#383: Success, and Being a Victim Thereof in ‘The Fires of Hell’ (2016) by Paul Halter [trans. John Pugmire 2016]

EQMM May June 2018

Having recently reviewed Paul Halter’s short story collection The Night of the Wolf (2006), and having previously shared my thoughts on Soji Shimada’s ‘The Running Dead’ (1985), Szu-Yen Lin’s ‘The Ghost of the Badminton Court’ (2004), and Halter’s own ‘The Yellow Book’ (2017) all from the pages of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, the time seems perfect to look at the newest Halter translation to come our way — the short story ‘The Fires of Hell’, published in this month’s EQMM.

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#382: The Night of the Wolf [ss] (2006) by Paul Halter [trans. Robert Adey & John Pugmire 2004]

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With Christian recently starting his blog looking at impossible crimes in short fiction, and with a new Paul Halter translation in the current issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, the time seemed ripe to go back and reread this collection of Halter’s short fiction and get my thoughts on record.  Originally published in English by Wildside Press in 2006 (in slightly modified form from its original 2000 publication in French) and then taken in by Halter’s subsequent English publisher Locked Room International, the ten stories here serve as a great primer for the breadth of Halter’s ingenuity, and rediscovering them has been a huge amount of fun.

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#379: Bats in the Belfry (1937) by E.C.R. Lorac

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If you seek evidence of my tendency to over-commit where GAD is concerned, look no further than my reading and reviewing two E.C.R. Lorac titles and then buying a further, ahem, six before actually getting round to reading any more.  For all her perceived failings — not as rigorous as Christie, not as refined as Sayers, not as dull as Marsh — I’ve found my first few books by Edith Caroline Rivett to distinguish themselves in her approaching fairly standard setups with an air of trying to do something a little uncommon.  We’re not reinventing the wheel, but we are putting a different tread on the tyres.

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