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James Ronald Locked Room Titles

James Ronald (1905-1995?) was an English writer who also wrote under the pseudonyms Michael Crombie and Kirk Wales. He was a fairly prolific and popular author in the UK from 1932 – 1941, but had little success after the war, and never quite made it in the US, being published only by the small Mystery House and Phoenix Press. Not much biographical information is available! His one series character is Julian Mendoza, crime reporter of the London Morning World. This Way Out (1940) was turned into the Film Noir ‘The Suspect’ (1944), starring Charles Laughton.

Edited from Gadetection

Note: A very difficult page that still lacks a great deal of information. Though James Ronald was a well known author in his day, especially in the UK, there is little information available online or in the usual mystery reference works. If you can help us to learn more about this author please send a message to our Good Mystery Facebook page 

James Ronald Locked Room Novels

six dieSix Were To Die (1932)
Author: as Kirk Wales
Detective: Dr. Daniel Britling

No Reviews

Available only in used paperback and hardcover editions. Very rare and quite expensive!


Note: A bit of a mystery!

Not much information available, Robert Adey, in Locked Room Murders, notes that it involves a shooting in a guarded and locked building, as well as a case of poisoning.

Cross Marks The Spot (1936)
Detective: Julian Mendoza, reporter

No Reviews

Potentially available in used paperback and hardcover editions, but very rare! Not even a cover image!


Note: A lost story?

Not much information available, Robert Adey in Locked Room Murders, notes that it involves: “Death by shooting in a flat unoccupied by anyone but the victim.” Have yet to find a copy offered for sale – at any price! Almost a lost story!

Hang MeThey Can’t Hang Me! (1938)
Detective: Alastair MacNab & Superintendent Wrenn


Best Review

Available only in used paperback and hardcover editions. Easiest to find, but still rather expensive.


Note: Mad killer on the loose!

Lucius Marplay, escapes from a mental institution, and intends to carry out the plan of murderous revenge, which was responsible for his incarceration. Each murder he commits is reported in the obituary section of The Echo, where the victims work, on the same day as the death  – which makes it look like a mad killer is hiding in the newspaper building.

“They Can’t Hang Me is a corker of a mystery novel. Ingenious murder methods call to mind the brilliant John Rhode; two impossible crimes, one of which is worthy of Carr; and witty dialogue reminiscent of Clifford Witting. All are on colorful display in this page-turner of a story.” Pretty Sinister Blog

Author Locked Room Short Stories

20 storyToo Many Motives (1930)
Detective: Divisional Surgeon, Daniel Britling 

Collection: 20 Story Magazine, April 1930

No Reviews

Available only in original magazine, 20 Story Magazine, April 1930 (March 1930 cover shown)

20 Story Magazine, April 1930

Note: Spoiler Alert!!!

A very hard item to find, but actually quite famous, as it was the first story to use the locked room device of a gun  attached with elastic so it would vanish up a chimney! Possibly inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Problem of Thor Bridge’ (1922) where the weapon is tied to a weight and vanished into the water.

James Ronald  Bibliography

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