Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Fires of Hell by Paul Halter

The Fires of Hell by Paul Halter in the current issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (May/June) is an intriguing traditional mystery that has been translated from its original French. In the story, an army colonel seeks out a famed criminologist at a London club to tell him about a case he investigated years earlier when he was a police officer. The case involved a series of fires that were being predicted by a local clairvoyant. These appear to be arson except there was no possible way that these could've been set by an arsonist. Halter plays fair with the reader, and there is a rather elegant solution, yet Halter had me fooled. Halter also nicely demonstrates the use of misdirection. Recommended.

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