#438: A Little Help for My Friends – Finding a Modern Locked Room Mystery for TomCat Attempt #8: The Magic Bullet (2011) by Larry Millett

Magic Bullet

I shall eventually abandon any pretence that my occasional forays into post-1990 impossible crime novels are purely for the benefit of my fellow impossible crime enthusiast TomCat, but not just yet.  So let’s all take a moment to bask in how selfless I am, reading books I have no interest in myself purely so that TC can find something more modern to satisfy the cravings of the Impossible Murder Phanatic (or ‘Imp’, as those people have definitely been calling themselves for years now).

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#435: The Voice of the Corpse (1948) by Max Murray

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When unpopular spinster Angela Pewsey is killed by a blow to the head — “the first time in many years that someone had done something in her vicinity about which she was not thoroughly informed” — following a spate of poison pen letters, it is met with quite spectacular disinterest by the other denizens of the small village of Inching Round.  And, indeed, the attitude which solicitor Firth Prentice must confront when brought down from London to investigate (quite against his will) by the comely Celia Sim is that, frankly, most people would rather shake the murderer’s hand than see anyone hang for such a public-spirited act.

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#420: Death Lights a Candle (1932) by Phoebe Atwood Taylor

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We’re back in Boston again this week, in another large house with murder insinuating its way among the denizens.  Everyone is snowed in when the death occurs, and so good-ol’-boy Asey Mayo must counter the cunning devilry of an ingenious and unscrupulous killer with his own brand of misleadingly languid style, plenty of homespun wisdom, and lot and lots of phonetic dialogue — in fact, this is the first time I’ve actively wondered whether an author was on some sort of pro rata arrangement for the number of times an apostrophe could be used where a letter would be equally good.  So that’s another benchmark reached, I guess.

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#411: Six Were to Die, a.k.a. The Dark Angel (1932) by James Ronald [a.p.a by Kirk Wales]

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I feel as if I’m encroaching on the territory of John Norris at Pretty Sinister by reviewing a book that isn’t all that easy to come by; worry not, John, I don’t have well-enough stocked shelves to support this kind of habit, so it’s back to normal next week.  This title is one that — like What a Body! (1949), The Rynox Mystery (1930), Death Has Many Doors (1951), and Dead Man Control (1936) — was brought to my attenion by the Roland Lacourbe library of highly-regarded impossible crime novels, though due to the absence of a French translation did not qualify for the main list.  Well, as you can see from the rating above, I think our Francophone brethren are missing out.

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