The Top Ten Police Detectives of All Time

inspector jack robinson phyrne fisher

I’ve recently done the top ten best private detectives of all time, and as such I felt it was only right and proper to do the same for the other end of the spectrum; the police detective.

Police detectives abide by both the constructs of the law and their own personal beliefs. They often face many hurdles that private detective do not have to deal with, making them a great means of delivering both human drama and exceptional criminal investigations. They often work alongside private eyes, supporting them and giving them the stability, resources and legal standing that they need to get their result.

As such, they occupy a unique space within the Crime Fiction space, and therefore it is with great excitement that I showcase my top ten favourites. As with my piece on private detectives, I quickly realised that five would never be enough, so have a look and see what you think!

10. Frank Merlin: As a relatively new kid on the fictional police detective block, Mark Ellis’ tough yet charming London based detective might seem like an odd choice for this list, yet I was so enthralled by him in the latest novel, Merlin at War, that I felt compelled to go out and buy the previous two novels and read more about this rugged man and his dogged pursuit of right in a turbulent time.

9. Charles Parker: ‘Parker Bird’ as he is affectionately known by his colleague and later brother-in-law Lord Peter Wimsey, is a more interesting character than he lets on, and although he is less well-read and educated than his colleague, he makes up for it in dogged determination and sheer hard work, something which his noble friend cannot boast.

8. Inspector Bucket: Often noted as one of the first police detectives in fiction, the character appears in Charles Dickens’ novel Bleak House, assisting the wealthy protagonists in their investigations and acting as both a constabulary figure whose authority is seen as absolute, but also as a figure who highlighted the class issues abundant at the time. Believed to have been based on several real life Scotland Yard detectives, as it was commonly acknowledged that Dickens was intrigued by the newly formed division there and observed and interviewed many of its detectives, Inspector Bucket can be seen as an example of the very first police detective character, and therefore acts as a template for many later fictional incarnations of himself.

7. Jack Robinson: My love of Kerry Greenwood’s Miss Phyrne Fisher novels is by now well known and evidenced by my top five and interview with the author herself. However, whilst the protagonist represents everything that is great about female detectives, she is often ably assisted by the constabulary in the form of Inspector Jack Robinson, as well as Constable Hugh Collins and an assortment of other junior members of the Melbourne police. Jack and Hugh are the two reoccurring police characters in the series, and the inspector in particular offers a fascinating glimpse into Australian police characters. He is described as a man whose appearance is so boring and unremarkable that people have been known to forget what he looks like half way through conversing with him, making him ideal for sneaking up on suspects. He is also so unmemorable that he blends in anywhere, and this, combined with his dogged determination and vast experience in the force make him the ideal ally for the daring socialite turned private eye that is Miss Fisher.

6. James Japp: Agatha Christie’s reoccurring policeman, who regularly assists private detective Hercule Poirot, Japp is an incredibly underrated character. To my mind he is woefully undervalued, particularly in the TV and film adaptations of Christie’s brilliant Poirot novels. Although he is not perhaps as prolific as Superintendent Spence in the novels, he is certainly more inclined to use the private detective to his advantage, and Japp is often seen playing up to Poirot’s ego to gain the information or assistance he needs. His canny ability to elicit the support required is unique and shows the ingenuity and understanding of human nature which Poirot often lacks.

5. John Rebus: Ian Rankin’s indestructible detective, who gets booted off the force or almost killed more times than you can shake a stick at, is a great example of the blurred lines between private and police detectives. He often does not adhere to the law, making him a virtual outsider in the force, but his strong sense of loyalty and commitment to the force keep him coming back every time.

4. Logan McRae: Stuart MacBride’s atmospheric novels showcase the detective skills of the luckless McRae, who is a punching bag for every gangster in Aberdeen, but also an intelligent and sensitive explorer of human nature. He often uses a combination of street smarts and emotional understanding to get his man and stop some of the most vicious criminals north of the border.

3. Endeavour Morse: Colin Dexter’s cerebral, intelligent yet socially inept Inspector is a truly intriguing, heart warming character who often shows the very best of human nature whilst working to uncover those who show it at its worst. His vast education and brilliant mind combine to create a man who is able to decipher even the most vexing case, and alongside his kind and sweet Sergeant he is able to take on whatever Oxford has to throw at them. Both characters are very different in the books from those portrayed on TV, and in the books the older, kinder Sergeant Lewis is a great foil for the young, impetuous Inspector of whom he is so fond.

