Anthologies: Recommended Reading

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Locked Room Anthologies:
Recommended Reading

Anthologies, Collections & The Locked Room genre

It has now been over 170 years since Edgar Allan Poe published ‘The Murders in The Rue Morgue’ in Graham’s magazine. Since that time, hundreds of publications have printed thousands of great locked room short stories, many of these now lost, or at least hidden from the view of modern readers. This is why anthologies are so critical to the study of the locked room genre. It is the task of the anthologist to re-discover and re-print these gems for modern locked room fans.

An anthology is not simply a collection of short stories. Technically collections are reprinted stories of a single author, while anthologies open doors to authors who are not generally remembered, or are not generally recognized as locked room authors. Hundreds of well know authors, including many famous Victorian fiction writers, and most authors of the ‘Golden Age of Detective Fiction’ between the two world wars, attempted at least one locked room mystery, though they are now generally remembered for their other works. Over the last half century, the short story has waned, in favour of the novel, but there are still hundreds of stories that remain uncollected, and today we appear to be undergoing a bit of a renaissance in the short story format, creating a demand for new anthologies.

Most of these stories originally appeared in magazines that no longer exist, or now print little fiction. However, the back files of the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (EQMM) or the British ‘Strand Magazine’, to name only two of hundreds of publications that once regularly printed short mystery fiction, still contain a vast wealth of untapped locked room stories awaiting rediscovery. Hopefully, with the advent of the ebook, providing low cost reproduction, many new anthologies will soon follow.

If we are to ever have a clear picture of the locked room genre, new collections of known locked room authors, and many more locked room anthologies, are desperately needed. The works listed below are the cream of the crop, and generally all accepted as treasured anthologies of classic locked room favourites. Enjoy the read!

Note: These anthologies cannot be rated, each one has its own character and priorities.

Recommended Locked Room Anthologies

murder impossibleMurder Impossible (1990)
Jack Adrian and Bob Adey 
AKA: The Art of The Impossible 



Out of Print. Available only in a used hardcover edition.


Note: One of the best anthologies!

An excellent collection, drawn from a wide range of authors who are mostly quite well known for their locked room stories.


John Dickson Carr ‘The House in Goblin Wood’
Hake Talbot ‘The Other Side’
Vincent Cornier ‘The Courtyard of the Fly’
Arthur Porges ‘Coffee Break’
W. Hope Hodgson ‘Bullion!’
Bill Pronzini ‘Proof of Guilt’
Jacques Futrelle ‘An Absence of Air’
John F. Suter ‘The Impossible Theft’
John Lutz ‘It’s A Dog’s Life’
Sax Rohmer ‘Death of Cyrus Pettigrew’
Joseph Commings ‘Ghost in the Gallery’
Edgar Wallace ‘The Missing Romney’
Gerald Findler ‘The House of Screams’
Edward D. Hoch ‘The Impossible Murder’
George Locke ‘A Nineteenth Century Debacle’
J.D. Carr ‘A Razor in Fleet Street’
Leonard Pruyn ‘Dinner at Garibaldi’s’
Joel Townsley Rogers ‘The Hanging Rope’
Jeffrey W. Allmann ‘Now You See Her’
Barry Perowne ‘The Blind Spot’
Alex Atkinson ‘Chapter the Last: Merriman Explains’.

Mammoth LR ICThe Mammoth Book of Locked Room Mysteries (2000)
Mike Ashley


Best Review

Available in ebook and paperback formats

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Note: A great exploration of the genre. Currently at a great price!

A very diverse collection combining older and more modern stories, drawn from some well known locked room authors, and a few new authors, as well as others not usually associated with this genre.


