My five-hundredth post approacheth — a reread and re-evaluation of The Fourth Door (1987), the debut novel of M. Paul Halter, of whom I am quite the fan — and so Tuesdays in February will focus on the six translated Halter stories featured in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine that have yet to be collected into a second English-language anthology.
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.
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.
My first experience of the French crime/suspense duo Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac was the recent Pushkin Press reissue of She Who Was No More (1952, tr. 2015) and…well, I didn’t love it. But Adey lists this novella and so back on the horse we clamber.
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.