2. Jules Maigret: As you can see from my top five, Georges Simenon’s intrepid Parisian policeman is both fascinating and engaging, and his dogged approach to catching his criminals makes him a truly exceptional policeman and an inventive protagonist. You would think that reading about a man so ordinary he blended in almost anywhere as he went about the rigours of chasing criminals around Europe would be dull, but thanks to Simenon’s exceptional writing and brisk narrative the result is the opposite, which is probably why Maigret was written into more than 75 novels and remains a popular figure in the media today.

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1. Kurt Wallander: Henning Mankell’s detective is often dubbed ‘the Swedish Inspector Morse’, and with good reason; both men are intelligent yet grumpy and often bad with people, as well as sharing diabetes and a fondness for opera and classical music. Also, both series are strongly rooted in their settings, for Morse it is Oxford, whereas Wallander walks the streets of Ystad and the wider Skane region in search of his criminals. What separates them is the tone of the novels; whilst Dexter’s Morse often deals with class related crimes depicted in a gentle, benevolent manner, Mankell shows Wallander dealing with truly disgusting acts of violence and degradation, with the character often resorting to tough tactics to restore order and allow justice to prevail.

 

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Alex Macbeth Interview: “The first title I read was Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie”

The Red die

This week I caught up with The Red Die author Alex Macbeth to learn more about his writing, inspiration and the books that have influenced him.

Tell me about how the books you write. Why do you have such a passion for crime fiction in particular?

My debut novel The Red Die is a crime fiction title set in Mozambique. It has elements of espionage and is essentially a political-thriller-cum-detective-novel.

My main character Comandante Felisberto is a single father with two kids who has jurisdiction for a district of 130,000 people with nothing more than a handful of officers and one battered police car.

The body of a man with a red die in his pocket is washed ashore near a quiet village on the coast of the Indian Ocean in southern Africa. But what looked initially like a corpse that came in with the tide soon turns out to be a murder case that will lead Comandante Felisberto and his team to the edge of danger and despair as they uncover a trail leading up to the highest echelons of power in their country. Can Felisberto and his ‘motley crew of rural investigators’ solve the case – and survive?

What was the first crime fiction novel you read and how did it draw you into seeking out more books of this genre?

The first title I read was Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. But it was later when I discovered Henning Mankell and Nordic Noir that I really became passionate about the genre.

What is your career background and how did you get into writing professionally?

I’ve been a journalist for more than 10 years. I currently write a weekly newsletter for The Local Europe and before that I worked on media projects in Afghanistan, Pakistan, North and East Africa for five years at MiCT International, based in Berlin. I became interested in writing at a young age. My mum is a writer and so was my dad.

What books/ authors do you enjoy reading and how does this influence your writing?

I am always looking to discover new crime fiction and it’s hard to pick out a few titles because there are so many great ones. Camilleri’s Montalbano series resonates with me because I grew up in Italy, but I also really like Boris Akunin’s Fandorin novels.

I also enjoy reading contemporary African literature – although in the last five years I have mainly read crime fiction.

Nordic Noir has no doubt had a huge influence on my writing. I love all of the ten Sjowall and Wahloo novels – the Martin Beck series – but I am also a big fan of Henning Mankell. I also have to mention Alexander McCall Smith’s The Nr. 1 Ladies Detective Agency as an influence in terms of cozy detective writing in southern Africa. I’ve also been influenced by Moussa Konaté (Mali) and Deon Meyer (SA), two great African crime fiction writers.

Recently I’ve really enjoyed Parker Bilal’s novels, featuring private investigator Makana, which are set in Egypt.

Every time I read a crime fiction title I try and learn something new, whether it’s a tiny trait in how a detective is portrayed or a larger plot device. This is only the beginning of my journey as a crime fiction author and I’m always looking to learn from other writers.

If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, on a writing project, who would it be and why?

George Simenon reportedly wrote many of his masterpieces in a weekend so I’d love to watch how he did it that one Saturday night.

Have you got any exciting new plans or projects coming up that you’d like to share with me?

A sequel to The Red Die will be out in 2019.

Many thanks to Alex for answering my questions, it’s great to hear from a fellow Mankell fan! You can find out more about Alex and his work HERE.

