The Glasgow Mystery by Baroness Orczy

royal-magazine-cover-april-1902-reduxHaving read Baroness Orczy’s The Old Man in the Corner and before beginning to read the following book in her series, The Case of Miss Elliott, I just realised that a 13 short story “The Glasgow Mystery” was the only one of the Baroness’s first thirteen Old Man stories never revised for inclusion in the 1909 collection.

You may find it here, as it first appeared in the Royal Magazine in April 1902.

The first story from the second series of “British Cities” Old Man mysteries, “The Glasgow Mystery” provoked hundreds of angry letters from The Royal Magazine’s Scottish readers through its inaccurate account of Scots legal procedure, specifically its depiction of a coroner’s jury. As mentioned in the preface to the “Edinburgh Mystery,” (see link below) Scots law is completely different from English (being largely based on the old Roman legal system), and the coroner’s jury is one of many English legal devices non-existent in Scotland. The Baroness, as a Hungarian, was unaware of this legal divide between the British Isles’ nations, and argued thus successfully to her publishers (who really should have caught the error themselves).

The only lasting result of the controversy was the omission of “The Glasgow Mystery” from the 1908 [9] Old Man in the Corner—a pity, since the story contains a very clever solution. The following text, which will hopefully provoke no outcry today, will give our readers a sample of the different format of the Old Man in the Corner stories in their original Royal Magazine presentation. (Introduction © 2013 by Dan Neyer).

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