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Peter Godfrey Locked Room]


Peter Godfrey (1917-1992), was a South African journalist and short-story writer, who created one of the most imaginative of modern sleuths, Rolf le Roux, called “Oom Rolf” by his nephew, Lieutenant Joubert of the Johannesburg police. In total there are ten stories in the collection ‘The Newtonian Egg and Other Cases of Rolf Le Roux’, and one other locked room tale. All these stories were first published between 1948 and 1986. Le Roux investigates such riddles as the man who can’t remember 52 minutes of his life, an egg which becomes filled with poison before it is opened, letters addressed to the Johannesburg police threatening bomb blasts, the impossible murder in a cable car hanging many feet above ground, and an attempt by a racist politician to attack non-whites. Godfrey, who left South Africa because of his opposition to Apartheid has created not only wonderfully clever detective puzzles, but has captured a world that has now vanished.


Peter Godfrey Locked Room Short Stories


newtonian eggKill and Tell (1950)
Detective: Rolf Le Roux

Collection: The Newtonian Egg and Other Cases of Rolf Le Roux; EQMM, January, 1950

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A case of poisoning inside a locked room.

Newtonian Egg and Other Cases of Rolf Le Roux, includes:

The Newtonian Egg
The Fifth Dimension
Kill and Tell
And Turn the Hour
Angel of Death
Time Out of Mind
The Face of the Sphinx
Little Fat Man
The Flung-back Lid
The Perfumes of Arabia


EQMM 03:51A Dagger of The Mind (1951)
Detective: Rolf Le Roux

Collection: EQMM, March 1951

Available only in original magazine format.

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, March 1951

A man’s throat is cut inside a locked room and the culprit is immediately nabbed. The only problem is no weapon is found!


newtonian eggThe Newtonian Egg (1951)
Detective: Rolf Le Roux

Collection: The Newtonian Egg and Other Cases of Rolf Le Roux; All But Impossible (1981)

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Note: A nasty breakfast?

Hull Brook is hospitalized after eating an egg from an a perfect uncracked shell. How did the poison get into his morning egg?


Death Locked InOut of This World (1954)
Detective: Rolf Le Roux

Collection: Death Locked In (1987)

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Note: See The Flung-Back Lid


Big lizard LR mysteriesThe Flung-Back Lid (1979)
AKA: Out of This World
Detective: Rolf Le Roux

Collection: The Newtonian Egg and Other Cases of Rolf Le Roux; Black Lizard Big Book of Locked Room Mysteries

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Note: from Blogging The Black Lizard 2/8

‘The Flung-Back Lid’, by South African author, Peter Godfrey, is another great locked room puzzle, set on the cable car ride from Cape Town up to Table Mountain. Only three men spent that night on top of the mountain, Clobber, Heston, and a native labourer, Ben. The problem arises next morning, when Heston admits that he is extremely nervous about the 2000′ descent down to the base of the mountain, but he finally climbs aboard, all alone, despite these superstitious fears. All goes well until the two cars pass at the mid point, when those ascending in the other car see Heston hanging half out the window with a knife stuck in the middle of his back!

A rewritten and improved version of ‘Out of This World’


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