January, month of rebirth and self-recrimination. For every resolution to improve there must be some frank assessment of what debilitated you in the first place, and so the month can take on a curiously Jekyll-and-Hyde aspect for some. So my Tuesday posts for this month will be a mixture of what is good and bad in my reading, and where better to start than a celebration of the previous 12 months?
Stage magic and Golden Age detection go hand-in-hand: we go in knowing we’re being fooled in both cases, but there’s little more enjoyable than seeing it done well. Clayton Rawson and Hake Talbot were professional-level magicians who turned their minds to the dark arts of fictional (as far as we know…) murder and crafted some wonderful stories in doing so, and the name Bruce Elliott can also be added to the magician/detection-writer set with this country house mystery that benefits from his magical background by stirring in an impossible crime. This is yet another book that’s foisted an unexpected impossibility upon me, and while it’s not exactly perfect, it’s still a bloody good read.