A famous locked room mystery: The Tea-Leaf

A famous locked room mystery: The Tea-Leaf
Only two men had been in the steam room, 
and one man was now dead.

A locked room mystery is a puzzling mystery story where someone is murdered in an impossible way, such as inside a locked room where nobody can enter or exit.

The Tea-Leaf, written in 1925 by Edgar Jepson and Robert Eustace, is a famous example of this type of story. A man is murdered inside a Turkish bathhouse, obviously by his enemy who was with him at the time. But they can find no murder weapon. So how was he killed?

The story starts slow, with background details of the participants, and like many good mystery stories, progresses to and ends in a courtroom where a man is on trial for his life.

And then an intelligent female scientist, accused of immoral sexual behavior, solves the case.

It’s 7,000 words, so you’ll have to slow down to read it. If you do read it, once you get to the solution, you just might recognize the equally famous method of death.

After examining the room and the dead body the detective-inspector in charge of the case came to the conclusion that Kelstern had been stabbed as he was drinking his tea. The thermos flask lay on the floor in front of him and some of the tea had evidently been spilt, for some tea-leaves the tea in the flask must have been carelessly strained of the leaves by the maid who filled it lay on the floor about the mouth of the empty flask. It looked as if the murderer had taken advantage of Kelstern’s drinking his tea to stab him while the flask rather blocked his vision and prevented him from seeing what he would be at.

The case would have been quite plain sailing but for the fact that they could not find the weapon…

READ: The Tea-Leaf by Edgar Jepson and Robert Eustace>>

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