A new review from Crime Fiction Lover
Paul Halter’s devilishly clever early novel (the first case on which Twist and Hurst worked together) involves a famous locked room author found dead in a locked room slumped over a piping hot meal. https://theinvisibleevent.wordpress.com/2016/01/16/63
Publisher’s Weekly just issued a digital review.
Just out. Locked room lovers will delight in this cleverly constructed and genuinely funny mystery, full of references to the classics of the genre. Gunnar Lundgren, a detective sergeant in a small Swedish town, is called in to investigate the death of a resident of a shady boarding house. He makes the mistake of telling his father, Carl, all the details of the case, including the fact that the victim’s room was locked from the inside. Carl, a locked room enthusiast, is a member of a small club which meets regularly to discuss locked room classics. He and his fellow members gleefully seize on the case and apply chains of Ellery Queen style logic to devise a solution which Gunnar finds so hilarious he reads out extracts to his wife in bed. Meanwhile, he himself interprets the same set of clues to arrive at a totally different solution, through shoddy police work which follows the path of least resistance. It is left to a cheese-loving local doctor to interpret the clues in yet another way to solve the case and confront the murderer.
LRI has been honoured for a second time by Publisher’s Weekly. Just as in 2013, when Paul Halter’s The Crimson Fog was named, this year it’s Yukito Ayatsuji’s turn with The Decagon House Murders. Expect more honkaku from LRI in 2016.
The two titles were previously only available by ordering The Derek Smith Omnibus. As of today, each will be available separately, albeit without the Bob Adey introduction and the background material (just the texts, ma’am, just the texts) , which makes them much more affordable.
Model for Murder will not be made available separately. The lead character is Sexton Blake and, although I sneaked it in at the back of DSO, I’m rather more sanguine about offering a much easier target for copyright infringement. I did try to discover who does own the copyright, but that’s a mystery in itself.
This is LRI’s tenth Halter novel, featuring his Edwardian-era detective Owen Burns, who regards murder as an art form if done elegantly enough. It received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-511939-92-8.
I personally think it’s by far the cleverest disappearing street/house/whatever I’ve read, avoiding the overworked sign-was-turned-round trope and its variations.
Paul and I have agreed on the eleventh novel, due out at year-end: it will be La Mort vous invite (Death Invites You), featuring Twist and Hurst. Meanwhile, I’ve submitted another short story to EQMM: The Scarecrow’s Revenge
Speaking of EQMM and honkaku (see earlier post), there will be a story in the December issue by Koga Subarou, who coined the term back in the 1920s. It’s called The Spider.
Japanese honkaku writers rejoice! July 16, 2015 was a red-letter day! One of the most influential mystery reviewers in America, Michael Dirda (a Pulitzer Prize winner and an elegant writer) vowed, in his terrific review of The Decagon House Murders, to discover more honkaku novels, starting with The Tokyo Zodiac Murders: http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/the-decagon-house-murders-evokes-agatha-christie–in-japan/2015/07/15/628391ce-297c-11e5-bd33-395c05608059_story.html
It just so happened a few days earlier that my penpal Dokuta sent me this beautiful English-language page from the Honkaku Mystery Writers Club of Japan: http://honkaku.com/english.html
I am pleased to announce that as of today, the prices of the following five Paul Halter books and e-books will be reduced to $15.99 and $7.99 respectively: The Fourth Door; The Demon of Dartmoor; The Seventh Hypothesis; The Tiger’s Head; The Crimson Fog.
The Killing Needle will now be $12.99 and $5.99
“These changes are in response to [fill in the blanks]”
I’m delighted to announce that Yukito Ayatsuji’s classic is now available on Amazon and Kindle. It’s the book which is credited with re-launching the Golden Age style novel (known locally as honkaku) in Japan after a forty year period dominated by social/police-procedural mysteries.
Although it is an open tribute to Dame Agatha’s And Then There Were None, it is nevertheless brilliantly original and richly atmospheric. Publisher’s Weekly has named it as one of their Best Summer Reads of 2015.
As an added bonus, the maestro of honkaku, Soji Shimada himself, has done me the honor of writing a fascinating Introduction which describes in detail the evolution of Japanese detective fiction and the renaissance of honkaku. Of particular interest is the role played by the Kyoto University Mystery Club, covered in an essay by Ho-Ling Wong, the gifted translator of DHM, himself a member.