Reading Corner: The Mystery of the Yellow Room

Reading Corner: The Mystery of the Yellow Room

As a child, one of my favourite stories was The Phantom of the Opera, but I only knew it from the musical and a 1990 television miniseries that my mother taped on VHS. I adored the miniseries and would watch it whenever I was home sick from school. I always wondered about the plot differences between the musical and the miniseries, so one day I set out to find the novel and see which was closer to the author’s original intentions. The version that I purchased contained notes about the author, and the one that I always remembered was a sentence mentioning that Gaston Leroux had also written The Mystery of the Yellow Room, considered to be one of the best locked-room mysteries of all time.

Normally, I do not tend towards mysteries, but I enjoyed Leroux’s writing so much that I always intended to find a copy of The Mystery of the Yellow Room. When searching through my local library’s catalog, I typed in the title and was very excited to see that they had it!

The Yellow Room
This was truly the kind of book best described as “can’t put it down.” It was very suspenseful!

A locked-room mystery is one in which a crime occurs under seemingly impossible circumstances–such as a location where no perpetrator could have entered or exited (like a locked room). The Mystery of the Yellow Room was one of the first, featuring Leroux’s young but incredibly talented reporter-turned-investigator, Joseph Rouletabille. He is prominently featured in several of Leroux’s later novels. (The sequel to this novel is The Perfume of the Lady in Black, which I am very interested in!)

This book was originally released as a serial, and new selections included diagrams and maps to assist the reader in trying to unravel the crime. I was happy to see that my edition included these same notes~ (Although I was very much unable to discover the criminal! The ending really surprised me~)

The story centers around an isolated forest estate where a young lady has been brutally attacked–despite the room having been locked from the inside, with a door that opened only to the laboratory her father was still performing research after she had gone to sleep. A young journalist, who has come seeking the full story, gradually unravels the truth. I don’t want to spoil any of the story, so I will just say that Leroux’s writing style is fast-paced–providing full explanations while still moving forward. I found it very enjoyable!

I think that if more mysteries were this intriguing and detailed, I would read them more often~