Darkness at Pemberley – T.H. White(1932)

Man, I did not know what I was getting into with this book.  Darkness at Pemberley made the footnotes section of Roland Lacourbe’s 2007 list of top locked room mysteries, having received at least four votes, but being disqualified for not having been translated into French. And so it’s natural that I went into it looking for a locked room mystery, right?  I ended up with something completely different.

The story starts off with what appears to be the setup for an impossible crime: a professor seemingly having committed suicide in his locked apartment after shooting a student in a nearby dormitory.  There’s enough incongruities at the crime scene that police suspect foul play, yet it doesn’t seem possible that anyone else was involved. We soon learn though that the locks on the doors of the building are of the ancient variety, and a key for one door could well open the lock for another.  That evaporates the whole locked room mystery angle, which is a bit of a pity because we get two maps of the crime scene.  More so, the solution to the murders involves some complex shenanigans worthy of an impossible crime, although more appropriate for the short story variety.

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