#301: The Realm of the Impossible [ss] (2017) eds. John Pugmire and Brian Skupin – Week 3

Realm of the Impossible

The world tour that is Locked Room International’s newest impossible crime story collection continues, with me picking out stories by their approximate geographical groupings to explore the themes they raise.  Previously we’ve had:

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#293: On Narrowness in Impossible Crimes, via ‘Locked In’ (1939) by E. Charles Vivian

Miraculous Mysteries

I recently read, with no large amount of pleasure, Evidence in Blue (1938) by E. Charles Vivian.  However, I’m not a man to write someone off after one bad book.  So the presence of a locked room story by Vivian in the Martin Edwards-edited collection of such impossibilities Miraculous Mysteries (2017) from the British Library Crime Classics series was a chance to give him another go.

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#269: The Road Not Taken – Thoughts on Minor Instances in the Thackeray Phin Short Stories of John Sladek

maps

Thanks to the beneficence of Dan at The Reader is Warned, I have been loaned a copy of Maps (2002), an anthology of short fiction and other reflections by John Sladek which were previously not anthologised elsewhere.  Sladek wrote two impossible crime novels — the excellent Black Aura (1974) and the exemplary Invisible Green (1977) — and Maps contains the two short-form tales to feature the same American dandy sleuth, Thackeray Phin.  Both could be discussed at length, but TomCat’s already done that very well indeed and I’m more interested in looking at small moments within them that don’t actually contribute to the plot.  I know, right, what am I like?

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#266: ‘The Problem of the Emperor’s Mushrooms’ (1945) by James Yaffe – Five and a Half Alternative Solutions

I recently acquired one of the only 175 extant editions produced by Crippen and Landru of the short story ‘The Problem of the Emperor’s Mushrooms’ by James Yaffe, itself originally published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine in 1945.  And in the same manner of reflection upon Paul Halter’s ‘The Yellow Book’ (2017) from a few weeks ago, I thought I’d have another look at a short story…though this time to suggest possible alternative explanations for the impossible poisoning contained therein.

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#259: ‘The Yellow Book’ (2017) by Paul Halter [trans. John Pugmire 2017] and Categorising No Footprints Murders…

Of late, I have found myself surrounded by invisible men.  Entirely fictional, of course, but there have been a lot of them: shooting someone in an empty room in You’ll Die Laughing (1945) by Bruce Elliott, disappearing into darkness in I’ll Grind Their Bones (1936) by Theodore Roscoe, vanishing from rooms and beaches in Thursday’s forthcoming Wilders Walk Away by Herbert Brean, performing miracle appearances and disappearances as I reread Rim of the Pit (1944) by Hake Talbot…everywhere I look, people are vanishing.

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#247: The Sister Ursula Stories of Anthony Boucher (1943-45)

exeunt-murderers

Having worked my way through Anthony Boucher’s short stories featuring the alcoholic yet still razor-sharp ex-cop Nick Noble, I’m now onto the second section of his collected short stories, comprising those featuring crime-solving nun Sister Mary Ursula of the Order of Martha of Bethany from Boucher’s locked room novels Nine Times Nine (1940) and Rocket to the Morgue (1942).

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