Slay the Murderer – Hugh Holman (1946)

A man wakes up from a drugged stupor to the sound of incessant pounding at the door.  He finds himself inside a room thoroughly locked from the inside, accompanied by a deceased occupant stabbed through the heart.  No, this isn’t a review of John Dickson Carr’s The Judas Window, but like me, you may find yourself curious to see what another author could do with the same premise.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been intrigued by a Carr copy cat.  The Five Matchboxes by John Russell Fearn duplicates the setup of Carr’s classic The Ten Teacups, although aside from the significance of the matchboxes, I can’t remember much of that one.  It’s a tall order to attempt to play off of one of the best in the business – I mean, is Hugh Holman actually going to provide a solution to the problem that’s better than The Judas Window?

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Death Like Thunder – Hugh Holman (1942)

DeathLikeThunderI became aware of Hugh Holman through a review of Up This Crooked Way over at Beneath the Stains of Time.  Holman produced six detective novels, and from the meager details I can find online, it appears that some of them may feature an impossible crime.  An affordably priced copy of the Hangman’s House edition of Death Like Thunder was too good to pass up, with a stellar cover and the feel of a well worn baseball mitt.

Death Like Thunder opens with New York City radio script writer Mike Leiter arriving in small town South Carolina in search of inspiration for his flagging mystery series.  He finds that inspiration within the first dozen pages, but not in the way that he might have liked.  A man is shot in a darkened room full of witnesses during a blackout, and when the lights come on, Leiter finds himself with the murder weapon in his hand.

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