#434: Locked Room International is 30 – My Favourite 15 Books

LRI Thirty

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.

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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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#404: Little Fictions – The Impossibilities of Ellery Queen: ‘The Black Ledger’, a.k.a. ‘The Mysterious Black Ledger’ (1952) and ‘Diamonds in Paradise’ (1954)

QBI & QF

To finish off this month looking at some of the impossible crime short stories of Ellery Queen — which started without an impossibility, went verbosely downhill, and then improved significantly — I’m again looking at two stories since both are pretty darn short.  And so…

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#382: The Night of the Wolf [ss] (2006) by Paul Halter [trans. Robert Adey & John Pugmire 2004]

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With Christian recently starting his blog looking at impossible crimes in short fiction, and with a new Paul Halter translation in the current issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, the time seemed ripe to go back and reread this collection of Halter’s short fiction and get my thoughts on record.  Originally published in English by Wildside Press in 2006 (in slightly modified form from its original 2000 publication in French) and then taken in by Halter’s subsequent English publisher Locked Room International, the ten stories here serve as a great primer for the breadth of Halter’s ingenuity, and rediscovering them has been a huge amount of fun.

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