 

The Trouble Boys Review: A Gritty Historical Thriller That Packs A Punch

the trouble boys

Another foray into historical Crime Fiction for the Dorset Book Detective as I review The Trouble Boys, a novel which spans two decades and showcases the human side of organised crime.

The Trouble Boys centers around the Irish mob in New York City from the 1930s to the 1950s. The story opens in pre-WWII Europe when young Irish immigrant Colin O’Brien settles with his family in New York City.

Upon arrival Colin befriends a Cuban-American boy named Johnny Garcia. Life in America isn’t what Colin’s family expects and he experiences a shocking tragedy that alters his life. As Johnny and Colin grow into men, their friendship changes. They begin working for different crime syndicates, with Colin joining the ranks of charismatic Tom McPhalen’s Irish mob and Johnny becoming a member of debonair Tito Bernal’s Cuban gang.

As Colin’s rise in the ranks of organized crime becomes increasingly more brutal and demeaning and his friendship with Johnny deteriorates, he begins to question his place in the seductive yet violent world he’s found himself in.

At the end of the day, E. R. Fallon’s riveting thriller shows a familiar yet inventive version of a traditional tale; one of falling through the cracks of society into a mess of criminality that spirals to reveal the true grit of a character. Fallon’s characters hold up well under such close scrutiny, and the book as a whole is a great example of a nail-biting thriller with enough twists and human drama to sustain it through to the riveting conclusion.

The Top Ten Best Private Detectives of All Time

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I love a good private eye mystery, and although I have looked at individual books series and writers in my lists before, I realised recently that I have never looked at the genre as a whole, a misdemeanour that I fully intend to rectify.

Private eyes are really interesting characters; their distance from the law removes them its restrictions, whilst their moral code and friendship often offer them a different set of, slightly less regimented, rules to follow. Although traditionally private detectives in fiction were often former policemen who had left the force under a cloud or soldiers who were bored and seeking a return to a form of regimented lifestyle, today there are many different options to choose from when it comes to private investigators.

Originally envisaged as a top five, I quickly realised that I would need to double the number of detectives in order to showcase the ultimate list, so here are the ten best private investigators from around the world and across the Crime Fiction landscape.

10. Sam Spade: The inspiration behind many great American private detective characters, including Raymond Chandler’s exceptional Philip Marlowe, Dashiell Hammett’s mischievous and cheeky character makes The Maltese Falcon a true classic pulp fiction novel.

9. Bulldog Drummond: Sapper’s demobbed solider turned private eye is a gift to anyone seeking a thrilling and tantalising series unlike anything they’ve ever read before. The books aren’t widely enjoyed anymore, and they can seem a little dated to today’s audiences in terms of their treatment of women and people of other races, but despite this I feel that there is something to be said for this forerunner to James Bond, as I outlined in my previous post.

8. Precious Ramotswe: Alexander McCall Smith’s unique detective brings a no-nonsense approach to crime solving. Her cases are often intriguing and deeply rooted in the culture of Botswana, where her novels are set. She is a fiercely intelligent, independent woman with a passion for helping others, and that is something that everyone should look up to.

7. Mikael Blomkvist: An intrepid investigative journalist out on the hunt for the perpetrators of a truly deplorable deception, the protagonist of the unfortunate Stieg Larsson’s unforgettable Millennium Trilogy is a real all rounder. Although Larsson does his best to convey the man’s normality and seedy journalistic nature, there is something heroic about the way he interacts with Lisbeth Salander, and his devotion to her cause makes for a thrilling series.

6. C. Auguste Dupin: Edgar Allan Poe’s detective, often cited as the first of its kind and the inspiration behind such greats as Sherlock Holmes, is a really interesting man with a number of intriguing perks. The story are intelligently plotted and the characters themselves are all fascinating, including the protagonist, who is perceptive, quick thinking and diligent, making him the ideal template for a host of private investigators from across the genre.

5. Lord Peter Wimsey: Overall, I feel that this list can be split into the plain, staid stalwarts of their genre, and the bizarre characters that make reading private detective stories fun. Lord Peter most definitely falls into the latter category. This strange yet compelling member of the aristocracy, who uses his wit and charm to lull his suspects into a false sense of security whilst he uses his intellect and extensive education to deduce the who, why, what and where of the crime. Sayers compelling series is worth reading for its exceptional handling of the love between Lord Peter and the object of his affections, who later becomes his wife, writer Harriet Vane.

