Locked-room Mysteries? Escape Rooms? And then … a Locked-in Sleuth?

Hi All. Barb here. Today we’re celebrating the release of FOTW (Friend of the Wickeds) Lea Wait’s new book in her Mainely Needlepoint Mystery series, Thread Herrings. (Love the title).

But first, a word from our sponsors: As  we do every November, the Wicked Authors are holding a giveaway everyday this month to say thank you to our readers. Lea is kicking off the month by giving away a copy of her new release, Thread Herrings, to one lucky commenter on the blog. You can comment until the end of the day tomorrow (November 2nd). The winner will be announced on Saturday, November 3. This one is US only. We will have some giveaways that include our friends farther afield throughout the month.

Okay, that’s done. Take it away, Lea!

Edgar Allan Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue, published in 1841, is the story most people think of first when they think of a locked-room mystery: a sub-genre of crime fiction in which a victim is killed in a place (e.g. a locked room) seemingly impossible for a murderer to either enter or leave. The sleuth (and the reader) are challenged to use their knowledge and reasoning to solve the puzzle, rather than relying on forensics or interviewing suspects. Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is one of the most famous sleuths to solve seemingly impossible crimes, but many well-known twentieth-century authors have used the same technique … some more successfully than others.

The challenge is so intriguing that today in many towns and cities amateur sleuths can test their own powers of deduction and teamwork by renting sixty minutes in an “Escape Room” – a locked room in which the team must solve a series of puzzles within sixty minutes in order to escape.

But – what about a sleuth who must solve the mystery from a locked room? Intrigued by that possibility, in Thread Herrings, my protagonist, Angie Curtis, is threatened by an unknown killer after she buys a faded piece of eighteenth-century needlework at an auction … and finds a mysterious paper hidden behind the fabric. At first the threats make no sense.

But after a friend is murdered and Angie’s car blows up, the police in Haven Harbor, Maine, insist that Angie stay hidden in protective custody. She does have a cellphone, a handsome companion, and she can call friends for help. But can she piece together bits of information from a wide variety of sources, historical and contemporary, and identify the killer before he (or she) finds her?

Barb again. I LOVE this idea and can’t wait to read Thread Herrings.

Readers: Are you intrigued by locked-room mysteries or Escape Rooms? What resources could a sleuth like Angie call upon? Give us your ideas below or simply say hi to be entered in the giveaway.

USA Today best-selling author Lea Wait lives on the coast of Maine where she writes the Mainely Needlepoint series, the Shadows Antique Print mystery series, and (under the name Cornelia Kidd) the Maine Murder series. She also writes historical novels set in Maine. https://www.leawait.com

— THREAD HERRINGS is the 7th in the Mainely Needlepoint series, set in the small working waterfront town of Haven Harbor, Maine.

45 Thoughts

  1. Absolutely loved this latest book in this Lea Wait series. A masterful execution of the locked room concept. Since I read my copy yesterday, no need to include me in the drawing.

  2. Hello, Lea! I am intrigued by the idea of locked or escape rooms, but no desire to be in one. One in my town, near the college, does a pretty good business….Best of luck with Thread Herrings. I love the idea of a secret hidden in vintage needlepoint. Needlepointers need to get their kicks, too!

  3. Welcome back, Lea, and congratulations! Our SINC chapter sponsored several escape-room adventures this fall and I didn’t make it to a single one, but my son and his wife have had fun with them. Can’t wait to read the new Threads mystery.

  4. I wouldn’t be interested in participating in the “escape room” activity but I do enjoy locked room mysteries. Its always fascinating to read and then learn how it was done.

  5. I was already looking forward to reading this book, because this series has become one of my favorites. Now that I’ve read the synopsis, I am even more anxious to read it.

  6. I love this series and can’t wait to read the new book!
    My library did an Escape Room over the summer and we have one coming up in a few weeks. Our patrons have been having a blast doing them. A lot of people love the puzzle solving aspect of it, some people love the time crunch out on them and some are super competitive. I think it’s human nature to not like being confined and people will always find a way to escape. Here’s hoping Angie can solve her newest mystery!

  7. I love the cover of this new book and I am really looking forward to reading it. I have always enjoyed locked room mysteries. In 4th grade I read the Sherlock Holmes book The Speckled Band. My goodness, did it have me captivated!
    There are a good number of locked room mysteries out there. I also enjoy mysteries where the ‘detective’, for what ever reason, is solving the case while confined to their home. Nero Wolf is one of my favorites. He is brilliant!

  8. Good morning and Happy November!

    I do find locked room mysteries or Escape Rooms VERY interesting. We have one that has opened in our little town. Why haven’t I went you ask? Well, we are waiting for our out of town friends to arrive so that we can experience it together. I think it will be tons of fun and interesting to see how a group that has know each other for years will work together or will or opinions differ so much that we don’t make it out.

    Seeing as how she has a phone, I am assuming that she has access to the internet (and not just a flip phone like i have). I would think knowing that approximate age would be helpful. Maybe there is some way to research to narrow down the time frame. She could also contact the auction house to see if she could start tracing back to the original owner of the piece. Maybe the actual picture in the piece is a clue and finding out what or where it’s taken from. Examining the paper she found for clues too. All in all, I would say that Angie needs to stay calm, think outside the box, complete examine what she has in front of her for new clues and to use what tools like phone to get computer access to her best advantage.

    Thank you for the wonderful chance to win a copy of “Thread Herrings”. Sounds wonderful and I would love the opportunity to read it.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  9. I love the idea of being in a locked room and needing to solve a mystery. Of course, since she has a cell phone, she can call friends and family and “google” for information. It occurs to me that she can also look at suspects’ social media sites for clues and information. That might yield some interesting results. Congratulations on the new release!

  10. Careful observation of all the items in the room. I love sleuths who are extremely in tune with small clues that can go unnoticed

  11. Great timing! I’m doing an escape room weekend after this one.

    We aren’t allowed to use our cell phones so we can only rely on each other. Luckily, there’ll be three mystery writers (it would have been four but Wickeds Sherry will be at Crime Bake) and three lay-persons who are all really tall.

    Maybe not the best mix of skills but you work with what you’ve got and use ingenuity which Angie will have to rely on too. 🙂

  12. This book sounds really interesting. I love reading locked room mysteries. I have also done one Escape Room with people that I work with. It was actually really fun and a good team building exercise.

  13. That’s definitely an intriguing premise for a mystery.

    (As always in November, please leave me out of the drawings unless I request to be included.)

  14. Can’t wait to read this book in the series, it sounds like Angie is going to have to rely on help from her friends for sure.

  15. I enjoy locked room mysteries and the inclusion of a needlepoint makes it all the more interesting. Thank you for the chance to win.

  16. I’m not familiar with this series, but am fascinated by it. I’ll be sure to check it out. A great way would be to win this book! In the meantime, I love locked room mysteries, but have no interest in being one. I’m just too claustrophobic.

  17. The twist sounds interesting. Usually the victim is in the locked room. Nero Wolfe did mostly stay in his house but had Archie, Saul, and others doing his footwork for him.

  18. I love this series and anything else written by Lea Wait, both her adult and childrens’ books are great. I was thrilled to meet her at Malice in April. I am a rather nosy person, lol, so a locked room would probably drive me crazy. I can’t wait to read Thread Herrings.
    Thanks for a chance to win a copy. I already have it on my kindle, but would love a paper copy to add to my library.

  19. I love this series and can’t wait to read this one! I think locked room mysteries are really cool but would be way scary to try and figure out!

  20. Love the premise for this book. I can’t wait to match wits with Angie as I try to solve it before she can. 😉 Thanks for this giveaway!

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