Selecting short stories for an anthology is always difficult, especially when you have more than 150 years of accumulated stories to choose from. There must exist tens of thousands of Swedish mysteries, detective and criminal stories published in hundreds of entertaining periodicals and obscure books. Most of them have never been reprinted, much less translated into other languages. As the title of this anthology suggests, the stories here are confined to mysteries, murders and disappearances taking place in locked rooms, or open spaces or in similar seemingly impossible circumstances. When selecting, I have killed a few darlings, often because they were too long to be considered short stories. There is a quantum leap between Lars Blom and His Disappearing Gun (1857) by August Blanche and The Murder of ‘Swedish Annie' (1906) by Ernst Lindblom, a gap of forty-nine years. To be sure, August Strindberg, Victoria Benedictsson, Gustaf af Geijerstam, Ola Hansson and many other authors wrote crime fiction in Sweden during that period, but they were not "impossible" crime stories. However, there is actually one short story that without stretching the definition too far may fit the description "a strange disappearance story," namely The Sealed Letter by Aurora Ljungstedt. That story has already been published in the collection The Hastfordian Escutcheon: Two Detective Stories from Sweden in 1870 (The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, Shelburne, Canada 2005). And to furthermore respond to the itching forty-nine-year-wide gap, we do not know what the future will bring, when ardent and diligent enthusiasts continue their digging in enormous, dust-collecting Swedish archives.
I would also like to thank George A. Vanderburgh, John Robert Colombo, Johan Wopenka. Nicolas Krizan and the copyright owners for making this project possible.
— Bertil Falk
Other Volumes of Victorian Detective Fiction from The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box