Rim of the Pit
Available October 3
Hardcover, $25.95; Paperback, $15.95
Purchase from Bookshop.org or Barnes & Noble
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The cult classic mystery that John Dickson Carr hailed as “a marvel of ingenuity.”
“I came here to make a dead man change his mind.”
So begins a creepy and unusual mystery celebrated to this day as one of the greatest “impossible crime” novels of all time. When a family’s promise to protect the beloved pine grove of their dead father creates a financial strain, a seance is suggested to summon the ghost of the late logger and ask its permission. A mixed group of skeptics and believers convene at a snow-bound lodge to call the spirit with a group that includes a gambler, a businessman, a clairvoyant, a professor, and a refugee, among others. With so many diverse interests at the table, the tensions run high ― but when one of the participants ends up dead, there is reason to suspect that a nefarious spirit is to blame.
The body is discovered in a locked room, impenetrable from the outside ― just one of many bizarre and inexplicable circumstances surrounding the scene of the crime. There is also the trail of footprints in the snow, beginning and ending amid a field of untouched powder; another on the roof, with the tracks leading for a short distance before vanishing into nothingness; and, there are fingerprints on a gun suspended at an unreachable height…
Supernatural undertones and eerie atmosphere clear away in the third act to present a logical conclusion to the case, teasing out the clues and murder methods that unscrupulous readers may have missed. With its off-beat exposition, puzzling plot and exceptional prose, Rim of the Pit is a cult classic of the Golden Age era deserving of a wide audience today.
Hake Talbot is a pen name of the American writer Henning Nelms (1900-1986). Nelms reserved his real name for writing non-fiction about showmanship (his chief occupation was as a stage magician), but wrote several mysteries and stories under the Talbot moniker. He is best remembered today for his impossible crime novel, Rim of the Pit.
Introduction by Rupert Holmes. Rupert Holmes has received two Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America, and multiple Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his Broadway mystery musicals, including the book of Curtains and his sole creation, the Tony Award–winning Best Musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood. His first novel, Where the Truth Lies, was nominated for a Nero Wolfe award for Best American Mystery Novel, was a Booklist Top Ten Debut Novel, and became a motion picture starring Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon. His second novel, Swing, was the first novel with its own original, clue-bearing musical score. He has adapted Agatha Christie, John Grisham, and R.L. Stine for the Broadway and international stage. His short stories have been anthologized in such collections as Best American Mystery Stories, Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop,and On a Raven’s Wing. Holmes’s earliest story-songs were published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and he is also the writer/vocalist of several Billboard Top 10 hits, including his Billboard #1 multi-platinum classic with a memorable twist-ending: “Escape (The Pina Colada Song).”
The Mysterious Press
American Mystery Classics
The Best Mystery Stories of the Year submission guidelines