The Red Death Murders (2022) by Jim Noy

Jim Noy has been reviewing self-published crime fiction for several years on his blog, so in an unusual case of gamekeeper turned poacher, he’s self-published his own novel of murder. Given when he doesn’t like what he’s read he doesn’t pull his punches then either he’s got a lot of nerve or it must be at least better than average.

The story is seen through the eyes of Thomas, the thirteen year old servant of Sir William and Sir Marcus Collingwood. The Red Death, a plague spread through blood to blood contact, has swept the land and whilst the castle was once full of those who had responded to Prince Prospero’s invitation, hoping that he had a plan to combat the sickness, only a handful of men now remain. 

Shortly after the Prince has been attacked by a figure dressed as the Red Death who then vanishes into thin air, Thomas finds Sir Oswin Bassingham dead in the locked privy and despite initial appearances it is clearly not suicide. And soon there are signs that despite all their precautions the Red Death has got into the castle.

Noy has taken the environment of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death” (included with brief notes at the end as a bonus), expanded it into a world that feels real, chucked in a fistful of GAD tropes (including a six part Challenge to the Reader), given it a good shake and come up with something very clever indeed.

The hexagonal shaped castle deserves a set of floor plans but I completely understand why that wasn’t possible and whilst I’m fairly sure I understand the method used for the locked lavatory murder I’d like to see a YouTube video showing it actually happening, which from someone who experimented on “The Ten Teacups” shouldn’t be too much of a stretch, surely?

 But these are minor quibbles and to conclude I am more than happy to say that it stands up to anything else I’ve read so far this year (including Brand, Carr, Christie, and Gardner) and I can’t recommend it highly enough. You won’t be disappointed.



4 thoughts on “The Red Death Murders (2022) by Jim Noy”

  1. I’m delighted that you enjoyed this so much, John, thanks for the kind words.

    I actually did set up the experiment you wish to see in action — hey, if it’s good enough for Richard Austin Freeman… — albeit on a smaller scale, because I had to be sure it would work before I put it in the book. Can you imagine the shade I’d get otherwise?! Didn’t video it, though; never say never.

    Liked by 1 person

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