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L. T. Meade & Robert Eustace Locked Room Titles


LT MeadeL. T. Meade was the pseudonym of Elizabeth Thomasina Meade Smith (1844–1914), a prolific writer of girls’ stories. She was born in Bandon, County Cork, Ireland, daughter of Rev. R. T. Meade of Nohoval, County Cork. She later moved to London, where she married Alfred Toulmin Smith in September 1879.

She began writing at 17 and produced over 300 books in her lifetime, being so prolific that not less than eleven new titles under her byline appeared in the first few years after her death. She was primarily known for her books for young people, of which the most famous was ‘A World of Girls’, published in 1886. However, she also wrote “sentimental” and “sensational” stories, religious stories, historical novels, adventure, romances, and mysteries, including several with male co-authors. The first of these was Dr. Clifford Halifax, with whom she collaborated in 1893; publishing six books. A year later she teamed up with Robert Eustace, and turned out eleven volumes with him. Her last co-author was Sir Robert Kennaway Douglas (her daughter’s father-in-law); they produced only one book in 1897. The Eustace partnerships are notable for two female villains, Madame Sara (in The Sorceress of the Strand) and Madame Koluchy (the mastermind of a band of gangsters, in The Brotherhood of the Seven Kings). 

Robert Eustace was the pen name of Eustace Robert Barton (1854–1943), an English doctor and author of mystery and crime fiction with a theme of scientific innovation. He also wrote as Eustace Robert Rawlings. Eustace often collaborated with other writers, producing a number of works with the author L. T. Meade and others. He is credited as co-author with Dorothy L. Sayers of the novel ‘The Documents in the Case’, for which he supplied the main plot idea and supporting medical and scientific details.

Edited from Wikipedia

The John Bell, ghost exposer, stories from ‘A Master of Mysteries’, are free and certainly well worth reading. Bell is not a psychic investigator, he is a typical detective who has no faith in supernatural explanations. He investigates the scene, questions witnesses, uses disguises, and knows a lot about fake spooks and hauntings. Bell is a pretty typical scientific Victorian, who always controls his fear and reassures those who have apparent psychic problems, without being condescending. These are real quite good stories, that have been largely forgotten! 

More on L.T. Meade    More on Robert Eustace


L.T. Meade Locked Room Novels


The Red Ruth
Author: L. T. Meade (1907)
Detective: Rudolf Grey

No Review

Currently out of print.

Note: Not available

A locked room title that is long out of print and unavailable. Great novel to re-issue!


L.T. Meade & Robert Eustace Locked Room Short Stories


master mysteriesThe Eight-Mile Lock
Author: L.T. Meade & Robert Eustace
Detective: John Bell, ghost exposer

Collection: A Master of Mysteries (1898)

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Available in paperback and ebook editions.

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Note: Captain Ghost?

Bell attends a party aboard a boat on the River Thames, at the invitation of Lady Helena Ridsdale. Which puts him on the scene when Helena’s diamond bracelet goes missing during a moonlight dance.  Scotland Yard can’t find the bracelet, so Bell  rows down river to the home of  fellow guest Ralph Vyner, and along the way hears a ghostly tale about a nautical ghost, told by the keeper of “The Eight-Mile Lock”, which allows him to solve the mystery.


master mysteriesHow Siva Spoke
Author: L.T. Meade & Robert Eustace
Detective: John Bell, ghost exposer

Collection: A Master of Mysteries (1898)

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Available in paperback and ebook editions.

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Note: What does Siva have to say?

Edward Thesiger is going mad! He spent many years in India, and came home with a stolen idol, snatched from the house of a Brahmin friend. Now Siva has developed a talent for conversation and is trying to force him to change his ways! His niece and her fiancé are convinced this will soon lead to violence and call Bell in for a bit of advice! 


master mysteriesThe Mystery of The Circular Chamber
Author: L.T. Meade & Robert Eustace
Detective: John Bell, ghost exposer

Collection: A Master of Mysteries (1898)

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Available in paperback and ebook editions.

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Note: No room for ghosts!

Bell investigates the strange death of Archbibald Wentworth, the third to die in a haunted bedroom of the rural Tower Inn, whose residents are not very friendly and try to keep Bell from staying overnight. But Bell will not be dissuaded and after a sleepless night solves the mystery.


master mysteriesThe Mystery of The Felwyn Tunnel 
Author: L.T. Meade & Robert Eustace
Detective: John Bell, ghost exposer

Collection: A Master of Mysteries (1898)

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Available in paperback and ebook editions.

