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Edgar Wallace Locked Room Titles


Edgar WallaceRichard Horatio Edgar Wallace (1875 – 1932) was an English writer. Wallace was born ‘illegitimate’ and raised in extreme poverty in London. His schooling ended at age 12, and he later joined the army, before becoming a war correspondent, during the Second Boer War, for Reuters and the Daily Mail. Badly in  debt, he escaped South Africa and  returned to London, where he began to write penny dreadfuls as  an easy way to quickly raise funds. Wallace used his experiences as a reporter in South Africa and the Congo, covering the Belgian atrocities, as the foundation for several early works. Wallace serialized short stories in several magazines, and later published collections such as Sanders of the River (1911). He finally signed with Hodder and Stoughton in 1921 and became an internationally recognized author.

After a disastrous bid to stand as a Liberal MP for Blackpool in the 1931 general election, Wallace moved to Hollywood, where he worked as a script writer for RKO studios. He died suddenly from undiagnosed diabetes, before finishing the final draft of King Kong (1933).

Wallace was an extremely prolific writer, one of Wallace’s publishers even claimed that he wrote a quarter of all books then being read in England.  Wallace wrote 957 short stories and over 170 novels, 12 in 1929 alone, as well as  screen plays, poetry, historical non-fiction, and 18 stage plays . More than 160 films have been made from Wallace’s work. He is most remembered for the creation of King Kong, and for the J. G. Reeder detective stories, as well as the Green Archer. He sold over 50 million copies of his combined works in various editions and The Economist described him as one of the most prolific thriller writers of the 20th century. Most of his books are now out of print, though many are currently being revived  in ebook editions.

(Edited from Wikipedia: Edgar Wallace)

Note: With so many titles, most of which I have not yet read, this list is almost certainly incomplete! If you know of other titles, please leave a comment! 

More on Edgar Wallace  Wiki   Gadetection


Four Just MenThe Four Just Men (1905)
Detective: Superintendent Falmouth

 

 

Best Review
****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.

Book  eBook  Collected Works  Audible  Amazon.ca  CW.ca  Gutenberg  Internet Archive 

Note: Four men search for social justice!

When Foreign Secretary Sir Philip Ramon receives a threatening, greenish-grey letter signed “Four Just Men,” he remains determined to see his Aliens Extradition Bill made law. A device in the members’ smoke room and a sudden magnesium flash that could easily have been nitroglycerin leave Scotland Yard baffled. Even Fleet Street cannot identify the illusive Manfred, Gonsalez, Pioccart, and Thery – four just men dedicated to punishing by death those whom conventional justice cannot touch.

The ‘Four Just Men’ is actually only the first volume in a six volume set (4 Novels & 2 Short Story Colletions) featuring these modern day Robin Hood figures. The other titles being: The Council of Justice (1908), The Just Men of Cordova (1917)The Law of the Four Just Men (US title: Again the Three Just Men) (1921), The Three Just Men (1926), Again the Three Just Men (US title: The Law of the Three Just Men) (1929)

The four young, handsome, immensely wealthy vigilantes (including a European prince) who kill people in the name of Justice are quite unique in modern mystery fiction. Wallace actually ran as a Liberal candidate for parliament in 1931, and nowhere is his liberal political stance more evident than in this tale of four men who challenge the powerful to ensure some justice for the common man. The crimes are public cause celèbres, and a locked room mystery designed to create the perfect crime. ‘The Four Just Men’ will surprise the modern reader with its liberal attitude toward politics and social justice. It is far more openly liberal than just about anything else in locked room fiction, with the possible exception of Zangwill’s ‘The Big Bow Mystery’, which was clearly a major influence on Wallace. 

More on ‘The Four Just Men’


twisted candleThe Clue of The Twisted Candle (1916)
Detective: T. X. Meredith

 

 

Locked Room Review
****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.

Book  Free eBook  Collected Works  Amazon.ca  CW.ca Gutenberg  LibriVox

Note: Sometimes our worst fears come true!

Remington Cara, an extremely wealthy Greek, is afraid of being murdered in his bed, so he builds a burglar proof bedroom, yet still ends up dead. Assistant Commissioner, T. X. Meredith, is given the job of figuring out how this impossible crime was committed. One of the better Edgar Wallace novels, a little over dramatic with some awkward dialogue, but still a very good read. With the ‘Clue of The New Pin’, this is one of Wallace’s best known locked room titles.

More on ‘The Twisted Candle’


crimson 2The Crimson Circle (1922)
Detective: Inspector Parr

 

 

Best Review 
****

Available only in paperback and ebook editions.

Book  eBook  Collected Works  Amazon.ca  CW.ca  Gutenberg

Note: He was warned!

In the middle of the night, a gang of workmen in France assembled a guillotine. They drank a few bottles of wine as they worked, and made a fatal error, one that will seal the fate of more than a dozen men many years later.

