#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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#330: Highs & Lows – Five Reading Highlights of 2017

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January, month of rebirth and self-recrimination.  For every resolution to improve there must be some frank assessment of what debilitated you in the first place, and so the month can take on a curiously Jekyll-and-Hyde aspect for some.  So my Tuesday posts for this month will be a mixture of what is good and bad in my reading, and where better to start than a celebration of the previous 12 months?

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#270: The Madman’s Room (1990) by Paul Halter [trans. John Pugmire 2017]

Madman's RoomReader, brace yourself for a shock: I — the man who curated an online celebration of Paul Halter’s 60th birthday last yearloved The Madman’s Room.  Given the hue and stripe of originality Halter has brought to the impossible crime genre (The Demon of Dartmoor, The Lord of Misrule, and The Invisible Circle, among others, all contain what surely must be original resolutions to the inexplicable), it’s no surprise to find him resolving the mysteries herein as inventively as he does.  What I especially enjoyed was the simplicity brought to the answers, particularly the way he occludes that simplicity so smartly so that you look back on come the end and go “Oh, hell, how did I miss that?”.

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