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Locked Room Authors Index: A 


Many of the best locked room classics have been written by authors who only wrote one or two titles in the genre. This page is the first instalment of our locked room classics index, covering all these minor locked room authors, without author pages, whose surnames begin with the letter A. New titles will be added to this page as information becomes available on titles that are currently unavailable or where sufficient information cannot currently be found. Details on many of these titles is quite hard to find – if you have information to add please let us know on our GoodMystery Facebook page!


Minor Locked Room Novels: A


gants RAGants (1987)
Authors: Richard Abshire & William Clair
Detective: Charlie Gants

Best Review
***

Available only in used paperback editions.

Book  Amazon.ca

Note: Homicides with a supernatural twist!

Our first author is Richard Abshire. He was a captain in charge of the Dallas Police Department’s Tactical Section from January 1975 to December 1977. He left the department in 1979 to become a reporter at The Dallas Morning News’ Garland bureau. Abshire is best remembered for his fictional detective Jack Kyle, an ex-cop turned Dallas gumshoe, your typical hard-boiled operative: middle-aged, divorced, broke and – surprise, surprise – more than a little cynical. Still, while not breaking any new ground, the series did get compliments for its plotting and characterization. However our interest is in another series he co-authored with former Dallas police officer William Clair. The ‘Charlie Gants’ books feature an ex-homicide detective who investigates cases with a super-natural twist. The first volume ‘Gants’ deals with an impossible death by shooting inside a room which no one could escape from before witnesses arrived on the scene.


missed partyThe Man Who Missed The Party (1990)
Author: Harold Adams
Detective: Carl Wilcox

Best Review
****

Available only in used paperback and hardcover editions.

Book  Amazon.ca

Note: A Vagrant Detective

Harold Adams died in April 2014, age 91, in the Twin Cities. Adams’ series of mysteries about the laconic sign painter/private eye Carl Wilcox were all set in Depression-era South Dakota, in a small-town hotel in Corbin, S.D., that was based on a hotel that his grandparents ran and where Adams and his brothers spent their summers when they were growing up. Critically acclaimed, Adams was twice nominated for a Shamus Award from the Private Eye Writers of America and won the Shamus in 1993 for ‘The Man Who Was Taller Than God’.  The main character, Carl Wilcox, was reportedly based on his uncle who was a womanizer and had been to prison. Carl Wilcox would  rather drink, or flirt with a widow or two, but murders keep occurring on a surprisingly regular basis for a town of 1300 citizens. 

Carl was a soldier, but he’s now a vagrant ne’er-do-well jack-of-all-trades, con man and old fashioned bum, who makes a few bucks as an intolerant sign painter, but still can’t keep himself out of trouble, which means he usually has to play private detective to keep himself out of jail. Carl is always trying to clean up his act, but his wise cracking manner, just seems to keep him down. a very unusual detective, who in ‘The Man Who Missed the Party’ must solve a locked room mystery that takes place in a shower stall.


flying deathThe Flying Death (1908)
Author: Samuel Hopkins Adams
Detectives: Professor Willis Ravenden & Stanford Colton

Locked Room Review
****

Available in paperback and ebook editions.

Book  eBook  Anthology  Amazon.ca

Note: A famous locked room short story in novel format.

Samuel Hopkins Adams was born in Dunkirk, New York. Adams was most famously known for exposing public health issues, this is how he became known as a muckraker. He was the son of Myron Adams, Jr., a minister, and Hester Rose Hopkins. Adams attended Hamilton College in Clinton, New York from 1887-1891, he also attended a semester at Union College. In 1907, Adams divorced his wife, Elizabeth Ruffner Noyes, after having two daughters. Eight years later Adams married an actress, Jane Peyton. Adams was a close friend of both the investigative reporter Ray Stannard Baker and District Attorney Benjamin Darrow.

Adams also wrote two locked room short stories – one being the original short story version of “The Flying Death’ which appears in The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked Room Mysteries (see Anthologies Recommended Reading) The other is ‘Aunt Minnie and The Accessory After The Fact’ which can be found in EQMM October 1949 and several other anthologies.


his burial tooHis Burial Too
Author: Catherine Aird
Detective: Inspector C. D. Sloan

Best Review
****

Available in paperback and ebook editions.

Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Note: Aird’s only locked room novel!

