cover image The Man Who Loved Clouds

The Man Who Loved Clouds

Paul Halter, trans. from the French by John Pugmire. Locked Room International, $19.99 trade paper (180p) ISBN 978-1-721081-21-9

Set in England in 1936, Halter’s brilliant ninth Alan Twist mystery to be translated into English (after 2017’s The Madman’s Room) presents the criminologist with one of his most perplexing cases. Journalist Mark Reeder, in pursuit of his love of cloud-watching, travels to the small Somerset village of Pickering, where he encounters bewitching 22-year-old Stella Deverell. Smitten, Reeder seeks out the locals to learn more about her, only to be told that she has the ability to vanish from sight, to turns rocks into gold, and to prophesy events. After Stella correctly predicts the death of one of Pickering’s residents, Reeder reports this amazing feat to Twist, who brings in his Scotland Yard friend, Insp. Archibald Hurst, to investigate. Halter heaps one confounding occurrence on top of another before resolving them all fairly. He also imbues his whodunit with a palpably creepy atmosphere, vividly describing an isolated cliff-top house once belonging to the Deverell family, rumored to be cursed and regularly beset by howling winds. Impossible crime fans are in for a treat. (Oct.)