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4. Hercule Poirot: Agatha Christie’s famed Belgium detective and his ‘little grey cells’ remain incredibly popular to this day, as highlighted by Kenneth Branagh’s recent film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, which has reignited interest in the Queen of Crime’s eccentric sleuth. His strange mannerisms and knack for spotting clues everywhere he goes make this strange little man the perfect investigator, and his utter conspicuousness makes him a walking double bluff- nobody sees him watching them because they are too busy making fun of him and his fussy, slight compulsive behaviour. With a former solider, a grumpy policeman, a prim secretary and an overbearing novelist among his cohort of assistants fans can see the influences that Conon Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories had on Christie, and her characters, particularly her suspects, later became the template for the entire Golden Age of Crime Fiction.

3. Miss Phryne Fisher: You may have noticed, following on from all my previous mentions of her (including my top five post about the best novels to get you addicted on Kerry Greenwood’s fascinating 1920s sleuth), that I am something of a fan of this Australian flapper and her demur yet dastardly detecting ways. The character is a marvel, with her before its time feminist outlook, her compassion and her remarkable sense of style. Refined, intelligent and dignified, the Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher is a truly unique creation and one that everyone should check out.

2. Sherlock Holmes: Of course, the great man himself truly needs no introduction, and Conan Doyle’s eccentric investigator and his faithful companion Dr Watson have long since become a template for many detective duos since the characters were introduced in the 1887 novel A Study in Scarlet. Alongside a selection of novels, the characters also appeared in a range of short stories, which were incredibly popular. He remains to this day a remarkable and renowned detective who repeatedly appears in and influences popular media in a variety of forms.

1. Philip Marlowe: My top five for this American gumshoe remains the Dorset Book Detective’s most popular post, and it’s easy to see why. With his sharp wit and tough talk, this hardboiled detective paved the way for pretty much every American detective that came after him.

Tana Collins Interview: “When I decided to turn my hand to writing crime fiction myself I knew I wanted to create a series with a strong cast of characters and an interesting setting”

tana collins

As a massive Henning Mankell fan I was delighted to see his name appear as an inspiration for Tara Collins, the author of the bestselling Inspector Jim Carruthers series. She talks to me about her work and how she created such an engaging character that appeals to so many readers.

Tell me about how you came to define your writing style. What drew you towards crime fiction?

The first crime fiction book I ever read was Peter Robinson’s In a Dry Season, about thirteen years ago. The blurb on the back hooked me and when I read the novel I was spellbound. The books are set in Yorkshire and I particularly loved Peter’s wonderful sense of place. When I decided to turn my hand to writing crime fiction myself I knew I wanted to create a series with a strong cast of characters and an interesting setting. I base my own novels in the East Neuk of Fife, which is a beautiful area of Scotland.

What is your career background and how did you get into writing?

I don’t write full time. I still have the day job and I fit the writing around that unless I’m on a final edit of a book and then I’ll take time off work. I’m a Massage Therapist by trade, which I love, but my original background is in philosophy.

Please tell me about your books. Why do you believe the Inspector Jim Carruthers series is so popular?

I’m delighted to say that my debut novel, Robbing the Dead, published February 2017, became an Amazon No 1 bestseller for Scottish Crime Fiction and the follow up, Care to Die, became a Top 10 bestseller. Both books were published by Bloodhound Books in 2017. They have been described as ‘fast paced with interesting storylines’ but it’s the characters and the setting that readers really seem to like.

My two main protagonists are Detective Inspector Jim Carruthers and DS Andrea Fletcher. When we meet Carruthers he’s a DCI, but he’s struggling both on a professional and personal level with the return of his old adversary, Alistair McGhee, whom he blames for his marriage break up. I won’t say any more than that. Fletcher seems to be settling in to her role as DS just fine until she receives some shocking news…

As I said the Inspector Carruthers mysteries are set in the East Neuk of Fife, which is an area close to my heart. My fictional setting is a place called Castletown, which is closely modelled on St Andrews. I did toy with the idea of keeping the town as St Andrews but realised early on that I needed to grow the town so it ended up becoming fictionalised. Anyone familiar with St Andrews will definitely recognise it in Castletown though. There’s something really powerful in crime fiction about having a strong sense of place, isn’t there and I think Fife makes a wonderful setting for my series.

robbing the dead

What defines your writing style? Are there any particular mediums or narrative troupes you like to use in your writing and why?

