Our review this week on the "Classic Mysteries" podcast is of a truly classic "impossible crime" story, Hake Talbot's "Rim of the Pit." The story walks a very fine line between what seems to be a terrifying horror story - and what it really is, a brilliant, fair-play traditional mystery, where the "seemingly impossible" happens and - eventually - will be resolved. You can listen to the full review here.
The 1944 book is set in a remote lodge in northeastern New England, not far from the Canadian border. A small group of people is isolated there in a massive snowstorm - but that isolation merely adds to the overwhelming and eerie sense of claustrophobia and terror. It begins with a séance, designed to summon the spirit of a dead man, which quickly leads to all kinds of real and imagined horrors, including a couple of murders, apparent cases of possession, a flying monster, escapes from locked rooms, footprints that start and end in the middle of unbroken fields of snow - the apparent impossibilities seem to be nearly endless. But it is all done as a classic "locked room/impossible crime" story - and there will be explanations for the events in this first-rate mystery. For fans of John Dickson Carr and the impossible crime genre, Hake Talbot's "Rim of the Pit" is not to be missed.