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The Big Bow Mystery

The Big Bow Mystery by Israel Zangwill
By: (1864-1926)

It’s a cold and foggy night in London. A man is horribly murdered in his bedroom, the door locked and bolted on the inside. Scotland Yard is stumped. Yet the seemingly unsolvable case has, as Inspector Grodman says, “one sublimely simple solution” that is revealed in a final chapter full of revelations and a shocking denouement. Detective fiction afficionados will be happy to learn that all the evidence to solve the case is provided. One of the earliest “locked room” mystery stories, The Big Bow Mystery is also a satire of late Victorian society. (Summary by Adrian Praetzellis)

First Page:

THE GREY WIG

Stories and Novelettes

by

I. Zangwill

Author of "The Mantle of Elijah" "Children of the Ghetto" etc., etc.

1923

TO MY MOTHER AND SISTERS THIS BOOK Mainly a Study of Woman IS LOVINGLY DEDICATED

PREFATORY NOTE

This Volume embraces my newest and oldest work, and includes for the sake of uniformity of edition a couple of shilling novelettes that are out of print.

I.Z.

Mentone, February, 1903.

CONTENTS

THE GREY WIG CHASSÉ CROISÉ THE WOMAN BEATER THE ETERNAL FEMININE THE SILENT SISTERS THE BIG BOW MYSTERY MERELY MARY ANN THE SERIO COMIC GOVERNESS

THE GREY WIG

I

They both styled themselves "Madame," but only the younger of the old ladies had been married. Madame Valière was still a demoiselle , but as she drew towards sixty it had seemed more convenable to possess a mature label. Certainly Madame Dépine had no visible matrimonial advantages over her fellow lodger at the Hôtel des Tourterelles, though in the symmetrical cemetery of Montparnasse (Section 22) wreaths of glass beads testified to a copious domesticity in the far past, and a newspaper picture of a chasseur d'Afrique pinned over her bed recalled though only the uniform was the dead soldier's the son she had contributed to France's colonial empire... Continue reading book >>


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Reviews (Rated: 5 Stars - 5 reviews)

Reviewer: - April 17, 2013
Subject: I'd like to say I loved it...
Let me start by saying that the reading is excellent and really helped build atmosphere. Unfortunately, I found the style of writing a bit wandering and the ultimate solution a bit uninspiring. I'd like to say I loved it, but I didn't.
Reviewer: - September 2, 2008
Subject: Very Good
I liked this book very much. Very interesting and amusing. The reader did a very nice job!
Reviewer: - August 19, 2008
Subject: Great book, great reading.
I had never heard of Israel Zangwill, but enjoyed this book thoroughly. Adrian Praetzellis' reading is of a very high standard and really helps to add colour to both setting and character. The book is very well written, managing to not only provide a genuinely intriguing mystery, but also to broadly examine the society of the time; often with a gentle, satirical humour. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: - May 15, 2008
Subject: A really good book
This reading is excellent. The reader breathes life into the various characters by his skill with accents. The book is both fascinating and funny. Recommended
Reviewer: - April 7, 2008
Subject: A splendid reading
This is arguably the first 'locked−room' mystery novel (1892 UK; 1895 US), that is, a detective story in which the puzzle aspect is the critical element of the plot rather than being an ancillary item, as it was in Le Fanu's Uncle Silas, for example. It is also a pre−Golden−Age−of−Detection prototype in that it follows the rules of 'fair play' by providing the evidence for the solution in the form of clues imbedded in the text, supplies alternative solutions and suspects −− the classic 'red herring' approach −− and has a 'least−likely' suspect as the villain. All that it is lacking is what we would call a proper detective who out−thinks the reader. Many thanks to Adrian Praetzellis whose performance is commendable. A highly recommended reading.


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