#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…

Continue reading

#521: Spoiler Warning 10 – Tantei Gakuen Q/Detective School Q: ‘The Kamikakushi Village Murder Case’ (2003)

spoiler-warning

Apologies, we’re a bit late — there were some hold-ups on my end of things — but here at last are the thoughts of the blogosphere’s resident impossible crime expert TomCat and myself on ‘The Kamikakushi Village Murder Case’, part of the Tantei Gakuen Q (Detective Academy Q) anime based on the manga of the same name.

Continue reading

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

Seeing is Believingstar filledstar filledstar filledstarsstars
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…

Continue reading

#515: A Little Help for My Friends – Finding a Modern Locked Room Mystery for TomCat Attempt #10: Angel Killer (2014) by Andrew Mayne

Angel Killer

The appeal of detective fiction and impossible crime novels for me is their potential for elegance, for taking something that seems utterly baffling and rendering it clear through intelligent deployment of a few key ideas.  This achieved peak density during the Golden Age, which is why that era earned that sobriquet, and it feels like it’s been downhill ever since.

Continue reading

#514: About the Murder of a Startled Lady (1935) by Anthony Abbot

About the Murder of a Startled Ladystar filledstar filledstarsstarsstars
This is another title brought to my attention via the Roland Lacourbe-curated list of one hundred (well, 114) notable impossible crime novels.  If I’m honest, I still don’t know what to make of that list — containing as it does some wonderful books that aren’t impossible crimes, some poor books that aren’t impossible crimes, and some thoroughly glorious impossible crimes that would otherwise have passed me by.  This one is…fine.  While the impossibility isn’t up to much, there’s enough interest in the approach taken to commend it if you can find a copy.  Would I put it among the hundred best, however?  Er, no…

Continue reading