Review: The Mystery of the Yellow Room (1907) by Gaston Leroux

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

e-artnow, 2016. The Adventures of  Joseph Rouletabille: The Mystery of the Yellow Room & The Secret of the Night (Thriller Classics) Format: Kindle edition. File size: 2255 KB. Print Length: 534 pages. ASIN: B01IVOKMPE. ISBN: 978 80 268 6556 8.

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Product description: This carefully crafted ebook: The Adventures of Joseph Rouletabille: The Mystery of the Yellow Room & The Secret of the Night (Thriller Classics) is formatted for your eReader with a functional and detailed table of contents: The Mystery of the Yellow Room is one of the first locked-room mystery crime fiction novels. It is the first novel starring fictional detective Joseph Rouletabille, and concerns a complex and seemingly impossible crime in which the criminal appears to disappear from a locked room. Leroux provides the reader with detailed, precise diagrams and floor plans illustrating the scene of the crime. The emphasis of the story is firmly on the intellectual challenge to the reader, who will almost certainly be hard pressed to unravel every detail of the situation. Also included in this edition is the thriller novel The Secret of the Night. (Source: Amazon).

The Mystery of the Yellow Room (in French Le mystère de la chambre jaune) by Gaston Leroux, is one of the first locked-room mystery crime fiction novels. It was first published in France in the literary supplement of L’illustration from September 1907 to November 1907, then as a one volume book in 1908., then in its own right in 1908. It is the first novel featuring fictional reporter Joseph Rouletabille and concerns a complex, and seemingly impossible, crime in which the criminal appears to disappear from a locked room. Leroux provides the reader with detailed, precise diagrams and floor plans illustrating the crime scene. The emphasis of the story is firmly on the intellectual challenge to the reader, who will almost certainly be hard pressed to unravel every detail of the situation.The novel finds its continuation in The Perfume of the Lady in Black, wherein a number of the characters familiar from this story reappear. (Source: Wikipedia)

My take: I don’t intend this to be a long review. Suffice to say I’m disappointed with several aspects of this novel. I wasn’t expecting it to take the form of a melodramatic romantic novel and I found it quite boring, to tell the truth. In fact, it took me quite some time to finish it. Although I found the explanation of the mystery quite ingenious, I cannot recommend its reading. Other reviewers don’t share my view, so up to you if you’re willing to read it.

My rating: C ( I liked it with a few reservations).

About the author: Gaston Louis Alfred Leroux (1868 – 1927) was a French journalist and author of detective fiction. In the English-speaking world, he is best known for writing the novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra, 1910 (The Phantom of the Opera) which has been made into several film and stage productions of the same name. His novel The Mystery of the Yellow Room is also one of the most famous locked-room mysteries ever. Leroux’s contribution to French detective fiction is considered a parallel to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s in the United Kingdom and Edgar Allan Poe’s in the United States (Source: Wikipedia).  

The Mystery of the Yellow Room has been reviewed at My Reader’s Block, In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, Past Offences, and Pramod Nair’s Reviews at Good Reads, among others.

Locked-room mystery page at Wikipedia

The French Wold Newton Universe – Rouletabille

Mystery of the Yellow Room at Project Gutenberg

Audible

El misterio del cuarto amarillo de Gastón Leroux

Descripción del producto: Este eBook cuidadosamente elaborado: Las aventuras de Joseph Rouletabille: El misterio del cuarto amarillo y El secreto de la noche (Thriller Classics) está formateado para su eReader con una tabla de contenidos funcional y detallada: El misterio del cuarto amarillo es una de las primeras novelas de misterio de cuarto cerrado. Es la primera novela protagonizada por el detective de ficción Joseph Rouletabille, y se refiere a un crimen complejo y aparentemente imposible en el que el criminal parece desaparecer de un cuarto cerrado con llave. Leroux proporciona al lector detallados y precisos diagramas y planos para ilustrar la escena del crimen. El énfasis de la historia se encuentra con firmeza en el desafío intelectual para el lector, que casi con toda seguridad pasará apuros para descifrar cada detalle de la situación. También se incluye en esta edición la novela de suspense Rouletabille con el zar (Rouletabille chez le tsar, 1912). (Fuente: Amazon).

