#673: Cut and Run (1941) by Martin Tanner

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We tend to take it for granted that authors like John Dickson Carr and John Rhode created noms de plume effectively to enable them to produce double the amount of their usual fiction.  Central character names aside, Rhode’s works don’t really differ from ‘Miles Burton’s nor Carr’s from that of ‘Carter Dickson’.  You’d  think they’d want a day off every now and then (and their critics might suggest they could have used one).  One would expect a new identity to be quite freeing — see Agatha Christie occasionally escaping into the social concerns of ‘Mary Westmacott’, or Anthony Berkeley rearranging his palette as ‘Francis Iles’ — a chance to experiment in private, as it were.

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#672: Adventures in Self-Publishing – Murder by Magic (2017) by Paul Tomlinson

Murder by Magic

Typical, eh?  You wait years for a blog to talk about magic, and then suddenly three posts come along at once: the most recent In GAD We Trust episode with John Norris, and two self-published impossible crime stories — one this week, and one next.  Sure, that’s stretching the definition of “at once” to an Orwellian degree, but that’s how I apparently roll.

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#671: “At this point, everything seems too far-fetched to be taken seriously…” – The Invisible Circle (1996) by Paul Halter [trans. John Pugmire 2014]

Invisible Circle, The

A triptych of needs are being met here: firstly a last-minute replacement for the Modern Locked Room Mystery for TomCat I’d intended to write about, secondly the addressing of a Paul Halter book not yet reviewed on this blog, and thirdly some tangential research for next Saturday’s In GAD We Trust episode.

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#670: Sleeping Murder (1976) by Agatha Christie

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Agatha Christie famously wrote the final novels to feature her two biggest sleuths well ahead of their publication, and where Hercule Poirot’s swansong Curtain (1975) was a joyous return to the heights for a character she had grown weary of, Sleeping Murder (1976) — the last hurrah for Miss Jane Marple, a character you can’t help but feel Christie had a growing respect for as she aged — is…fine.  Yes, it had a cogency and precision that At Bertram’s Hotel (1965) and Nemesis (1971) sorely needed, but in all honesty the sound and fury on display here signifies something that doesn’t even add up to a hill o’ beans, if you’ll forgive my mixing of classics.

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#669: Adventures in Self-Publishing – Murder in a Watched Room (2019) by A.G. Barnett

Murder in a Watched Room

My previous encounter with A.G. Barnett’s self-published impossible crime fiction was An Invitation to Murder (2019), which saw an interesting-if-cozy impossible battering in a locked room lose points for drawing attention to the one detail it then failed to explain.  But, everyone gets two books, and so we’re back, this time with a different series and a stabbing in a locked and watched room.

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