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The Big Bow Mystery

Israel Zangwill

Book Overview: 

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.

Recommended for fans of John Grisham, James Patterson, Janet Evanovich, Scott Turow and David Baldacci.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .The poor girl had been telegraphed for, and had started for England. The witness stated that the outburst of despondency in this letter was almost a solitary one, most of the letters in his possession being bright, buoyant and hopeful. Even this letter ended with a humorous statement of the writer's manifold plans and projects for the new year. The deceased was a good Churchman.

Coroner: Was there any private trouble in his own life to account for the temporary despondency?

Witness: Not so far as I am aware. His financial position was exceptionally favorable.

Coroner: There had been no quarrel with Miss Brent?

Witness: I have the best authority for saying that no shadow of difference had ever come between them.

Coroner: Was the deceased left-handed?

Witness: Certainly not. He was not even ambidextrous.

A Juryman: Isn't Shoppinhour one of the infidel writers, published by the Freethought Publication Society?<. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Written originally in 1892, The Big Bow Mystery is supposedly the earliest example of a full-length locked-room mystery. The action begins as one Mrs Drabdump, who rents rooms to lodgers in London, goes to wake up one Mr. Constant. She can't wake him up and gets herself completely agitated to the...more

Nach Edgar Allan Poes Geschichte "Mord in der Rue Morgue" wohl eine der ersten Kriminalgeschichten, die einen Mord in einem von innen verschlossenen Raum zum Gegenstand haben. Dabei bleibt Zangwill stilistisch weit hinter Poe zurück, auch wenn es interessant ist, wie er die politischen Umstände i...more

Short novel, has the wow effect at the end.

I saw this book and, being the so-called first locked room mystery, I just had to purchase it, especially as I have a signed postcard of Israel Zangwill on my wall, not that that matters much I suppose but I thought it would be good to read something by him. I am pleased that I did so but it was...more

Probably more like 1.5 stars.
This little book was only 160 pages long. Yet it took me an age to read, it seems.
This book was written in the 1890s and serialised in a newspaper. If that sounds very like Charles Dickens, this book reads very like a Dickens' novel. But it lacks the warmth of Dickens...more

This was my first brush with "gaslight" crime mystery or so the introduction describes itself - which is rather interesting since it lists a large number of titles from my "tales of mystery and the supernatural" collection but I won't quibble.

I will say that the story is engaging and easier to re...more

Very interesting and amusing early mystery. The stars are for the writing, not the plot. The plot purports to be the point (as the ‘first’ locked room mystery) but it is actually beside the point for today’s reader. Instead, I enjoyed Zangwill's witty approach to satirizing the London of his day....more

Como cualquier buena novela que trate el problema del cuarto cerrado (véase ’Los crímenes de la calle Morgue’, de Edgar Allan Poe, o ’El misterio del cuarto amarillo’, de Gaston Leroux), ‘El gran misterio de Bow’ (The Big Bow Mystery, 1892), del londinense Israel Zangwill, comienza con un asesina...more

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