El misterio del cuarto amarillo (Le Mystère de la Chambre Jaune, título original en francés), ópera prima del periodista Gastón Leroux, es uno de los primeros relatos del tipo “misterio del cuarto cerrado”, en la que el crimen tiene lugar en una habitación a la que es imposible entrar y de la que es imposible salir (otros ejemplos de este subgénero son Los crímenes de la calle Morgue, de Edgar Allan Poe o El hombre hueco de John Dickson Carr). Fue publicada por entregas en el suplemento literario del semanario L’Ilustration de septiembre a noviembre de 1907, y como libro un año después, por Pierre Laffite. Simultáneamente, en 1908, apareció la edición en castellano publicada por la Biblioteca de La Nación. En esta novela hace su aparición el joven reportero Joseph Rouletabille, quien actúa como un detective aficionado. (Fuente Wikipedia)

Mi opinión: No pretendo que esto sea una reseña extensa. Baste con decir que me han decepcionado varios de los aspectos de esta novela. No esperaba que tuviera la forma de una novela melodramática romántica y me pareció bastante aburrida, a decir verdad. De hecho, tardé bastante tiempo en terminarla. Aunque encontré la explicación del misterio bastante ingeniosa, no puedo recomendar su lectura. Otros críticos no comparten mi punto de vista, por lo que depende de usted si está dispuesto a leerla.

Mi valoración: C  (Me ha gustado con algunas reservas)

Sobre el autor: Gaston Louis Alfred Leroux (1868 – 1927) fue un periodista y escritor francés, famoso por sus novelas de terror y policiacas tales como El fantasma de la ópera (Le Fantôme de l’opéra, 1910), El misterio del cuarto amarillo (Mystère de la chambre jaune, 1907) y su continuación El perfume de la dama de negro (Le parfum de la Dame en noir, 1908). (Fuente: Wikipedia).

Dennis Lehane wins the Pepe Carvalho Award

Dennis_Lehane_BBF_2010_Shankbone_cropNorth American writer Dennis Lehane has won the 2017 Pepe Carvalho Award. The prize is given by the Barcelona City Council and aims to give particular recognition to prestigious national and international crime fiction writers. .

The jury formed by Antoni Iturbe, Andreu Martin, Rosa Mora, Daniel Vázquez Sallés, Sergio Vila-Sanjuán and Paco Camarasa, has considered that Lehane, both through his characters Patrick McKenzie and Angie Gennaro as in his other novels and stories, analyses and delves in the behaviour of the complex todays American society. 

The action of Dennis Lehane’s novels unfolds in cities such as Boston and in neighbourhoods such as Dorchester, but in their streets ‘are also our streets, our neighbourhoods and cities’, highlights the jury, which states that, as with the work of Manuel Vazquez Montalban, with this writer ‘we know better our communities thanks to his narrative ability and the mastery of the word’.

Dennis Lehane grew up in the Dorchester section of Boston. Since his first novel, A Drink Before the War, won the Shamus Award, he’s published nine more novels with William Morrow that have been translated into more than 30 languages and become international bestsellers: Darkness, Take My Hand; Sacred; Gone Baby Gone; Prayers for Rain; Mystic River; Shutter Island; The Given Day; Moonlight Mile; and Live By Night, which won the Edgar Award for Best Novel in 2013. Morrow also published Coronado, a collection of five stories and a play. Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, and Shutter Island have been made into award-winning films, and the film rights for Live by Night are under option to Warner Bros. with Ben Affleck producing, writing, directing, and starring. Lehane adapted his short story Animal Rescue, which appeared in “Playboy” as well as in Boston Noir, a collection published by Akashic Books, into a feature film called The Drop for the Chernin Company and Fox Searchlight, starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and James Gandolfini. He then transformed the screenplay for The Drop into a novel, which was published by William Morrow in August 2014 to coincide with the film’s US release. Lehane was a staff writer for HBO’s The Wire, and is a writer/producer on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. He has taught fiction and literature at the Harvard Extension School, the Stonecoast MFA Program, and Tufts University. Before becoming a full-time writer, Mr Lehane worked as a counselor with mentally handicapped and abused children, waited tables, parked cars, drove limos, worked in bookstores, and loaded tractor-trailers. He and his wife and children divide their time between Boston and Los Angeles. (Source: http://dennislehane.com/)

The prize shall be awarded within the framework of the next literary festival BCNegra, which will take place in Barcelona between 27 January and 4 February 2017.

Source: Europa Press

The Pepe Carvalho Award is a tribute to the memory of Spanish writer Manuel Vázquez Montalban and his famous detective Pepe Carvalho, who contributed to the revival of crime fiction in Europe in the 70s. Lehane is the latest to win the award and joins a list made up of: Donna Leon (2016), Alicia Giménez Bartlett (2015), Andrea Camilleri (2014), Maj Sjöwall (2013), Petros Màrkaris (2012), Andreu Martín (2011), Ian Rankin (2010), Michael Connelly (2009), P.D. James (2008), Henning Mankell (2007) and Francisco González Ledesma (2006).

Above image: Dennis Lehane at the 2010 Brooklyn Book Festival. On 12 September 2010, picture taken by David Shankbone. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Perhaps it might be the right time to start reading the Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro books. I have Darkness, Take My Hand (Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro #2) in my Kindle, awaiting to be read.