#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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#520: Seeing is Believing, a.k.a. Cross of Murder (1941) by Carter Dickson

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Socialising is difficult, isn’t it? One minute you’re making polite dinner party conversation about jobs with someone you’ve only just met, the next a hypnotist performs a few mesmeric passes and goads a wife into stabbing her husband with a knife everyone knows is fake but which — awks — actually turns out to be real and, oh my god, she’s killed him.  We’ve all been there, and we all know how tricky it can be to factor this sort of thing into one’s TripAdvisor rating.  An unexpected, impossible murder can dampen the mood somewhat — especially when so many people seem to be operating at cross-purposes — but remember you did say the canapés were lovely…

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#439: Nine – and Death Makes Ten, a.k.a. Murder in the Atlantic, a.k.a. Murder in the Submarine Zone (1940) by Carter Dickson

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Yes, this was supposed to be The Spanish Cape Mystery (1935) by Ellery Queen in preparation for the forthcoming spoiler-filled look at Halfway House (1936).  Yes, you all warned me that book was awful, and you were correct.  Let’s instead board a cruise ship stuffed with munitions at the outset of the Second World War and watch the eight — or is it nine? — passengers slowly get to know each other until one of them is found murdered in their cabin, the corpse peppered with fingerprints which do not match those of anyone on board.  Aaah, I feel better already — man, I love the work of John Dickson Carr; the idea of having never discovered it makes me feel a little unwell.

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#423: And So to Murder (1940) by Carter Dickson

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First, some context: when I began investigating the works of John Dickson Carr/Carter Dickson, I read a review of And So to Murder (1940) — his tenth novel to feature Sir Henry ‘H.M.’ Merrivale — which lambasted it so roundly that I decided there and then never to read it. Obviously this was in my pre-The Case of the Constant Suicides (1940) and Death Watch (1934) days, two books which convinced me I’d read the transcript of an old shipping forecast had JDC been the one to deliver it, but I still came to this with a certain…apprehension.  Merrivale is on a pretty blistering run up to now, so would this be the point where it all starts going wrong?

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#412: On the Appeal of Impossible Crimes – At Death’s Door…

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I’ll he honest, I’m not really sure what this post is about.  See, I’ve been mulling the appeal of the impossible crime novel for, well, years now, and having previously looked at what makes something an impossible crime the thing I’ve been mulling lately why the concept of an impossible crime is so appealing.  This, then, is the end result of those lucubrations, unfocused as they are despite being pinned on a very small area of interest.

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