Who doesn’t love a list? No-one who matters, that’s who. And since I’ve now read all twenty of the translated short stories of Paul Halter it seems inevitable that I should have my own preferences laid out for everyone to disagree with.
I am reliably informed by the product page on Amazon that I purchased the Kindle edition of The Fourth Door (1987, tr. 1999) — the first Paul Halter novel I ever read — on 19th May 2013. After nearly 6 years, 14 novels, 19 short stories, and 30 blog posts that included a celebration of his 60th birthday I’m going back to the beginning to see where it all began.
After a four month hiatus rather than the usual (and intended) two, Dan of The Reader is Warned and I are back with some impossible crime podcasting…and to my utter delight it’s the turn of M. Paul Halter to find himself in the spotlight.
Last week I sat this out because other business needed attending to. This week I’m going to try and convince you that the recent republication of Robert Adey’s Locked Room Murders from Locked Room International is the best reprint of this calendar year.
The last time anyone tried to use the wind as a threatening murder weapon we got The Happening (2008) from the, er, mind of M. Night Shyamalan. Nine years prior, however, Paul Halter had written about the small coastal village of Pickering in 1936, and the youthful, ethereal Stella Deverell predicting the deaths of locals ahead of the storms and winds that batter the vicinity. And what Stella predicts comes to pass: not just deaths, but madness, relationships breaking down, and unforeseeable good fortune for fishermen. Add in her own talents in making gold from rocks and vanishing without a trace and you’ve got an impossible crime tale on your hands…
Under the nom deplume Hake Talbot, the magician and author Henning Nelms published two novels and two short stories. Of the novels, The Hangman’s Handyman (1942) is generally overshadowed by the admittedly superior Rim of the Pit (1944); of the short stories, we tend to hear very little.