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Note: A tunnel of death?

The Lytton Vale Railway Company in Wales consults Bell when two signalmen are found dead, on separate occasions and under suspicious circumstances, at the mouth of a tunnel. Bell and a companion take the night shift at the signal box in an attempt to solve this spooky puzzle. 


master mysteriesTo Prove An Alibi 
Author: L.T. Meade & Robert Eustace
Detective: John Bell, ghost exposer

Collection: A Master of Mysteries (1898)

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Available in paperback and ebook editions.

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Note: More haunted chambers!

Sailing home after wintering in Egypt, Bell meets Arthur Cressley, returning after 15 years in Australia. This young man intends to take up residence at Cressley Hall, the decaying family seat in Derbyshire. The only problem with this plan is, that for almost two hundred years, every Cressley who has slept in the turret bedroom has died under very odd circumstances. Bell gets involved in a complex case of conflicting telegrams, and a clever plan to create the perfect alibi. 


master mysteriesThe Warder of The Door 
Author: L.T. Meade & Robert Eustace
Detective: John Bell, ghost exposer

Collection: A Master of Mysteries (1898)

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Note: A family curse is not what it seems!

The Clinton family lives in what was once an abbey and have long suffered from a multi generational curse. As each heir dies, his spirit apparently takes over the duty of guarding a secret room which contains a coffin. Anyone who enters this hidden chamber will be kept prisoner – until it pleases the Warden of the Door to grant their release. Sir Henry Clinton wants his son, Allen, to call off his wedding and let the family curse finally end, but  Allen and Bell would rather investigate!


meade 21The Secret of Emu Plain
Author: L.T. Meade & Robert Eustace
Detective: John Bell, ghost exposer

Collection: Cassell’s Magazine, December 1898

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Available in paperback and ebook editions.

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Note: Magical in the Australian Outback

MikeGrost: A story of apparently magical events in the Australian Outback, is a definitive look at the eerie properties of that region, anticipating (Joan Lindsay’s)  Picnic at Hanging Rock (1967).


meade 21The Mystery of The Strong Room 
Author: L.T. Meade & Robert Eustace
Detective: Norman Head

Collection: The Brotherhood of The Seven Kings (1899); The Black Lizard Big Book Of Locked Room Mysteries

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Available in paperback and ebook editions.

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Note: Meet Madame Koluchy – Meade’s first evil female mastermind!

Review from our post Blogging The Black Lizard (7 of 8)

‘The Mystery of the Strong Room’ (1899), was written by L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace, two quite important authors in the history of mystery fiction, whose works include, “A Master of Mysteries’ (1898), featuring detective John Bell, which appears to be the first collection of impossible short stories. In ‘The Mystery of the Strong Room’, a valuable diamond impossibly goes missing from a custom made strong room. Our heroes, Mr. Head and Mr. Dufrayer, are quite certain that their arch enemy, Madame Koluchy, the leader of an evil Italian criminal organization, is behind this heist and attempt to set a trap. Another great mystery read, though, once again, not much of a locked room plot. The diamond does disappear from a high tech strong room, but that is pure misdirection. 


meade 21Mr. Bovey’s Unexpected Will 
Author: L.T. Meade & Robert Eustace
Detective: Florence Cusack

Collection: Harmsworth Magazine (1899)

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Note: The first Florence Cusack story!

Mike Grost: The Florence Cusack stories open with “Mr. Bovey’s Unexpected Will” (1899). This tale’s plot, in its comic mode, shows signs of being a dry run for the more sinister “The Man Who Disappeared”. If Meade’s grimmer stories invoke magic, this light hearted one recalls fairy tales. It also begins with the detective Miss Cusack announcing that she is suffering from nervous problems, a plot thread that is dropped. Sympathetic characters who suffer from mental illness run through the Meade tales.


meade 21The Face of The Abbot 
Author: L.T. Meade
Detective: Dixon Druce

Collection: The Sorceress of The Strand (1903)

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Note: The Third Madame Sara story

Helen Sherwood seeks help from Dixon with her inheritance, a haunted castle in Portugal. Madame Sara wants Helen to visit the castle and look into the haunting legend of the white face, which means that the diabolical Sara has a nasty new plan!

