The Mystery of the Yellow Room
|The Mystery of the Yellow Room|
Cover of the 1908 first edition
|Original title||Le mystère de la chambre jaune|
|Publisher||L'Illustration (in serial)
Editions Pierre Lafitte (book)
|Publication date||1907 in serial
January 1908 in book form
|Media type||Print (Hardcover and Paperback), Audiobook|
|Pages||236 (1998 paperback)|
|ISBN||ISBN 1-873982-38-0 (1998 paperback)|
|Followed by||The Perfume of the Lady in Black|
The Mystery of the Yellow Room (in French Le mystère de la chambre jaune) by Gaston Leroux, is one of the first locked room mystery crime fiction novels. It was first published in France in the periodical L'Illustration from September 1907 to November 1907, then in its own right in 1908.
It is the first novel starring fictional detective Joseph Rouletabille, and concerns a complex and seemingly impossible crime in which the criminal appears to disappear from a locked room. Leroux provides the reader with detailed, precise diagrams and floorplans illustrating the scene of the crime. The emphasis of the story is firmly on the intellectual challenge to the reader, who will almost certainly be hard pressed to unravel every detail of the situation.
Agatha Christie admired the novel and in her early years said she would like to try writing such a book. John Dickson Carr, the master of locked-room mystery, has his detective Dr Gideon Fell declare this as the 'best detective tale ever written' in his 1935 novel The Hollow Man. In a poll of 17 mystery writers and reviewers, this novel was voted as the third best locked room mystery of all time, behind The Hollow Man and Hake Talbot's Rim of the Pit.
The novel finds its continuation in The Perfume of the Lady in Black where a number of the characters familiar from this story reappear.
The crime takes place at the Chateau du Glandier, located in the forest, near the road leading to Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois and Montlhéry. The daughter of a famous scientist is found the victim of attempted murder. The strange thing is the room is locked from the inside and there are no other ways in. A police detective is involved but the young journalist Joseph Rouletabille is more concerned with unraveling the mystery by use of reasoning and logic.
Miss Stangerson is found severely injured, attacked in a locked room at the Chateau. Joseph Rouletabille starts to discern that the crime is to be solved, if at all, by establishing motive and the reason for the locked room. At the end of the novel, clues stack up and the reader discovers that the criminal was actually the police detective, Frederic Larsan, who is really a notorious criminal, Ballmeyer. His victim (who does not actually die, despite the fact that the old American translation constantly describes the crime as murder) is found to have locked the room herself after the attack- but she is found to have excellent reasons for concealing the attacker and her true relationship to him, as he is her first husband, long thought to be dead.
Characters in "The Mystery of the Yellow Room"
- Joseph Rouletabille – the young journalist and amateur detective, protagonist
- Jean Sainclair – Rouletabille's friend and lawyer, the narrator
- Frederic Larsan – the police detective
- Professor Stangerson – the scientist, owner of "Chateau du Glandier"
- Mlle. Mathilde Stangerson – daughter of a famous scientist, the victim
- "Daddy" Jacques – an old servant in the Stangerson family
Film, TV or theatrical adaptations
- The Mystery of the Yellow Room (1919) at the Internet Movie Database
- Mystère de la chambre jaune, Le (1930) at the Internet Movie Database
- El misterio del cuarto amarillo (1947) at the Internet Movie Database
- The Mystery of the Yellow Room (1949)
- Mystère de la chambre jaune, Le (1965) at the Internet Movie Database
- Mystère de la chambre jaune, Le (2003) at the Internet Movie Database
- 1907, France, L'illustration, Pub date ? September 1907—? November 1907, magazine serial (French)
- 1908, France, Editions Jacques Lafitte (ISBN NA), Pub date ? ? 1908, hardback (First edition) (French)
- 1934, UK, Oxford University Press (ISBN 0-19-832345-X), Pub date ? December 1934, paperback (French)
- 1977, UK, Dover Publications (ISBN 0-486-23460-6), Pub date ? April 1977, paperback
- 1978, UK, Remploy (ISBN 0-7066-0759-7), Pub date 25 August 1978, hardback
- 1996, USA, Books on Tape (ISBN 5-557-12771-2), Pub date ? January 1996, audio book (Cassette)
- 1996, USA, Buccaneer Books (ISBN 0-89966-141-6), Pub date ? June 1996, hardback (Library binding)
- 1997, UK, Dedalus Ltd (ISBN 1-873982-38-0), Pub date 10 August 1997, paperback
- 2002, USA, Indypublish.com (ISBN 1-4043-2003-2), Pub date 1 August 2002, paperback
- 2002, USA, Indypublish.com (ISBN 1-4043-2002-4), Pub date 1 August 2002, hardback
- 2004, UK, Thorndike Press (ISBN 0-7862-6991-X), Pub date 2 Nov 2004, hardback
- 2005, USA, Kessinger Publishing (ISBN 0-7661-9366-7), Pub date 1 April 2005, paperback
- 2006, UK, Blackstone Audiobooks (ISBN 0-7861-7523-0), Pub date ? April 2006, audio book (MP3 CD)
- 2006, UK, Dover Publications (ISBN 0-486-44928-9), Pub date 7 April 2006, paperback
- 2009, USA, Black Coat Press (ISBN 1-934543-60-8), Pub date October 2009, trade paperback
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