Sunday, June 9, 2013

Rim of the Pit by Hake Talbot

What happens when summoning a spirit goes wrong? Grimaud Desanat got lost in the snow a year ago and now his family, friends and business associates are gathered in a remote cabin in the wilds of Northern New England. They want to summon his spirit to ask for his approval for a business proposition. sounds strange? we are only getting started. Grimaud's Widow who has now remarried is the conjurer. She does a trance in complete darkness, during a snow storm, and Grimaud's ghost pays the group a scary visit. The ghost talks, makes gestures and seemed to be floating in thin air.

Later, Mrs Grimaud or now Mrs Ogden, is found murdered in her room. people in her group saw from outside of the cabin silhouette of an axe wielding murdering her. When they get inside the room the murderer has escaped. There are footprints on the roof but no footprints on the ground below, there are no foot prints for a very long distance and then the same footprints appear in the snow and under such fantastic circumstances the only conclusion  the group could come to is that the spirit of Grimaud took possession of someone from the group and committed murder and turned him/her into a Windigo.

Review: Rim of the Pit was voted as the second best locked room mystery of all time after The Hollow man by John Dickson Carr. Hake talbot was greatly influenced by Carr and wanted to create something which would match his works, he succeeded. Rim of the Pit is an entertaining mystery novel with one impossible situation after another, the atmosphere in the book reminds one of "And then there were none", in both the books people are trapped in snow and there is impending danger looming over their heads.

The pacing of the book is good and is similar to others in its genre, there is a distinct lack of humor in the book, in books of this genre it is usually provided by the detective like Poirot, Holmes, Merrivale. The detective here is a Rogan Kincaid, who is a gambler and has a mysterious past, Rogan has good detective skills but nothing extraordinary, there was another character in the book Mr Vok who is a ex-magician and would have made a better and more entertaining and eccentric detective than Rogan, problem with Rogan is that he has no personality.

The Success of  an impossible crime novel is partially judged by its solution, this one provides a complex, and a very unsatisfactory solution. The greatest of Carr books like the Judas Window, or Reader is Warned had simple and elegant solutions. Rim of the Pit piles on one mystery after another and builds a great atmosphere and then delivers a clunky solution. The Author has the murderer pole vaulting in the end to explain the no footprints on the snow theory. also the explanation is a bit abrupt, its not the same as when Carr or even Paul Halter does it.

A good novel but with a disappointing solution.

Where can I get it? its in print and you can buy it from infibeam or homeshop18

1 comment:

  1. Agree completely with your review. The build-up and atmosphere was fantastic, for the first time I had chills while reading the book. But the ending was so, so disappointing.


Featured Post

The Menagerie And Other Byomkesh Bakshi Mysteries by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay

A few weeks ago I did the review of  Picture Imperfect and other Byomkesh Bakshi Mysteries by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay  as part of the Glob...