The Mystery of the Yellow Room (or Le mystère de la chambre jaune in French) by Gaston Leroux was first published in France in the periodical L’Illustration in 1907 and as a book in 1908.
The book has been praised for its originality and is considered to be a pioneer of the locked room mystery genre. My expectations were high after hearing so much about it but The Mystery of the Yellow Room is barely an okay book for me.
The translation is not good. The language is extremely clunky and uncomfortable. I had a difficult time while reading it and had to stop to re-read certain passages to understand their meanings. The maps included in the text are not that helpful either.
Detective Rouletabille is an odd character. He seems over enthusiastic and rude. I at times found him to be quite insufferable. The way he speaks is juvenile to say the least. But that might have something to do with the poor quality of the translation.
Towards the climax the book becomes unbearably melodramatic. The sensational proclamations in the newspaper about Rouletabille’s departure and the letter he left behind, the people’s reaction to all of this, Rouletabille’s dramatic entrance in the final courtroom scene and finally the big secret that the lady had been keeping, it is all so over-the-top that I didn’t know what to make of it.
In the end it is more of a sentimental melodrama (with a little mystery thrown in) than anything else. A disappointing book.
© wutheringwillow and A Paperback Life, 2011-2061. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to wutheringwillow and A Paperback Life with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.