Some months ago, in our podcast The Men Who Explain Miracles, first myself and then Dan chose our fifteen favourite locked room novels of all time. In celebration of Locked Room International recently putting out their thirtieth fiction title, I have done essentially the same again, this time choosing solely from their catalogue: effectively, my personal picks for the ‘top half’ of their output to date.
Most people who write and publish one novel go on to complete a second, yet the second is often the one deemed ‘difficult’. I suppose it’s the not knowing whether a universe and characters previously deployed will stretch over another 100,000 words, or whether a writer used up all their good ideas on Book 1 and so Book 2 is likely to fall on drier ground.
At 12 years old, Dash Gibson is so famous that in a hundred years people will still be learning about him in school — no mere flash in the pan fame for him and his family, their names will go down in human history. Because they are among the first human beings ever to live on the moon.
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.
As discussed previously, we are here today to find out how good I am at spotting clues and things in the detective novel London Particular, a.k.a. Fog of Doubt (1952) by Christianna Brand. We’ll be doing this by examining my thoughts on a chapter-by-chapter basis and there will be spoilers. Do not read futher if you wish to remain unspoiled.
In German there is schadenfreude, pleasure at the misfortune of others, which I believe is the intended response to Richard Hull’s Murder of My Aunt (1934). I’m sorry to say that in reading it I experienced more the Spanish vergüenza ajena, that toe-curling horror of watching someone make a prat of themselves, and not in any sort of a good way. But in order to (hopefully) prove that I’m not a humourless prig I’ve opted for another light, funny mystery with Alan Melville’s Quick Curtain (1934), having enjoyed but not really retained much of the similarly-republished Death of Anton (1936) from the British Library.