By Michael Cook
The locked room secret is among the iconic creations of well known fiction. Michael Cook's severe examine unearths how this archetypal kind of the puzzle tale has had an important impression in shaping the immensely renowned style of detective fiction.The bookincludes research of texts from Poe to the current day.
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Extra resources for Narratives of Enclosure in Detective Fiction: The Locked Room Mystery (Crime Files)
Here we return to the two worlds of the locked room, the areas of order and chaos. In the model of the psychical locked room these boundaries are characterized by a dynamic interaction: ‘Trauma vexes the boundaries between outside and inside; recent theorists have remarked that trauma is a situation in which the outside goes inside without mediation. ’47 In the signalman’s case trauma has induced a feeling of morbid guilt regarding the fate of those who have died in the accident, quite literally haunted by the idea that he could have prevented the catastrophe.
Like the generic detective he is ‘destined’ to secure ‘justice’ by revealing the facts of the case to the world. If we understand Langford’s character as a supplantation of the detective figure, the mystery of the text seems clearer; the locked room of the compartment in its metaphorical form then becomes a catalyst for the furtherance of the narrative. David Lehman, when considering the legacy of Poe’s locked room of the ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’, has outlined these possibilities: The detective unlocks the meaning of events; he discerns in them the logic of a homicidal intervention, shows where the plan went astray (if it did), explains what happened and how and why.
There are, in fact, parallels in Edwards’s story with the murder of Thomas Briggs, whose hat, like Dwerrihouse’s cigar case, was left in the compartment and whose body was also found displaced from the compartment. We might suppose, therefore, that if the railway journey is emblematic of the ‘journey of life’, within such a metaphor the compartment, with all its emphasis on enclosure, lies at its very heart.
Narratives of Enclosure in Detective Fiction: The Locked Room Mystery (Crime Files) by Michael Cook