The Mystery

The Mystery of the Yellow Room: A Classic Locked-Room Mystery by Gaston Leroux

The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux

The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux is a mystery novel that has puzzled and entertained readers for over a century. It is one of the first and best examples of a locked-room mystery, a subgenre of detective fiction where a crime is committed in a seemingly impossible way. How did the attacker enter and leave a room that was locked from the inside? How did he escape without leaving any traces? Who is he and what is his motive? These are the questions that the novel poses and tries to answer.

The novel was first published in 1907 in France, in a magazine called L’Illustration. It was later published as a book in 1908. It is the first novel featuring Joseph Rouletabille, a young and brilliant journalist who also solves crimes as an amateur detective. Rouletabille is assisted by his friend and narrator, Sainclair, a lawyer. Together, they investigate a mysterious case at the Château du Glandier, where a young woman named Mathilde Stangerson was attacked in her bedroom, which was locked from the inside. The only clue they have is a bloody handprint on the wall.

The novel is full of twists and turns, clues and red herrings, suspects and alibis. It also introduces some memorable characters, such as Frédéric Larsan, a famous police detective who rivals Rouletabille; Robert Darzac, Mathilde’s fiancé who has a dark secret; and Gaston Leroux himself, who makes a cameo appearance as a reporter. The novel also explores some themes, such as science and superstition, love and jealousy, truth and deception.

The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux is a classic of mystery fiction that has influenced many other writers and works. It is also a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of France in the early 20th century. If you love mystery novels and puzzles, you should definitely read The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux. You will not regret it!

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Gaston Leroux

Introduction: Who is Gaston Leroux?

Gaston Leroux was a French writer who was born in 1868 and died in 1927. He is best known for writing The Phantom of the Opera, a Gothic novel that has been adapted into many films, musicals, and other media. However, he also wrote many other novels, stories, plays, and articles in various genres, such as mystery, horror, adventure, romance, and comedy.

Leroux started his career as a lawyer, but soon switched to journalism. He worked for several newspapers and magazines, covering topics such as politics, crime, war, sports, and entertainment. He was also an avid traveler who visited many countries around the world. He used his experiences and knowledge as a journalist to write his fiction.

Leroux was inspired by many writers, such as Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, and Emile Zola. He also created some original and influential characters, such as Joseph Rouletabille, the Phantom of the Opera, Cheri-Bibi, Balaoo, and Rouletabille’s rival detective Frédéric Larsan (who was later revealed to be Arsène Lupin in Maurice Leblanc’s novels).

Leroux was a prolific and popular writer who wrote over 60 books and hundreds of articles. He was also a successful and respected writer who received several awards and honors for his work. He died of urinary tract infection at the age of 58. He left behind a legacy of literature that has entertained and inspired generations of readers and writers.

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What is a Locked-Room Mystery?

A locked-room mystery is a subgenre of detective fiction where a crime is committed in a seemingly impossible way. Usually, the crime involves a murder or an assault that takes place in a room that is locked from the inside or otherwise inaccessible. The challenge for the detective (and the reader) is to figure out how the crime was committed and who did it.

The locked-room mystery is one of the most popular and intriguing types of mystery fiction. It appeals to the human curiosity and imagination. It also tests the logical and analytical skills of the reader. It requires the writer to create a clever and plausible solution that explains all the clues and discrepancies in the case.

The locked-room mystery has been around for centuries. Some of the earliest examples can be found in ancient literature, such as The Arabian Nights or The Three Apples. However, it became more popular and developed in the 19th and 20th centuries, thanks to writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Gaston Leroux, John Dickson Carr, Agatha Christie, and many others.

Some of the most famous and influential locked-room mysteries are:

  • The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe (1841): The first modern detective story, where C. Auguste Dupin investigates the murders of two women in a locked room in Paris.
  • The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle (1890): The second Sherlock Holmes novel, where Holmes and Watson solve the mystery of a treasure and a murder that involves a locked room on a boat.
  • The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux (1907): The first Joseph Rouletabille novel, where Rouletabille and Sainclair investigate the attack on Mathilde Stangerson in her locked bedroom at the Château du Glandier.
  • The Hollow Man by John Dickson Carr (1935): The sixth Dr. Gideon Fell novel, where Fell solves the murder of a professor who was shot in a locked room with no weapon or bullet found.
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (1939): The best-selling mystery novel of all time, where ten people are invited to an isolated island and are killed one by one according to a nursery rhyme.

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How to Solve a Locked-Room Mystery?

Solving a locked-room mystery is not easy, but it is not impossible either. It requires careful observation, logical thinking, and creative imagination. Here are some tips and steps to help you solve a locked-room mystery:

  • Read the story carefully and pay attention to the details. Look for clues and hints that the writer may have left for you. Don’t overlook anything that may seem insignificant or irrelevant.
  • Make a list of the facts and evidence that you have. Write down what you know and what you don’t know. Try to organize them into categories, such as suspects, motives, alibis, weapons, etc.
  • Make a list of the possible solutions that you can think of. Try to come up with as many as you can, no matter how absurd or unlikely they may seem. Eliminate the ones that contradict or don’t fit with the facts and evidence that you have.
  • Compare your solutions with the ones that the characters in the story propose or consider. See if you agree or disagree with them. See if you can find any flaws or gaps in their reasoning or logic.
  • Choose the solution that you think is the most plausible and satisfying. Explain how it accounts for all the clues and discrepancies in the case. See if it matches with the solution that the writer reveals at the end of the story.

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux:

  • Q: Is The Mystery of the Yellow Room based on a true story?
  • A: No, The Mystery of the Yellow Room is a fictional story created by Gaston Leroux. However, some aspects of the story may have been inspired by real events and people, such as Gaston Leroux’s own experience as a journalist and his cameo appearance in the novel; Mathilde Stangerson’s resemblance to Marie Curie, a famous scientist who worked with her husband Pierre Curie on radioactivity; and Joseph Rouletabille’s name being derived from a French expression meaning “red wheelbarrow”, which was also used as a code name by French spies during World War I.
  • Q: Is The Mystery of the Yellow Room available as an audiobook or an e-book?
  • A: Yes, The Mystery of the Yellow Room is available as an audiobook and an e-book from various sources. You can find them online or at your local library.
  • Q: Is The Mystery of the Yellow Room part of a series?
  • A: Yes, The Mystery of the Yellow Room is part of a series of novels featuring Joseph Rouletabille, a fictional character created by Gaston Leroux. The series consists of eight novels that were published between 1907 and 1922. They are:
    • The Mystery of the Yellow Room (1907)
    • The Perfume of the Lady in Black (1908)
    • Rouletabille at Krupp’s (1910)
    • Rouletabille in Russia (1913)
    • Rouletabille in Serbia (1918)
    • Rouletabille at Home (1919)
    • Rouletabille Goes East (1920)
    • Rouletabille Goes West (1922)

Conclusion

The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux is a classic locked-room mystery that has puzzled and entertained readers for over a century. It is one of the first and best examples of a subgenre of detective fiction where a crime is committed in a seemingly impossible way.

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