cover image Through the Walls

Through the Walls

Noël Vindry, trans. from the French by John Pugmire. Locked Room International, $19.99 trade paper (174p) ASIN B09M83SG8L

First published in 1937, this brilliant howdunit and whodunit from Vindry (1896–1954) features examining magistrate Monsieur Allou, an exemplar of the armchair deductive reasoner, who’s consulted by a friend and colleague, Commissaire Maubritane. Maubritane, who’s at his wits’ end following recent multiple murders and attempted murders in Arles, France, describes his baffling experiences attempting to help an acquaintance, retired customs official Pierre Sertat. Flashback to four days earlier, when Sertat is worried about noises in his home and possessions that are shifted in ways that indicate someone has been entering his locked residence apparently by walking through solid walls. Maubritane agrees to come to the house, despite suspecting Sertat of withholding some vital information. One of the members of the ménage is almost fatally shot by a disappearing gunman, and another is later stabbed to death in a locked room. Even more impossible crimes follow before Allou puts together the puzzle pieces in a completely logical and satisfying way. John Dickson Carr devotees will be in heaven. (Mar.)