James Beardmore receives a letter demanding £100,000, which he refuses to pay – even though it is his last warning. It is his son Jack who finds him dead – gassed to death inside a locked chamber. Can the amazing powers of Derrick Yale, combined with the methodical patience of Inspector Parr, discover the secret of the Crimson Circle? Who is this all-powerful criminal mastermind and who is the stranger who lies in wait? Twice in a lifetime a ruthless criminal faces the executioner.

More on ‘The Crimson Circle’


New PinThe Clue of The New Pin (1923)
Detectives: Tab Holland & Inspector Carver

 

 

Best Review
****

Available in paperback, ebook and Audible editions.

Book  eBook  Collected Works  Amazon.ca  CW.ca  Gutenberg 

Note: Shot inside a locked vault!

Jesse Trasmere is more than careful with his money. He is rich, does not trust banks, and keeps his money in his own vault. His nephew Rex Lander enjoys high living but is all too often short of funds. Trasmere decides to go out of town to avoid an unwanted acquaintance from his past, but is later found locked inside a vault – and very dead. This is no static mystery but a gripping tale of adventure involving memorable characters in locations ranging from Yeh Lin’s London restaurant to Ursula Ardfern’s Hertfordshire cottage.  

With the ‘Clue of The Twisted Candle’, this is one of Wallace’s best known locked room titles.

More on ‘The Clue of The New Pin’


King NightA King by Night (1925)
Detective: Selby Lowe

 

 

No Review
***

Available only in used paperback and ebook editions.

Book  eBook  Collected Works  Amazon.ca  CW.ca  Gutenberg

Note: A new twist on an old locked room trick!

Very little information on this title – will put it on my lengthy review list. Most noted as the first use of Zangwill’s locked room device in the open air. A man is stabbed to death while standing quite alone outside his own door.


Three JustThe Three Just Men (1926)
Detectives: The Three Just Men

 

 

Best Review
****

Available only in paperback and ebook editions.

Book  eBook  Collected Works  Amazon.ca  CW.ca  Gutenberg

Note: Fifth novel in ‘The Four Just Men’ series!

The Four Just Men were always really three, one was unnamed, and when he died he was briefly replace by Thery.  Now ‘The Three Just Men’ are running a detective agency, when they are approached by a man named Barberton, searching for Mirabelle Leicester, who has been tempted into working for the evil Doktor Oberzohn. One of Wallace’s best. The impossible crime angle involves the death of Barberton by poisoning while under constant observation and never having been approached by another person. 


terrible peopleThe Terrible People (1927)
Detective: Inspector Arnold ‘Betcher’ Long

 

 

No Review
***

Available only in paperback and ebook editions.

Book  eBook  Collected Works  Amazon.ca  CW.ca  Gutenberg 

Note: Another dose of Penny Dreadful?

Pure classic Wallace. A young woman finds herself in peril, threatened with a forced marriage – or worse; the financier has a mysterious past; the criminal mastermind has a sinister hold over his cohorts; the hero laughs at death and destroys all their plans at the last possible second; their is even a cryptic message. It is also a locked-room puzzle where a man is shot inside a sealed chamber. The millionaire detective, ‘Betcher’ Long, rescues the story and the secretary, Nora Sanders, saving her from a life of crime, after she has been drugged and kidnapped.


Big FootBig Foot (1927)
Detectives: Superintendent Minton & Gordon Cardew

 

 

Best Review
****

Available only in paperback and ebook editions.

Book  eBook  Collected Works  Audible  Amazon.ca  CW.ca  Gutenberg

Note: Another vintage Wallace case!

Footprints and a dead woman inside a locked seaside cottage, bring both the motorcycle riding Superintendent Minton, and the amateur sleuth Gordon Cardew, into an unhappy alliance. Who was the man in the shrubbery? Who was singing that haunting Moorish tune? Why is Hannah Shaw so determined to go to Pawsy, ‘a dog lonely place’ she had once detested? Death lurks in the dark and someone must solve the mystery before Big Foot strikes again, in a yet more fiendish manner. 

More on ‘Big Foot’


Terror KeepTerror Keep (1927)
Detective: Mr. J.G. Reeder

 

 

Best Review
****

Available only in paperback and ebook editions – plus Russian Audible!

Book  eBook  Collected Works  Amazon.ca  CW.ca  Gutenberg

Note: Wallace’s most popular detective: Mr. J.G. Reeder

There were two subjects which irritated the mind of Margaret Belman as the Southern Express carried her toward Selford Junction and the branch line train which crawled from the junction to Siltbury. The first of these was, not unnaturally, the drastic changes she now contemplated, the second the effect they already had had upon Mr. J.G. Reeder, that mild mannered, middle-aged man. The Locked Room element: An intruder enters and exits a sealed and guarded room, all leading up to a death by stabbing in a locked room.

