I’ll try to post the solution to “Death in the Sun” soon, but until then…
Has anyone seen this piece of Jon L. Breen’s in the Weekly Standard? Fascinating stuff.
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The atmosphere of DeMuriel’s The Strings of Murder is very good, but the locked room is one of the most preposterous solutions probably ever conceived and then rejected by just about anyone who ever bothered to try and write a locked room murder. The way people are killed in the book is clever, and definitely has a sinister Carrian element to it, but it’s difficult to encourage anyone to get too excited about it as a book overall, IMO.
Mind you, the article dimisses And Then There Were None’s claim to being an impossible crime novel in the second paragraph, so it’s hardly as if the author knows whereof they write. If everyone on the island has been murdered, and no-one has been able to leave except through dying, how has the murderer themselves been killed? Sounds pretty bloody impossible to me…
Looking forward to the ‘Death in the Sun’ solution!
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Thanks for chiming in and letting me know, JJ!
Too bad to hear about the preposterousness of solution, but I still think I’ll give this book a whirl if I find it: the historical detail is enticing to me in and of itself.
Breen has long been considered an expert on EQ and has himself written GAD-style detective stories. Mike Grost has an article on him here: http://mikegrost.com/kkbeck.htm#Breen
What I think he means is that the story is not presented as an impossible crime. To the police, afterwards, it will appear so, but none of the characters actively investigate an impossibility or muse over “how.”
He could have chosen a better example, but I appreciate just how he differentiates “locked room” and “closed circle.” I’ve heard many of the latter type referred-to as the former.
By the by, in what way is it preposterous? Not to ask for spoilers, but—is it physically improbable? Psychologically? I’ve just been wondering.
Urf, without spoilers…urm, he gives what appears to be a standard locked room — narrow chiney, locked windows, door locked on the inside — and then allows it to be exploded by the creation of…a set of circumstances that feels rather more at home in a Gothic Monster novel, which is very much not the universe this exists in.
Additionally, there are aspects of the situation — unrealted to the locked room — which are never explained. It’s possible we’re supposed to take some stuff implicitly from events elsewhere, but I personally don’t think De Muriel does enough to justify part of the mystery he piles in (and it’s a hugely redundant part as it is…).
On an unrelated note, I also got very tired of McGray’s “Aaah, ye massif English sissy!” insults very quickly indeed.
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