Writing a locked room mystery
I love a locked room mystery, so when the call came for contributions to an anthology of stories featuring impossible crimes, I jumped at the chance to write one of my own.
My story, ‘The House by the Thames,’ is by way of being a tribute to the master of locked room mysteries, John Dickson Carr, aka, Carter Dixon, and was in fact inspired by JDC. A year or two ago, I read a short story of his. Yes, there was a body in a locked room, but the puzzle was less who had done it, than how they had done it. Though the room and the people in it were searched from top to bottom, no weapon was found and there appeared to be nowhere that it could have been concealed. As I neared the reveal, I thought I knew where the story was going and that for once I was ahead of Dickson Carr. But no! Fooled again! Looking back through the story, the clues had been there and it was all perfectly fair. But I still had got it completely wrong.
However mulling it over, it occured to me, that though my solution wasn’t the right one, it was still pretty good. I now had my own idea, quite different to JDC’s, about how a weapon might be made to varnish from a locked room. And that was how ‘The House by the Thames’ came to be written. The title is itself a hat-tip to the master: one of his most famous and macabre stories (though not the one that inspired mine) is ‘The House in Goblin Wood.’
‘The House by the Thames’ is published in The Book of Extraordinary Impossible Crimes and Puzzling Deaths, edited by Maxim Jakubowski, which is out now. These are all new stories by some of the most best known American and British crime and thriller authors of today, including British Science Fiction Award winner Eric Brown, Derringer Award winner O’Neil de Noux, and multiple CWA Dagger Award winners and nominees.