Foreword by David Renwick 
Introduction: Hey, presto! by  Mike Ashley
Waiting for Godstow by Martin Edwards
The odour of sanctity by Kate Ellis 
A traveller’s tale by Margaret Frazer 
The silver curtain by John Dickson Carr 
The stolen Saint Simon by Michael Kurland
The problem of the crowded cemetery by Edward D. Hoch 
Death rides the elevator by Lois H. Gresh & Robert Weinberg 
The burglar who smelled smoke by Lynne Wood Block & Lawrence Block
No way out by Michael Collins
Off the face of the earth by Clayton Rawson 
Murder strips off by Amy Myers 
Out of his head by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
The Doomdorf mystery by Melville Davisson Post
The adventure of the Jacobean house  by  C.N. & A.M. Williamson
The motor boat by Jacques Futrelle 
Murder in the air by Peter Tremayne 
The pulp connection by Bill Pronzini 
Stag night by Marilyn Todd 
Mr Strang accepts a challenge by William Brittain 
The legs that walked by H.R.F. Keating 
The next big thing by Peter T. Garratt 
The second drug by Richard A. Lupoff 
Ice elation by Susanna Gregory 
The mystery of the taxi-cab by Howel Evans 
Heartstopper by Frank M. Robinson 
Blind eyes by Edward Marston 
The amorous corpse by Peter Lovesey 
Afterword: Impossible crimes by Mike Ashley

Impossible CrimesThe Mammoth Book of Perfect Crimes and Impossible Mysteries (2006)
Mike Ashley


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Available in ebook and paperback formats. 

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Note: Concentrates more on the Impossible Crime. Currently at a great price!

Ashley always puts together a great collection of stories. Once again, a nice mix of old and new, well known and the relatively obscure.


Foreword: Perfectly Impossible by Mike Ashley
An Almost Perfect Crime by William F. Smith
The X Street Murders by Joseph Commings
Locked in Death by Mary Reed & Eric Mayer
Wingless Pegasus by Gillian Linscott
Duel of Shadows by Vincent Cornier
The 45 Steps by Peter Crowther
Contrary to the Evidence by Douglas Newton
The Impossible Footprint by William Brittain
Three Blind Rats by Laird Long
Death and the Rope Trick by John Basye Price
The Problem of the Black Cloister by Edward D. Hoch
A Shower of Daggers by Edward D. Hoch
The Hook by Robert Randisi
The Mystery of the Sevenoaks Tunnel by Max Rittenberg
The Red Ring by William Le Queux
Observable Justice by Will Murray
On the Rocks by J.A. Konrath
Eternally Yours by H. Edward Hunsburger
Murder in Monkeyland by Lois Gresh & Robert Weinberg
No Killer Has Wings by Arthur Porges
Benning’s School for Boys by Richard A. Lupoff
The Episode of the Nail and the Requiem by C. Daly King
The Impossible Murder of Dr Satanus by William Krohn
The Stuart Sapphire by Peter Tremayne
The Flung-Back Lid by Peter Godfrey
The Poisoned Bowl by Forrest Rosaire
Proof of Guilt by Bill Pronzini
Slaughterhouse by Barry Longyear
The Birdman of Tonypandy by Bernard Knight

sleight crimeSleight of Crime (1977)
Clute, Cedric E. (Jr) and Lewin, Nicholas



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Out of Print. Available only in used hardcover edition 


Note: A collection of 15 magical mysteries selected by magicians!

These two professional stage magicians examine the close connection between locked room mysteries, impossible crime stories, and the art of illusion!


“The Conjurer’s Revenge” by Stephen Leacock
“From Another World” by Clayton Rawson
“The Episode of the Mexican Seer” by Grant Allen
“A Trick or Two” by John Novotny
“Lammas Night” by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
“The Man of Mysteries” by Walter B. Gibson
“Death by Black Magic” by Joseph Commings
“The Adventure of the Hanging Acrobat” by Ellery Queen
“Murder among Magicians” by Manly Wade Wellman
“The Green-and-Gold String” by Philip MacDonald
“Professor Swankton’s Ruse” by George Johnson
“The Florentine Masks” by Walter B. Gibson
“The Weapon from Nowhere” by Conway Lonstar (AKA: Norma Schier)
“The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey” by Dorothy L. Sayers
“A Model Dialogue” by Stephen Leacock.

LR puzzlesLocked Room Puzzles (1991)
Martin Greenberg & Bill Pronzini



Best Reviews

Out of Print. Available only in used paperback edition. Originally issued as the third part of a four volume set called Academy Mystery Novellas Quartet. Book One: Women Sleuths; Book Two: Police Procedurals; Book Three: Locked Room Puzzles; Book Four: Great British Detectives 


Note: Four ‘Fair Play Puzzle Stories’

This little book contains four Fair-Play Puzzle Stories that challenge the reader to match wits with the brilliant literary detectives and their authors.

