Contrary to Poe’s story I felt drawn into this story almost immediately. In fact, I stayed up later than was good for me because I wanted to see what happened. One thing that made me giggle was that Jacques talked about chess, similarly to Poe, but with a higher regard for the games complexity.
The story is what is called a locked room mystery. This is where a protagonist is trying to pull a Houdini act. At the beginning one gets acquainted with Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen, Ph.D., L.L.D., F.R.S., M.D., M.D.S., whew what a mouthful! And there is a reason I added all those letters; this man is well educated and pompous enough to sign his name with all the letters trailing behind. What is it with mystery stories apparently needing a pertentious ass hole to solve the issues, I didn’t know that the prerequisite for logical reasoning was asshattery.
Even though Van Dusen is grandiose, I loved this story. Two men, sick of Van Dusen’s arrogance, convince him to check into a cell at a local prison. Within cell 13 Van Dusen lives on death row, trying to escape within one weeks time.
This story is fantastic and worth a read. I dare not continue for I don’t want to provide any spoilers.