One of the sub-genres of the classic mystery genre is the “locked-room” mystery. In its most basic form, a person is found dead from violence in a room that is closed from within, and admits no egress. Though the person has clearly been murdered (there is no murder weapon in evidence), it seems impossible that anyone could have gotten to the victim to kill him (most times, the victim is male). The appeal of such mysteries is as much, if not more, on the ingenious solution to how the murder was committed as on the identity of the killer. We might call these “howdunits.”
The admitted master of this subgenre was John Dickson Carr, who wrote several mystery novels that might be classified as “locked-room” mysteries.
In 1935's The Hollow Man — also known by its American title, The Three Coffins — we have the epitome of the locked-room mystery. Not only is the book the exemplar of the type, but a whole chapter in the book (“Chapter 17: The Locked Room Lecture”) is devoted to a lecture by Carr’s main detective, Dr. Gideon Fell, on the topic of “locked room” murders. The novel is the sixth Gideon Fell novel out of a total of twenty-three.
How compelling can a whole book about one song be? As it turns out: Quite a lot, and very compelling. The secret to this book is that it isn't just about a song. It's a meditation on pop culture over the past few decades.
Just as Hilary Waugh and Ed McBain aimed at writing police procedurals that reflected police work in the United States as it really was (as opposed to the police/classic amalgam that had been in effect prior to their work), John Creasey in England was trying to do the same thing.
His first foray into police procedurals involved Inspector Roger West of Scotland Yard (beginning with Inspector West Takes Charge ), a series that ran through the 1970s in over two dozen titles. Creasey wrote several other series, involving detectives both professional and amateur.