Edward D. Hoch; Day of The Wizard (1963)
Bill Pronzini; Booktaker (1982)
Clayton Rawson; From Another World (1948)
John Dickson Carr; The Third Bullet (original 1937 version)

Death Locked InDeath Locked In (1994)
Douglas G. Greene and Robert C. S. Adey



Best Review

Out of Print. Available only in used paperback & hardcover editions. 


Note: If you only buy 1 – this is your best pick!

An extremely well balanced collection of Locked Room stories, including classics and moderns. Most are by well known writers in the genre, but a few are quite hard to find outside of this collection.


The First Locked room by Lillian de la Torre
Passage in the Secret History of an Irish Countess by  Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
I Can Find My Way Out by  Ngaio Marsh
The Suicide of Kiaros by L. Frank Baum
The Spherical Ghoul by Fredric Brown
Out of His Head by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Murder by Proxy by  M. McDonnell Bodkin
Out of This World by Peter Godfrey
The Mystery of the Hotel de L’Orme by M.M.B.
The Magic Bullet by Edward D. Hoch
A Terribly Strange Bed by Wilkie Collins
The Room with Something Wrong by Cornell Woolrich
Invisible Hands by John Dickson Carr
The X Street Murders by Joseph Commings
The Mystery of Room No. 11 by Nicholas Carter
The Man who Disappeared by L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace
The Invisible Man by  G.K. Chesterton
The Adventure of the Man Who Could Double the Size of Diamonds by Ellery Queen
The Mystery of the Lost Special by Arthur Conan Doyle
Off the Face of the Earth by Clayton Rawson
The Grinning God by May Futrelle
The House that Was by Jacques Futrelle
Thin Air by Bill Pronzini
Elsewhen by Anthony Boucher 

TantilizingTanatalizing Locked Room Mysteries (1982)
Isaac Asimov



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Out of Print’ Available only in used hardcover edition. (Price often better at – Compare at our ‘The Locked Room Mystery’ site!)


Note: A few more hard to find titles!

A selection of 9 classic locked room short stories, the first three all too commonly anthologized, but the other six are all gems that are not so easily available.


The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
The Adventure of the Speckled Band by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Problem of Cell 13 by Jacques Futrelle
The Light at Three O’clock by MacKinlay Kantor
Murder at the Automat by Cornell Woolrich
The Exact Opposite by Erle Stanley Gardner
The Blind Spot by Barry Perowne
The 51st Sealed Room (AKA: The MWA Murder) by Robert Arthur
The Bird House by William March

Big lizard LR mysteriesThe Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries (2014)
Otto Penzler


Best Review

Available in ebook and paperback formats. 

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Note: A truly mammoth collection!

This massive collection of locked room stories provides a great introduction to the locked room and impossible crime genre. Everything from the time honoured classics to some marvellous moderns, with a few rarely anthologized additions. 68 great stories, organized into nine sections (*)


*Familiar as the rose in spring (7)

Edgar Allan Poe, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”
Jacques Futrelle, “The Problem of Cell 13”
Wilkie Collins, “A Terribly Strange Bed”
Lord Dunsany, “The Two Bottle of Relish”
G.K. Chesterton, “The Invisible Man”
Melville Davisson Post, “The Doomdorf Mystery”
Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Speckled Band”

*This was the most unkindest cut of all (12)

John Dickson Carr, “The Wrong Problem”
William Hope Hodgson, “The Thing Invisible”
James Yaffe, “Department of Impossible Crimes”
R. Austin Freeman, “The Aluminum Dagger”
Gerald Kersh, “The Crewel Needle”
Stephen King, “The Doctor’s Case”
Manly Wade Wellman, “A Knife Between Brothers”
Joseph Commings, “The Glass Gravestone”
Edgar Jepson & Robert Eustace, “The Tea Leaf”
Peter Godfrey, “The Flung-Back Lid” (a.k.a “Out Of This World”)
John Lutz, “The Crooked Picture”
Carter Dickson (a.k.a. John Dickson Carr), “Blind Man’s Hood”

