#611: The Seventh Hypothesis (1991) by Paul Halter [trans. John Pugmire 2012]

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Aaah, Christmas; time to drop into the comforting arms of the ones we know and love.  I tried to mix things up a bit this year, starting two Christmas mysteries to review this week…but neither really worked for me, and so I’m following my own advice and adding another pre-blogging Paul Halter title to my archives.  I distinctly remembered The Seventh Hypothesis (1991, tr. 2012) to be a doozy, with less of a focus on the impossibilities — though we get two in quick succession — and more attention drawn to a complex switchback of mellifluous plotting…so how’d it stand up to a second look?  Rather well, as it turns out.

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#608: Ghost House (1940) by Norman Berrow

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Norman Berrow seems to flourish under the eye of the eldritch.  Impossible hoof-marks in the snow mystery The Footprints of Satan (1950) is widely seen — correctly, in my opinion and experience to date — as his strongest work, and Ghost House (1940) is another atmosphere-drenched invocation of supernatural terror.  Evidently Berrow himself was either extremely taken with the book or extremely disappointed in it, since he rewrote some of the plot, changed the names of the characters, and reissued the book in 1979.  I’ll get to v2.0 last of all, since I’m now reading Berrow chronologically, but for now let’s look at the original.

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