colt looks into the disappearance of a high society bride just before her wedding, and finds an important clue in pair of dyed shoes.

Complete Anthony Abbot Bibliography

Locked Room 101: The Masters

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