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.
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…
Noah Stewart, one of the most knowledgable people currently blogging on the subject of GAD, once said that Romance and Detection are the two genres wherein the ending is never in doubt before you’ve even read the first page (I’m paraphrasing, of course — Noah would never put anything that pompously).
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.
Okay, after threeweeks of opinion, and with Tyline Perry’s murder-in-a-coalmine-centred The Owner Lies Dead (1930) up for review this Thursday, let’s have some much-needed objectivity: here is a selection of crimes where altitude plays a part.
Disclaimer: All heights are approximate. And fictional.