More on ‘Terror Keep’  All the J.G. Reeder Series on Gutenberg.


White FaceWhite Face (1930)
Detectives: Chief Inspector Mason & Sgt. Elk

 

 

Best Review
****

Available in paperback and ebook editions.

Book  eBook  Collected Works  Amazon.ca  CW.ca  Gutenberg

Note: The Devil of The Tidal Basin.

Tidal Basin was the toughest, poorest, lowest section of London, and somewhere in it’s dark alleys lurked the Devil of Tidal Basin, terrifying the inhabitants and puzzling the police. What connection had the Devil with White Face, the lone bandit who roamed London unmolested? Superintendent Mason, one of the Yard’s Big Five wanted to know, and what Superintendent Mason wanted to know he generally found out. Criminals knew him as “Sympathetic” Mason, because of his curious methods of cross-examination. But not until Janice Harmon fell in love with a man who had written her from South Africa did the tangled skeins of international crime, murder, and mystery, begin to sort themselves out – and the strange story of a cold blooded killer come out into the light at last.

The locked room mystery arises when the crooked swell, Donald Bateman, is stabbed to death in the middle of the street, while under almost  constant observation, and at a moment when no one was close enough to have done the deed. 

All The Inspector Elk series are available on Gutenberg


Edgar Wallace Locked Room Short Stories


Angel EsqA Case for Angel, Esquire (1909)
Detective: Christopher Angle
Collection: The Sooper & Others 

 

No Review
*****

Available only in used paperback, e-collected works, and online.

Book  Collected Works  Amazon.ca  Gutenberg

Note: Robbery in a sealed alley

A very short story involving the theft of bank notes from a bank teller in a narrow, winding, side street. He claimed to have been robbed but no one entered or left the passage before he was found. The police think the teller planned the whole thing – but the bank notes are nowhere to be found!  

The detective, Christopher Angle, is best developed in the mystery novel ‘Angel Esquire’ (1908) also available on Gutenberg


Halley's CometHalley’s Comet, the Cowboy, & Lord Dorrington (1910)
Detective: None
Collection: The Death Room

 

No Review
****

Available only in used paperback, e-collected works, and online.

Book  Collected Works  Amazon.ca  Gutenberg 

Note: A short tale of a long tail?

Three Men are mysteriously transported across a continent in a flash – by Halley’s Comet!


Lord ExenhamLord Exenham Creates a Sensation (1918) 
Detective: Superintendent Branbury
Collection: The Death Room

 

No Review
****

Available only in used paperback, e-collected works, and online.

Book  Collected Works  Amazon.ca   Gutenberg

Note: Two identical prints?

A thumbprint at the scene of a crime proves to be exactly the same as the print of the long deceased son of the head fingerprint expert!


4 Square JaneThe Missing Romney (1919)
Detective: Four Square Jane 
Collection: Four Square Jane 

 

No Review
****

Available in paperback, ebook, online, and collected works editions.

Book  eBook  Collected Works  Amazon.ca  CW.ca Gutenberg

Note: The lady is a burglar!

Who is Four Square Jane? Although her true identity remains hidden until the end of the book, one thing is for sure: she is one of the most daring and successful crooks to ever emerge from the pen of Edgar Wallace. Her resourcefulness knows no bounds as she employs female cunning to get away with a series of risky crimes, performed with neatness and cleverness, which can only evoke a strong feeling of admiration.

In the chapter entitled ‘The Stolen Romney’, a valuable picture is impossibly missing from a heavily guarded art gallery.


Lone HouseThe Lone House Mystery (1929)
Detective: Superintendent Minter
Collection: The Lone House Mystery

 

No Review
****

Available in paperback, ebook, online, and collected works editions.

Book  eBook  Collected Works  Amazon.ca  CW.ca  Gutenberg

Note: Not quite a locked room?

A girl is locked into a room, when the man who holds the key is stabbed to death outside of the room. Lots of odd footprints and a locked room, but apparently no impossible crime.


StretelliCode No. 2
Detective: 
Collection: The Stretelli Case and Other Mystery Stories

 

No Review
****

Available in paperback, online, and in collected works editions.

Book  Collected Works  Amazon.ca  Gutenberg

Note: On His Majesty’s Secret Service!

Code No 2 (1916) is a pure spy tale, which presents the problem of  secret documents being impossibly being compromised within a secret service office. 


Sergeant Sir PeterDr. Fifer’s Patient (1932)
Detective: Sergeant Sir Peter Gunn
Collection: Sergeant Sir Peter

 

No Review
****

Available in paperback, online, and collected works editions.

Book  Collected Works  Amazon.ca  Gutenberg

Note: Meet Sergeant Sir Peter

Sir Peter investigates an impossible death by poisoning that occurs inside a locked bathroom.


Complete Edgar Wallace Bibliography


Locked Room 101: The Masters


The Locked Room Mystery home



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