cover image Death out of Nowhere

Death out of Nowhere

Alexis Gensoul & Charles Garnier, trans. from the French by John Pugmire. Locked Room International, $19.99 trade paper (116p) ISBN 978-1-677840-22-9

Originally published in 1945 and appearing in English for the first time, this locked-room classic from Gensoul and Garnier offers multiple impossible crimes. Four friends—journalist Lucien Darlay, mystery novelist Jules Dublard, clerk Yves de Bellec, and school supervisor Louis Beaurieux—have gathered for their annual vacation at Breule Manor in Paris, the home of their friend Baron Pierre de Malèves. Beaurieux challenges Dublard to solve a real-life mystery, asking for just five minutes in which to commit a perfect crime. Dublard accepts, and Beaurieux, in the presence of the three others, sorts through a deck of cards, throws the king of spades to the floor, and proclaims: “And the Emperor of China be damned!” The challenger then states that a single revolver shot will be fired in a locked and sealed room of the manor, a prophecy that’s borne out when the baron’s great-uncle is found shot to death in such a location. More baffling murders follow. As in the best such novels, the solution is both plausible and surprising. This fair-play gem reinforces the publisher’s raison d’être. (Apr.)