*Footprints in the sands of time (6)

Edward D. Hoch, “The Man from Nowhere”
Fredric Brown, “The Laughing Butcher”
Michael Innes, “The Sands of Thyme”
Samuel Hopkins Adams, “The Flying Death”
A.E. Martin, “The Flying Corpse”
Vincent Cornier, “The Flying Hat”

*And we missed it, lost forever (14)

Hugh Pentecost, “The Day the Children Vanished”
Stanley Ellin, “The Twelfth Statue”
William Irish, “All at Once, No Alice”
Edmund Crispin, “Beware of the Trains”
H.R.F. Keating, “The Locked Bathroom” (from “The Five Senses of Mrs. Craggs”, “Hearing”)
Dashiell Hammett, “Mike, Alec and Rufus” (“Tom, Dick, Or Harry”)
C. Daly King, “The Episode of the Torment IV”
Julian Hawthorne, “Greaves’ Disappearance”
Ellery Queen, “The House of Haunts” (a.ka. “The Lamp Of God”)
J.E. Gurdon, “The Monkey Trick”
E.C. Bentley, “The Ordinary Hairpins”
Jacques Futrelle, “The Phantom Motor”
Edward D. Hoch, “The Theft of the Bermuda Penny”
Judson Philips, “Room Number Twenty-Three”

*How easily is murder discovered (7)

Lynn Wood Block & Lawrence Block, “The Burglar Who Smelled Smoke”
Augustus Muir, “The Kestar Diamond Case”
Kate Ellis, “The Odor of Sanctity”
Edward D. Hoch, “The Problem of the Old Oak Tree”
Nicholas Olde, “The Invisible Weapon”
Ray Cummings, “The Confession of Rosa Vitelli”
Stephen Barr, “The Locked Room to End Locked Rooms”

*Shoot if you must (10)

Clayton Rawson, “Nothing Is Impossible”
Bill Pronzini, “Where Have You Gone, Sam Spade?”
G.D.I. & M.I. Cole, “In a Telephone Cabinet” (a.k.a. “The Owl At The Window”)
Stuart Towne (a.k.a. Clayton Rawson), “Death Out of Thin Air”
Agatha Christie, “The Dream”
Margery Allingham, “The Border-Line Case”
Melville Davisson Post, “The Bradmoor Murder”
Leslie Charteris, “The Man Who Liked Toys”
Hulbert Footner, “The Ashcomb Poor Case”
Georges Simenon, “The Little House at Croix-Rousse”

*Stolen sweets are best (8)

Erle Stanley Gardner, “The Bird in the Hand”
David Durham, “The Gulverbury Diamonds”
Frederick Irving Anderson, “The Fifth Tube”
MacKinlay Kantor, “The Strange Case of Steinkelwintz”
Maurice Leblanc, “Arsène Lupin in Prison”
L.T. Meade, “The Mystery of the Strong Room”
Dennis Lynds, “No Way Out”
C. Daly King, “The Episode of the Codex Curse”

*One man’s poison, signor, is another’s meat (3)

Dorothy L. Sayers, “The Poisoned Dow ’08”
Margaret Frazer, “A Traveller’s Tale”
P.G. Wodehouse, “Death at the Excelsior”

*Our final hope is flat despair (1)

Martin Edwards, “Waiting for Godstow”

Whodunnit HoudiniWhodunit? Houdini? (1976)
Otto Penzler



Best Review

Out of Print. Available in used paperback and hard cover editions. (Price often better at – Compare at our ‘The Locked Room Mystery’ site!)


Note: Several quite rare locked room stories!

A rather odd collection, most of the stories are related to the connection between the locked room puzzle and the magician’s art of illusion. Includes a few real gems that are otherwise hard to find, especially the stories by Sabatini, Payrou, Grant, and Hecht.