That’s such an interesting question. I use fairly short sentences, which make for a faster read and shorter chapters as I near the end of the book. I use weather to enhance the mood. I’m on to Book 4 now and I’ve noticed that every book I write always starts with a suspicious death from the outset, which hooks the reader. That was originally unintentional but it seems to work so I’ve kept it and it’s become one of my writing devices.

What do you enjoy reading and how does this influence your writing?

I only read crime fiction at the moment so anything I can get my hands on really. One thing I don’t enjoy is gratuitous violence so I do tend to shy away from that. I’ve started reading the Icelandic crime writers and particularly enjoy the work of Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Ragnar Jonasson. I love the way the weather informs his writing in his Ari Thor series. I’m also looking forward to getting my hands on Snare by Lilja Sigurdardottir. I also love Peter May, Ann Cleeves and Henning Mankell.

If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, on a writing project, who would it be and why?

Ooh, that’s a good question. I’ve met Peter Robinson several times at different writing workshops. In fact I spent a week at the University of Tallinn with him while he was researching his latest novel, Watching the Dark, a few years ago. He was the tutor of the creative writing course I was on. Do you know he’s as good a tutor as he is a writer? As I love the DCI Banks series so much and he was nice enough to give me a review for my second book, Care to Die, which he said he really enjoyed, I think he’d have to be my writing partner.

Have you got any exciting new plans or projects coming up that you’d like to share with me?

Yes, I have my third book in the Inspector Carruthers series being published on 24th April 2018. It’s called Mark of the Devil. I had to do a lot of research on both international art crime and wildlife crime, which was fascinating. I’ve also started writing book 4. I had a strong idea in my head of the plot for book 4 but the storyline and characters are leading me in a completely different direction, so I’m just seeing where that takes me. I’m not a plotter at all so writing is always an adventure, albeit at times a rather nerve wracking one!

Are there any new books or writers that you are looking forward to in the New Year?

I’m looking forward to reading Ian Skewis’ next book. I loved his debut novel, A Murder of Crows. I’ve just finished Jackie McLean’s second novel, Shadow. That was really good too. There are so many books I’m looking forward to reading including novels by Amanda Fleet; Gail Williams; LJ Ross; Marsali Taylor; Jackie Baldwin and Claire McLeary. In fact I’ve just started Claire’s debut novel, Cross Purpose. The list is never ending.

Anything you’d like to add?

I would just like to take the time to thank you, Hannah, for interviewing me for your blog. It’s been really lovely having the opportunity to talk about my books and other writers I admire. Can I also just say, as writers, how grateful we are to our bloggers?

Thanks for taking the time, it has been great hearing from you. 

Raymond Carroll Interview: “I like to write short, snappy chapters that move the story along quickly”

thamel_kathmandu_nepal

Raymond Carroll, author of the four part series Only Raising Dust On The Road, talks to me about his writing style and the books that have inspired him. It’s always great to hear from a fan of James Kelman, a truly under-appreciated writer, and Raymond has some interesting things to say about him and the other writers that have helped him create the books he has.

Tell me about how you came to define your writing style?

I began writing for myself and I suppose that’s what defined my writing style. I wasn’t reaching out to a specific audience when I started writing, and I didn’t set out to write a book in any particular genre. I started writing because I wanted to create something that I had always wanted to read. I use a lot of slang and colloquialisms in my writing and my style isn’t exactly mainstream, but over the years it has evolved into something that I am proud of.

Are there any particular mediums or narrative troupes you like to use in your writing and why?

I like to write short, snappy chapters that move the story along quickly. Short chapters for me are easy to read, and as long as the book is well written and the writer creates tension on almost every page, then I’ll keep turning those pages. I think it’s easier to keep a reader engaged with short chapters, and because the chapters are short the reader is more likely to read ‘just one more’, and then another, and another.

What do you enjoy reading and how does this influence your writing?

