the-mystery-of-the-yellow-room

Gaston Leroux (6 May 1868 – 15 April 1927) 

French journalist and author of detective fiction.

In the English-speaking world, he is best known for writing the novel The Phantom of the Opera (Le Fantôme de l'Opéra, 1910), which has been made into several film and stage productions of the same name, notably the 1925 film starring Lon Chaney, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1986 musical. His novel The Mystery of the Yellow Room is also one of the most famous locked-room mysteries ever. (Wikipedia)

From our stacks: Cover of The Mystery of the Yellow Room. Extraordinary Adventures of Joseph Rouletabille Reporter. By Gaston Leroux. Illustrated with scenes from the Photoplay produced by Realart Pictures Corporation. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1908. 

The Mystery of the Yellow Room
Alvin Band
The Mystery of the Yellow Room

Alvin Band - “The Mystery of the Yellow Room”

NOTE: This is the side project of the drummer of Miniature Tigers. What makes this album so special and interesting to listen to is that almost everything you hear is actually a capella vocals. Fans of Miniature Tigers & Animal Collective should check out this record.

swedishheroine  asked:

Hey Caitlin, is there any precise layout to Erik's home in the Leroux novel? I remember I saw this diagram floating around Tumblr once

Great question! This is something I’ve thought about quite a lot over the years. Gaston Leroux does not indicate a definitive floor plan for Erik’s house in The Phantom of the Opera. However, based on Christine’s descriptions, it is possible to reconstruct roughly what Erik’s house would have looked like.

First of all, let’s consider where Erik’s house was likely located inside the Opera.

Here is a view of the Palais Garnier from Google Maps. The rectangular area marked “Le Lac” is where the “lake” in the Opera lies (it is actually a cistern, but Leroux used quite a bit of artistic license in describing it). Erik’s house was located on the Rue Scribe side of the lake, on the left-hand side of the building. It was probably situated in the corner closest to the Rue Scribe, since we know that there was an entrance to the lake that was close to the street.

Here is a cutaway of the Palais Garnier. The front of the building (with the statue of Apollo) is to the right. This model is on display at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

Here is a closeup of the model of the Palais Garnier that I have annotated. Leroux’s narrator tells us that Erik’s house was located in between the inner and outer walls that encased the lake, so this circled area could be a possible location for the house.

Finally, let’s consider the floor plan for Erik’s house itself:

Please note: I have indicated a shoreline in my model because that is what Leroux described; however, the actual “lake” has no shore, and is accessed by ladders that go directly down into it, as this image (again, Leroux took a lot of artistic license):

Please note that I am not an architect, and that this floor plan is not drawn to scale or dimension, but this design is supported by diagrams of Victorian houses, such as this one:

We know from Christine’s description that the door from the lake leads into Erik’s drawing room.

We also know that her room (the Louis-Philippe room) is off of the drawing room, and that Erik’s room (which is adjacent to Christine’s room) is off of the dining room.

We can also surmise from Christine’s description that there is no door between the drawing room and the dining room.

We also know that Christine’s room has an ensuite bathroom. Please note: I have not indicated a door on Christine’s bathroom because Christine does not describe there as being one (she says that there are only two doors in her room — the door that Erik enters from, off of the drawing room, and the door that leads into the torture chamber).

The torture chamber is located behind the wall of Christine’s room, and the scorpion and grasshopper figurines are located on her mantelpiece.

Now, for speculation:

We can surmise that there was a kitchen, probably behind the dining room, although Christine doesn’t describe it. We can also surmise that Erik’s room had an ensuite bathroom, but that he kept the door to it closed when Christine was in his room.

I have speculated, based on this floor plan, that Erik’s room may have had a storage room behind it, and that there may have been an entrance from this storage room into Erik’s wine cellar.

I have also surmised that the bedrooms, torture chamber, etc., off of the drawing room and dining room were positioned to the left of the main rooms, and were thus closer to the Rue Scribe side of the building, but they could also have been situated to the right (making the image flipped horizontally).

Anyway, this is the picture that I have in my head of Erik’s house on the lake. Other people may have different takes on it. I wish that Leroux had provided a floor plan in Phantom, like he did in The Mystery of the Yellow Room, but alas, as with so much of his novel, we are left to speculate.

anonymous asked:

Have you read any other Leroux books? If so can you recommend one?

Yes! I’d recommend that you start with “The Mystery of the Yellow Room” and then read “The Perfume of the Lady in Black.” They are both detective fiction novels, and feature Joseph “Rouletabille” Josephin, a brilliant, 18-year-old investigative journalist. Rouletabille was in many ways a glorified version of Leroux himself.

“The Mystery of the Yellow Room” is what is referred to as a “locked room mystery,” in that the events happen within a locked space in which it seems impossible for a crime to be committed. It was one of the earliest examples of this genre, and it inspired later detective fiction novelists, such as Agatha Christie. In the novel, Rouletabille investigates the crime … and discovers more than he was bargaining for!

“The Perfume of the Lady in Black” picks up where “Yellow Room” left off. I don’t want to say too much about it, because I don’t want to give away any details about “Yellow Room.”

If you like this character, you’re in luck, because Leroux wrote seven novels featuring Rouletabille (though several of them are no longer in print in English). All of Leroux’s Rouletabille novels are available in French (I have them on my Kindle), since in France Leroux is much more famous for Rouletabille than for Phantom. I’d recommend these novels to any students of French who are looking for a fun reading experience, especially after reading Phantom.