Clayton Rawson – From another world (1948)
Rudyard Kipling – In the house of Suddhoo (1886)
John Collier – Rope enough (1941)
Carter Dickson – The new invisible man (1940)
Frederick Irving Anderson – Blind man’s bluff (1914)
Rafael Sabatini – The lord of time (1946)
William Irish – Papa Benjamin (1935)
Manuel Peyrou – Juliet and the magician (1953)
Maxwell Grant – The mad magician (1938)
Walter. B. Gibson – One night in Paris (1955)
Ben Hecht – The shadow (1935)
Stanley Ellin – The moment of decision (1955)
Elle Stanley Gardner – The hand is quicker than the eye (1939)

101 years queen101 Years of Entertainment (1941)
Original Title: 101 Years’ Entertainment: The Great Detective Stories, 1841-1941
Ellery Queen

Best Review

Out of Print. Available only in a used hardcover edition. Can be read online at


Note: A hefty collection of titles, not all locked room mysteries. 

A great anthology of the first century of short crime fiction (1841-1941), including many locked room classics – but not specifically a locked room or impossible crime collection. All these stories also appear on the Haycraft-Queen list of the world’s best mystery stories, which is an important reference to early crime fiction and the Golden Age.


Introduction by Ellery Queen
The Purloined Letter [C. Auguste Dupin] by Edgar Allan Poe
The Mystery of Mrs. Dickinson [Nick Carter] by Nicholas Carter
The Lenton Croft Robberies [Martin Hewitt] by Arthur Morrison
The S.S. [Prince Zaleski] by M.P. Shiel
The Dublin Mystery [Old Man in the Corner] by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
The Problem of Cell 13 [Prof. Augustus S.F.X. Van Dusen (The Thinking Machine)] by Jacques Futrelle
The Red Silk Scarf [1907; Arsene Lupin] by Maurice Leblanc; trans. by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos
The Puzzle Lock [Dr. John Thorndyke] R. Austin Freeman
The Secret Garden [Father Brown] by G.K. Chesterton
The Man Who Spoke Latin [Average Jones] by Samuel Hopkins Adams
The Doomdorf Mystery [Uncle Abner] by Melville Davisson Post
The Sweet Shot [Philip Trent] by E.C. Bentley
The Tragedy at Brookbend Cottage [Max Carrados] · Ernest Bramah
The Pink Edge by Frank Forest and George Dilnot
The Long Dinner [Reginald Fortune] by H.C. Bailey
A Chess Problem [Hercule Poirot] by Agatha Christie
The Owl at the Window [“In a Telephone Cabinet”; Supt. Henry Wilson] by G.D.H. and Margaret I. Cole
A Matter of Taste [Lord Peter Wimsey] by Dorothy L. Sayers
Solved by Inspection by Ronald A. Knox
The Avenging Chance [Roger Sheringham] by Anthony Berkeley
The Border-Line Case [Albert Campion] by Margery Allingham
Two Bottles of Relish [Mr. Linley] by Lord Dunsany
A Man Called Spade [Sam Spade] by Dashiell Hammett
The Resurrection of Chin Lee [Prof. Henry Poggioli] by T.S. Stribling
The Mad Tea-Party [“The Adventure of the Mad Tea-Party”; Ellery Queen] by Ellery Queen
The Crime in Nobody’s Room [Colonel March] by Carter Dickson
The Tea-Leaf by Edgar Jepson and Robert Eustace
The Mackenzie Case by Viola Brothers Shore
Introducing Susan Dare [Susan Dare] by Mignon G. Eberhart
The Treasure Hunt [Letitia (Tish) Carberry] by Mary Roberts Rinehart
The Disappearance of Mrs. Leigh Gordon [“The Case of the Missing Lady”; Tuppence Beresford; Tommy Beresford] by Agatha Christie
The Mystery of the Missing Wash [Florian Slappey] by Octavus Roy Cohen
The Criminologists’ Club [A.J. Raffles] by E.W. Hornung
Arsène Lupin in Prison [Arsene Lupin] by Maurice Leblanc
Blind Man’s Buff [Oliver Armiston] by Frederick Irving Anderson
The Stolen Romney by Edgar Wallace
Paris Adventure [Simon Templar] by Leslie Charteris
The Clock by A.E.W. Mason
The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Edward Connell
The Eleventh Juror by Vincent Starrett
Philomel Cottage by Agatha Christie
Faith, Hope and Charity [Judge William Pitman Priest] by Irvin S. Cobb
The Hands of Mr. Ottermole by Thomas Burke
Treasure Trove by F. Tennyson Jesse
Suspicion by Dorothy L. Sayers
The Silver Mask by Hugh Walpole
Ransom by Pearl S. Buck
The Perfect Crime by Ben Ray Redman

LR ReaderThe Locked Room Reader (1968)
Hans Santesson



Best Review

Out of print. Available only in used hardcover edition. (Price often better at – Compare at our ‘The Locked Room Mystery’ site!)


