Original Publication Date: 1914
Topics: locked room, murder
Review by heidenkind:
When a sea captain dies mysteriously at a boarding house, The Excelsior, the owner asks private detective Paul Snyder to investigate. The sea captain died from the bite of a cobra, in a locked room with no snake in the room! Was he actually killed by a snake, or was it murrrrrrrrrrrrrderrrrrrrrrr?
Death at the Excelsior is the first, and only, PI mystery PG Wodehouse wrote. While it's not as amusing and laugh-out-loud funny as the Jeeves stories, I did enjoy it. I liked the set-up of the older detective sending one of his younger employees, Elliot Oakes, to solve the case in the hopes that the cocky detective would learn a lesson by not being able to solve the mystery. I also thought the mystery itself was kind of interesting, even though this isn't the type of story you read for the mystery. I'm a sucker for locked room mysteries, and the snake bite element was just ridiculous enough that there was an element of comedy.
I also love Mrs. Pickett, the boarding house owner who shows up both Snyder and Oakes. Old ladies FTW!
This probably isn't Wodehouse's best work, but it is a decent short story that you shouldn't hesitate to check out if you're interested.
Download Death at the Excelsior by PG Wodehouse at Librivox|Project Gutenberg