A lot of impossible crime novels published these days have, let’s face it, about enough impossible crime content for a short story. So a short story collection seems like a sensible thing to try, right? Even one that does put ‘short stories’ on its cover and then call itself “a novel” on the back. Right?
The reprinting of Robert Adey’s Locked Room Murders (2nd ed., 1991) at the end of 2018 was a delightful turn-up for those of us who had been dreaming of owning that reference bible. And once the excitement settled, I’m sure more than a few people started thinking “Hey, they should really do another one of these…”.
The joy of self-publishing must be the freedom to live or die solely on your own efforts. There’s most likely no-one looking over your shoulder to advise you, and while that may be the key factor that ruins a lot of SP fiction, if you can get it right on your own I imagine it’s rather thrilling.
It had been my intention to read one of J.R. Ellis’ earlier Yorkshire-set impossible crime novels after reading his third, The Murder at Redmire Hall (2018), last year. But then he released a fourth and, well, the best laid plans…
My exploration of self-published impossible crime fiction, which would itself have been impossible prior to the growth of the ebook market, continues apace — there are at present 21 books in my AiSP TBR alone. So let’s get on with it…
Welcome to Harmschapel, where people are shot while alone in locked rooms, murderers walk on water, men drown while trapped in a lift, and now it seems people return from the dead. Also, there’s Scrabble at the pub on a Thursday evening.
Confidence and competence are, I think, the two qualities I’d like an author to exhibit if they’re going to ask for money for their work. The confidence to know they’ve written something well, and the competence to be at least moderately schooled in things like continuity, how to use the language they’re writing in, and how to place and build ideas around their core structure.