#383: Success, and Being a Victim Thereof in ‘The Fires of Hell’ (2016) by Paul Halter [trans. John Pugmire 2016]

EQMM May June 2018

Having recently reviewed Paul Halter’s short story collection The Night of the Wolf (2006), and having previously shared my thoughts on Soji Shimada’s ‘The Running Dead’ (1985), Szu-Yen Lin’s ‘The Ghost of the Badminton Court’ (2004), and Halter’s own ‘The Yellow Book’ (2017) all from the pages of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, the time seems perfect to look at the newest Halter translation to come our way — the short story ‘The Fires of Hell’, published in this month’s EQMM.

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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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#367: Old Tricks, New Dog – ‘The Ghost of the Badminton Court’ (2004) by Szu-Yen Lin [trans. Szu-Yen Lin & John Pugmire 2014]

EQMM Aug 2014

Following the hugely enjoyable and terrifyingly ingenious machinations of Szu-Yen Lin’s Death in the House of Rain (2006), published in English last year by Locked Room International, I was delighted to discover that another Lin story was available in English, ‘The Ghost of the Badminton Court’ from the August 2014 edition of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.

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#366: The Double Alibi (1934) by Noel Vindry [trans. John Pugmire 2018]

Disclosure: I proof-read this book for Locked Room International in February 2018.

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There will come a time when my love of the puzzle novel will result in me having to recuse myself where reviews are concerned, I think, because my response to the machinations of the most complex of GAD is simply not that of a normal human being.  Until such a time, however, I shall continue to frolic and bask in the joy of the likes of Noel Vindry and his pattern-obsessed kin because, frankly, it’s just so much fun.  The Double Alibi (1934) is doubtless the most twisty yet translated into English by John Pugmire, and if anything approaching this level of ingenuity remains then, dude, I hope we get to see that as well.

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#337: Foreign Bodies [ss] (2017) ed. Martin Edwards

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Had you asserted back in 2014 that the republication of two forgotten crime novels would lay the foundation for one of the most celebrated series of GAD reissues in modern times, well, people would have laughed.  And yet the British Library Crime Classics collection, under the stewardship of Martin Edwards and Rob Davies, is now over 50 books deep and gathering momentum for another exciting year.  And it’s a sure sign of the hale condition of the series that, far from simply reissuing books, they’re now branching out into original translations with this collection of overseas tales.  In the words of Ira Gershwin, who’s got the last laugh now?

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#319: A Call to Arms – ‘The Running Dead’ (1985) by Soji Shimada [trans. Ho-Ling Wong & John Pugmire 2017]

EQMM Nov Dec 2017

Given that an overwhelming majority of modern crime writing really isn’t my thing, it’s always lovely to see Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine publish some short fiction for me to get excited about, like a new Paul Halter story or, as in the current November/December 2017 issue, something from Japanese master Soji Shimada (I’ll Westernise his name herein, since that’s what I’ve done previously).

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