I enjoy being entertained. I like a good wordsmith and original prose. And I like a good story. A good book for me doesn’t need to be a literary masterpiece, but it does need to draw me in, and draw me in quickly. I like reading fiction and non-fiction. A few memorable books that have influenced my writing over the years are: Triad by Colin Falconer, Midnight Express by Billy Hayes and William Hoffer, Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer, A Sense Of Freedom by Jimmy Boyle, The Beast Of Jersey by Joan Paisnel, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, The Beach by Alex Garland, Acid House by Irvine Welsh, Private Dancer by Stephen Leather, and A Dissafection by James Kelman.

If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, on a writing project, who would it be and why?

Collaborating with Irvine Welsh would be good; he’s a controversial author but a big inspiration.

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Have you got any exciting new plans or projects coming up that you’d like to share with me?

I am planning on publishing Parts 3 and 4 of my 4 part series: Only raising Dust On The Road.

Part 1: Buckfast, Lager & Fags was published at the end of 2016; Part 2: Same Same But Different was published in 2017.

The story takes place in Thailand and is written from a multiple character first person point of view. The book deals with common social problems, such as alcoholism and drug addiction, and follows the chaotic life of the protagonist – Micky, as he attempts to transcend his disposition and re-establish a connection with the world.

Only Raising Dust On The Road is a work of fiction – a black comedy, inspired by, and based loosely on, true events.

Are there any new books or writers that you are looking forward to in the New Year?

I quite like the look of Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahniuk, the author of Fight Club. I think it’s due for release around spring/summer 2018.

Anything you’d like to add?

I’d like to thank you, Hannah, for asking me to do this interview. I enjoyed answering the questions and wish you all the best for 2018.

If any of your readers would like to know more about my writing, then my books can be found here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Raymond-Carroll/e/B01N7IT88F/

My travel blog: http://thai-nomad.com

My writing website: http://raymondcarrollwriter.com

My facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/scottishauthor/

My twitter account: https://twitter.com/ramie1970

Many thanks to Raymond for taking the time to speak to me, it has been a pleasure to hear your thoughts.

The Beauty of The Locked Room Mystery

lock room mystery

Any UK readers will be aware that recently the comedy/ murder mystery series Death in Paradise returned to screens. The show is set on a fictional Caribbean island and depicts a range of disparate, bumbling British detectives, played by comic actors Ben Miller, then Kris Marshall followed by the current incumbent, Ardal O’Hanlon. Each week the detective is faced with an almost impossible murder, which he always solves within the final ten minutes of the show, having spent the entire rest of the hour long running time blundering about finding various silly clues.

However, the main issue here is that, despite the improbability of this happening every time, the island’s murders are all contrived so that they can only have been committed by a limited number of people. Often, there is no means by which the perpetrator could have left the room in the state it was without having been seen, which they invariably are not. This is a unique take on the classic locked room mystery, made famous during the Golden Age but used by many before and afterwards.

The return of this hit show reminded me of the on going debate about whether or not ITV should kill off Midsomer Murders, the show which seems to have been around forever, with a similar premise; the murderer must be one of a limited number of villagers connected to the victim in some, often obscure, way. Again, it is set in a small, supposedly isolated place, the fictional village of Midsomer, and the suspect list is always limited to allow for the writer to create a convoluted solution. Often, the plot runs along similar lines to that of the BBC’s Death in Paradise, with the perpetrator seemingly unable to leave either the crime scene or the village undetected.

The ultimate locked room mystery is of course Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, which, as I am sure you are already aware, was recently made into a big budget Hollywood film. The end of this novel paved the way for many other plots, as it had more than one of the characters band together to create a truly improbable conclusion that kept the reader guessing right to the end.

That, in my opinion, is the entire point of the locked room mystery format. Popularised by Christie and Sayers and the like, it has been used for years across all forms of media to confuse the reader and throw them off the scent. When writing mysteries the key is to make the ending something that is bordering on the impossible, so that the reader is completely unable to guess it ahead of time but it would still, in theory, be doable. Locked room mysteries provide this as the reader knows that it can only be one of a limited number of suspects, which gives the narrative tension, whilst also they are then bamboozled by the end, which usually reveals the killer to be either the person that it had been previously proven could not possibly have committed the crime, or else a team of the suspects working together to divert suspicion and confuse the detective.

It is this combination of tense narrative and the incorporable conclusions that writers can create using the form that has led the locked room mystery to remain a success for so long, and it will undoubtedly continue on in TV shows, films and books for many years to come.