cover image The Invisible Circle

The Invisible Circle

Paul Halter, trans. from the French by John Pugmire. Locked Room International (, $19.99 trade paper (152p) ISBN 978-1-497336-83-4

Set in 1936, this fiendishly clever standalone from French author Halter (The Crimson Fog) offers a neat variation on Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians. Londoner Madge Pearson, accompanied by boyfriend Bill Page, travels to Cornwall to attend “a very important get-together” hosted by her creepy uncle, Gerry Pearson, at his remote castle. On arrival, their host reveals to the couple and an odd assortment of guests, none of whom Madge knows, that they are there to witness a death. Uncle Gerry assigns everyone identities from the King Arthur legend, and displays what he claims to be Excalibur and the Holy Grail. That’s just a prelude to a locked-room murder, which begins a terrifying ordeal for the survivors. Halter piles impossibility upon impossibility before unveiling logical explanations for everything. Some readers will go back to the beginning to appreciate how fair the author was in planting clues. [em](July) [/em]