Note: Another excellent collection with a few too common stories.

One of the best collections, though it contains a few too often anthologized stories, along with a few rare gems.


The Locked Room by John Dickson Carr
The Dauphin’s Doll by Ellery Queen
Nothing is Impossible by Clayton Rawson
His heart could break by Craig Rice
The oracle of the dog by G.K. Chesterton
When a felon needs a friend by Morton Hershman
The Doomdorf Mystery by Melville DavissonPost
The Big Bow mystery by Israel Zangwill
The man who read John Dickson Carr by William Brittain
The long way down by Edward D. Hoch
Time Trammel by Miriam Allan De Ford
Reprieve by Lawrence G. Blochman
The smoke-filled locked room by Anthony Boucher
Bones for Davy Jones by Joseph  Commings
The fine Italian hand by Thomas Flanagan
The Narrowing Lust by Henry Kane.

All But ImpossibleAll But Impossible (1981)
Edited by Edward D. Hoch
Subtitled: An Anthology of Locked Room and Impossible Crime Stories by Members of The Mystery Writers of America 

Best Review

Out of print. Available only in used hardcover edition. (Price often better at – Compare at our ‘The Locked Room Mystery’ site!)


Note: Twenty great locked room stories by American authors. 

Some of these stories are over anthologized, but many are unique to this great collection.

The Shadow of The Goat by John Dickson Carr
The Little House at Croix-Rousse by Georges Simenon
The Problem of the Emperor’s Mushrooms by James Yaffe
From Another World by Clayton Rawson
Through a Glass, Darkly by Helen McCloy
Snowball in July by Ellery Queen
The Newtonian Egg by Peter Godfrey
The Triple-Lock’d Room by Lillian de la Torre
The Brazen Locked Room by Isaac Asimov
The Martian Crown Jewels
The Day the Children Vanished by Hugh Pentecost
As If by Magic by Julian Symons
The Impossible Theft John F. Suter
Mr. Strange Takes a Field Trip by William Brittain
No One Likes To Be Played for a Sucker by Michael Collins
The Arrowmont Prison Riddle by Bill Pronzini
Box in a Box by Jack Ritchie
The Number 12 Jinx by Jon L. Breen
The Magician’s Wife by J.F. Peirce
The Problem of the Covered Bridge by Edward D. Hoch

Crook TourCrooks’ Tour (1953)
Members of MWA Ed. Bruno Fischer 


Best Review

Out of print. Available only in used hardcover edition.

Used Book Only

Note: An interesting collection, but not all locked room or impossible crimes. 

Several great stories, including Anthony Boucher’s rare locked room classic  ‘The Anomaly of The Empty Man’


The MWA murder by Robert Arthur
Fox in the Pennine Hills by Maurice Procter
Not a lick of sense by Dorothy Gardiner
Flowers for an angel by Nigel Morland
Nobody’s business by Bruno Fischer
A boy’s will by Q. Patrick
The dilemma of Grandpa Dubois by Clayre and Michel Lipman
Big shot by Brett Halliday
The needle’s eye by Ellery Queen
The lieabout by Margery Allingham
The anomaly of the empty man by Anthony Boucher
The jimat of Dorland by Lawrence G. Blochman
Death, in the bag by Walter Snow
Source Seven by Michael Gilbert
Letter to the editor by Morris Hershman
The sound of murder by William P. McGivern
Homicide house by Day Keene
The wire brush by Lawrence Treat and Sidney Tarachow
Bones for Davy Jones by Joseph Commings
The château of missing men by Georges Simenon
The weapon by Fredric Brown
The man who wasn’t there by Ruthven Todd.

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