#527: Plotting the Perfect Crime – Potential and Pay-Off via The House of Haunts, a.k.a. The Lamp of God (1935) by Ellery Queen

Black Lizard Locked Room

Slowly, slowly I work my way through the Otto Penzler-edited Woo Whatta Lotta Locked Room Mysteries (2014) — it’s not really a convenient size to dip into — and, since my chronological reading of Ellery Queen is going so well, it seemed time to take on this impossible disappearance story.  Or so I thought…

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#526: The Julius Caesar Murder Case (1935) by Wallace Irwin

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This title had stuck in my memory from perusing Ramble House’s stable, and when I saw it listed in Locked Room Murders (2nd ed., 1992) — having not previously realised it was an impossible crime — I snapped it up.  Then it cropped up in the comments of a post at Brad’s place and it was as if the stars had aligned. The dedication to Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler “with the author’s feeling that in distance there is security” hints that you’re not getting the usual run-of-the-mill stuff, and the opening line introducing “Publius Manlius Scribo, star reporter and sports columnist on the Evening Tiber” in 44 B.C., heavily implies that you’re clearly not getting a slavishly faithful historical epic, either.

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#523: Death in a Million Living Rooms, a.k.a. Die Laughing (1951) by Patricia McGerr

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Quite apart from having the best damn title ever, Death in a Million Living Rooms (1951) by Patricia McGerr employs one of my favourite conceits of classic-era detection: the Live On Air Murder. With The Dead Are Blind (1937) by Max Afford, Murder in the Melody (1940) by Norman Berrow, and And Be a Villain (1948) by Rex Stout giving us death on the radio, McGerr turns to the television studio to kill her poor victim live in front of the several million who tune in to Podge and Scottie’s weekly comedy show, with — as in Stout’s take — poison in the sponsor’s drink responsible.  That you know it’s coming makes it no less horrible, so whodunnit?

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#521: Spoiler Warning 10 – Tantei Gakuen Q/Detective School Q: ‘The Kamikakushi Village Murder Case’ (2003)


Apologies, we’re a bit late — there were some hold-ups on my end of things — but here at last are the thoughts of the blogosphere’s resident impossible crime expert TomCat and myself on ‘The Kamikakushi Village Murder Case’, part of the Tantei Gakuen Q (Detective Academy Q) anime based on the manga of the same name.

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