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Old 08-24-2009, 08:12 PM   #1
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Default Official Mystery/Detective Novel Topic

So...yeah....I wanted to ask you fellow adventure gamers some questions related to this topic, and thought I'll make the topic more general.

Questions I wanted to ask:
Do you "fans of adventure games" read mystery/detective/locked room mystery novels?
I am more aiming at the novels from the Golden Age, so from writers such as Agatha Christie, John Dickson Carr, Ellery Queen or even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle(which was a bit before the Golden Age though..I think)
I started wondering after seeing all those Agatha Christie games released based on novels of the same name and the Phoenix Wright games that tells the same format of stories.

So would you also have interest in reading the books? Because if you're not, you're really missing out. These books really play out like awesome adventure games(or puzzles of it ). The author of these novels either indirectly or directly challenges the reader to solve the mystery before the final revelation. And let me tell you, that these books, locked room mysteries in particular, have one of the coolest and most geniuses solutions to the seemingly impossible problem that is layed out in the beginning.
You know that feeling when someone tells you a riddle that at first hand seems impossible, but you're baffled when the solution is so plain and simple?
That's the experience you get from reading these books =).
The authors always try to play "fair" by providing you with the same information as the detective, so for the better sleuths it's sometimes possible to solve it . Sometimes you are even provided with illustrations like a layout of where the murder was committed.

Most of you are most familiar with the detective Sherlock Holmes. I'd like to point out that these are VERY fun stories(read them all, and you just gotta love the character) but these are not mystery novels per se. Well they might be...but they never played "fair", since Sherlock always knew more than the reader. I still recommend reading these as they are just plain fun and iconical in detective books history.

At the moment here are some recommendations, I am planning to keep this topic updated. I myself am fairly new to the genre too, but I will do my best to point out the gems in the genre(because there are tons of books, expect there to be some bad ones too),

-The Judas Window by John Dickson Carr/Carter Dickson
One of the first books I read and got me familiar with the genre.
I can only say that this book is awesome! Especially for Phoenix Wright fans this is a must-read! Since almost everything takes place and unfolds in a courtroom.

-The Three Coffins/The Hollow Man by John Dickson Carr
Some consider this to have the most genious no.1 modus operandi
One of the reasons of JDC being hailed as the king of impossible crimes.
A really, really, MUST-READ!

-The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada
I decided to name this one, not only because it's awesome, but because the setting is very cool, namely Japan in th 80's. A detective and his comrade try to solve a 40 year old gruesome serial killing case that has been released in public for detectives to solve. I found the mystery a bit difficult to solve, although afterwards it was pretty simple and, again, genious. The book contains a lot of illustrations that might help you to see through the trick.

This was it for now. I hope that I can have sparked some interest.

BTW: Is this the appropriate sub-forum for this topic, or is it more at place in another one?

Credit goes out to AshKetchum and Tomcat. Two people on a certain dutch forum who largely contributed to my interest in the genre.

Last edited by Origami; 08-24-2009 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 08-25-2009, 12:39 PM   #2
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I don't usually like the crime adventure games, but a good crime that has a twist that hasn't been done a million times (like some crime books) can keep me interested. I really love Sherlock Holmes, though, since I usually can't see it coming, the Victorian age that it takes place in is so romantic, and just gush!
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Old 08-25-2009, 05:54 PM   #3
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Yes, to me that's one of SH's charms too, that it's set in the victorian londen era. That's why I can't wait to play SH vs. Jack the Ripper.

But all golden age detective novels (which are written in the early 1900's)
take place late 80's to 1930.
Anyway....if you like the twists in SH stories, the recommended books' twists are much better.

The thing with Sherlock Holmes is that it's more story-driven with the focus...yeah on a good story instead of a well-constructed impossible crime.
Mystery novels started being considered as a sport some time after Sherlock Holmes and the authors were like competing and trying to outbest eachother coming up with the best impossible crime. Like I said, they became practically games.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did pull some attempts to create an impossible crime, the adventure of the speckled band for exampe(which contains quite some errors on a further inspection.)
Again, I love SH for providing great stories with one of the coolest comical characters, but a locked-room mystery getting solved "fairly" is quite another experience ^_^.

So yeah...if you like good constructed mysteries with baffling but logical twists check out this forgotten and underappreciated genre.

Here is an interesting read about how "the game" works and its rules.
But SPOILER ALERT, it might partially reveal what kind of method was used in some books.

This is a ranklisting of some of the best titles of the genre, although they haven't covered all great ones.

Although the popularity and success of the genre has long been diminished, there is another more recent source that has succeeded of providing great titles; namely Japan.
In Japan locked room mysteries and impossible crimes are still very hot.
And even more recently they produced excellent mysteries.
Anyone interested should check out the works of Edogawa Rampo, the Detective Conan mangas, Kindaichi Casefiles mangas(with The House of Wax in particular!), and also the book I mentioned earlier "Tokyo Zodiac Murders".

English is not my primary language so excuse me of any errors I made.

On a side note: I mainly have focused on locked-room mysteries, but also detective novels outside this sub-genre that are played "fair" I want to adress.
Agatha Christie has written some great detective novels that fall outside this sub-genre but still play the game:
Murder on the Orient Express, Murder on the Nile etc...

So I am actually adressing all detective novels; locked-room, impossible crime, whodunnit, howdunnit, as long as they provide and encourage the reader to solve it.

Last edited by Origami; 08-25-2009 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:34 PM   #4
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I more of a James Patterson fan.. the author of Alex Cross series..
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