The Sorceress of The Strand – a 6 story collection.

The villainous Madame Sara is always involved in some scheme which ends up crossing swords with her arch rival, Dixon Druce, the manager of the Solvency Inquiry Agency, a government watchdog and protector against fraud – where he is assisted by Dr. Eric Vandeleur, a police surgeon. All six of the following tales should be contained in the ‘Sorceress of the Strand’ collection – which is not always the case!

Madame Sara – Dixon Druce meets Madame Sara, who owns a perfumery shop in The Strand. She is a professional beauty expert, who is soon suspected of a poisoning! Not a locked room – but worth reading!

The Blood Red Cross – Dixon is a guest at George Rowland’s home, where a necklace with eighty pearls is ready for a bride on her wedding-day, but Madame Sara is also ready! Not a locked room – but worth reading!

The Face of the Abbott (above)

The Talk of the Town ( below)

The Bloodstone – Dixon is visiting Lady Violet Bouverie, when their esteemed visitor Mirza Ali Khan’s ‘Bloodstone’ goes missing. How will Vandeleur & Dixon prove her innocence? Not a locked room – but a fairly good read!

The Teeth of the Wolf – Dixon and Vandeleur are visiting Julia Bensasan, a friend of Madame Sara who tames dangerous animals! Can Dixon and Vandeleur escape the teeth of the wolf? Not a locked room – but a fairly good read!


sorceress ibrivoxThe Talk of The Town 
Author: L.T. Meade
Detective: Eric Vandeleur & Dixon Druce

Collection: The Sorceress of The Strand (1903)

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Available in paperback, ebook and Librivox editions – read below.

Book  Librivox

Note: The fourth Madame Sara story – often hard to find!

Professor Piozzi makes a spectacular discovery, that has no apparent commercial value. He is still waiting for a patent, when he is poisoned and it becomes clear that Madame Sara has her eyes on this seemingly useless prize!

This story does not appear in most editions of  ‘The Sorceress of The Strand’. It is included in the ‘The Complete Sorceress of The Strand’ (Book link above) and also in the free Librivox recording, but not in the ’21 Mysteries’ version or many other ebooks.


Death Locked InThe Man Who Disappeared
Author: L.T. Meade & Robert Eustace
Detective: Dr Garland & Inspector Frost

Collection: Silenced (1904); Death Locked In, Douglas Greene & Robert Adey, 1994

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Available only in hardcover edition.

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Note: Another good reason to buy ‘Death Locked In’!

Mike Grost “Meade and Eustace’s “The Man Who Disappeared” (1901) contains imagery that will find echoes in Freeman’s “A Silent Witness” (1914): there is the well described Hampstead Heath, the use of sinister basements, and the similar use of chemistry as well. “


The Invisible Enemy
Author: L.T. Meade & Robert Eustace
Detective: Professor Christopher Ekshaw

Collection: The Storyteller, October 1907

No Review

Available only in original magazine. No image available.

The Storyteller, October 1907

Note: A lost story?

Robert Adey in Locked Room Murders tells us that this story involves “Deaths by unknown poisons introduced by unknown means” and informs us the detective is “Professor Christopher Ekshaw”. No reprints found, seems to be a lost story unless you have this magazine which is now more than a century old. Please advise us on Facebook if you have further information. http://on.fb.me/1LJ9IiB


Big lizard LR mysteriesThe Tea Leaf
Author: Robert Eustace & Edgar Jepson
Detective: Ruth Kelstern

Collection: The Strand Magazine, October 1925; The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked Room Mysteries

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Note: A classic locked room device used  for the first time!

No L.T. Meade, but another Robert Eustace collaboration brings us this truly classic locked room tale!

Review from our post Blogging The Black Lizard (2 of 8)

‘The Tea Leaf’, by Edgar Jepson & Robert Eustace, is a truly classic locked room murder, which has, unfortunately, been copied far too many times! Hugh Willoughton is stabbed to death inside a Turkish Bath and Arthur Kelstern is the obvious suspect. They have been arguing for years, most recently over Willoughton’s affair with Ruth Kelster. The only problem is, despite a most careful search, the inept police cannot find any weapon inside the steam bath. Do you already know the solution? Still, this story is clearly saved by the simple fact that this is apparently the original use of this now all too familiar locked room plot device!


Complete L.T. Meade Bibliography


Locked Room 101: The Masters


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