Catherine Aird (born June 20, 1930) is the pseudonym of novelist Kinn Hamilton McIntosh. She is the author of more than twenty crime fiction novels and several collections of short stories. Her witty, literate, and deftly plotted novels straddle the “cozy” and “police procedural” genres and are somewhat similar in flavor to those of Martha Grimes, Caroline Graham, M C Beaton, Margaret Yorke, and Pauline Bell. However, she wrote only one locked room title, ‘His Burial Too’, as well as a short story, Cause and Effect’, which was published only in the rare anthology ‘A Classic English Crime’ (1990)


out of his headOut of His Head (1862)
Author: Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Detective: Paul Lynde

Best Review
****

Available in paperback and ebook editions.

Book  Archive.org  Amazon.ca

Note: A very early locked room title!

Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836 – 1907) was an American literary figure notable for his long editorship of The Atlantic, during which he published works by Charles Chestnut, and for his poetry, including “The Unguarded Gates.” Aldrich was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, but when Aldrich was a child, his father moved to New Orleans. He later returned to New England and wrote in many genres and was a prolific writer. ‘Out Of His Head’ is sometimes subtitled ‘a romance’, but contains a death by stabbing inside a locked room. There are two versions of this title. The novel is 228 pages long, while the short story found in ‘Death Locked In’ is only 14 pages! (see Anthologies Recommended Reading)


humpty dumptyThe Death of Humpty Dumpty (1959)
Author: David Alexander
Detective: Bart Hardin, reporter

Best Review
****

Available only in used hardcover editions.

Book

Note: Humpty Dumpty takes a great fall!

A man dressed as Humpty Dumpty is seen to fall from the top of a building but never hits the ground! See Beneath Stains of Time Moonlight Detective Best Review for more details. One of the better, almost forgotten, locked room titles!


Tghost train RAhe Ghost Train
Author: Ruth Alexander, play by Arnold Ridley
Detective: Capt. Edward Gascoyne Morrison

Best Review  Play Review
***

Available only in used hardcover editions.

Book

Note: A novelization of a scary ghost train play!

The Ghost Train was actor and playwright Arnold Ridley’s only real writing success. It was later turned into a novel by Ruth Alexander. A ghost train appears from nowhere to much ado! 


uncounted hourThe Uncounted Hour (1936)
Author: H. Warner Allen
Detective: Philip Gaymore & Inspector Wake

No Review

Available only in used hardcover editions.

Book

Note: Killer gas!

This one involves a death by poison gas inside a locked room. H. Warner Allen collaborated with E.C. Bentley on ‘Trent’s Own Case’, and is best-known for his books on wine and his Mr. Clerihew, wine merchant mysteries. He also wrote another quite famous locked room, ‘The Devil That Slumbers‘ (1925), which is now nearly impossible to find, and worth $1500+ if one is for sale. The best bibliography is on Library Thing – though it misses ‘The Devil That Slumbers’.


capital murderThe Capital Murder (1932)
Author: James Z. Alner
Detective: Trevor Stoke

Best Review
****

Available only in used hardcover editions.

Book

Note: Murder in D.C.!

James Z. Alner’s only crime fiction work. A group of five powerful men are gathered at the Serpentine Club when they are told of the murder of a woman they know. Trevor Stoke, epidemiologist, eventually solves this case of poisoning inside a locked room. See Best Review for a few more details.


dream walker CAThe Dream Walker (1955) 
Author: Charlotte Armstrong
Detective: Charlie Ives & Olivia Hudson

Best Review
***

Available only in used hardcover editions.

Book

Note: The Dream Walker is in two places at once!

An unscrupulous actress is perpetrating a supernatural hoax that has stunned the country. She’s the Dream Walker – a mysterious apparition who shows up in two different cities at the same time, then disappears, untraceable. Olivia Hudson, an acting teacher at a private Manhattan girls’ school, considers this no more than a mean-spirited prank born of desperation and blind ambition. Until, that is, it tarnishes the deservedly spotless reputation of a beloved, but famous, family friend. Now, Olivia respects a good actress, but when this woman’s antics begin to involve murder… someone has to intervene. Someone who can best an actress at her own game… to escape with her life!


trackless thingThe Trackless Things
Author: Justin Atholl
Detective: Superintendent Lakin

Best Review
****

Available only in used paperback editions.

Book

Note: Multiple impossible mysteries!

See Best Review for background history of this author. The story involves multiple murders in unaccessible upper rooms and on lawns with no footprints, carried out with a gun that has remained locked in a drawer while the crimes were committed.


Double BelotThe Double Death of Frederic Belot
Author: Claude Aveline
Detective: Simon Riviere

Best Review
****

Available only in used hardcover editions.

Book

Note: A case of double identity!

A chief of detectives is found murdered in the same room as his double! See detailed Best Review by Pretty Sinister Blog


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