The Picture From The Past by Paul Halter

Picture From The PastWhen John Baird catches sight of a picture of a street on the cover of a book, he has a deep emotional reaction that he cannot explain. With his wife already harbouring suspicions about her husband, she is determined to find out what secrets he is keeping from her – even the ones that he doesn’t know himself. As pieces of his life before meeting her come to the surface, why is there such a resonance between his life and a tale of murder from the past?

A clairvoyant sends a prediction to himself about his own death, and is later found murdered locked inside his study. Someone disappears from inside a room where all exits are being observed. And meanwhile an acid bath murderer is preparing to strike again…

A translation of L’Image Trouble, the tenth Paul Halter novel to feature Alan Twist, of which four has already been translated. No idea how the books are chosen to be translated – not all of them so far have been classics but the ones translated have been done in order. Maybe some of the ones omitted don’t translate well, maybe they’re just a little too bizarre, maybe it’s a contract thing… Anyone have any idea?

Anyway, let’s have a look at this one. It’s probably impossible to say any more about the plot that is mentioned above without giving important points away. It’s a very clever structure that works extremely well and allows the author to get away with a clever if rather dodgy explanation of one of the impossibilities. I can imagine that one of the other bits might irk some readers as well, but it worked very well for me.

Probably one of the best, if not the best of the transalations so far. An imaginative tale and a real page-turner (well, if I wasn’t reading it on Kindle – a page-clicker?) – I read it in a single day. Highly recommended.

[And kudos to John Pugmire – the ebook version was badly formatted due to the Amazon ebook creator being flawed and he’s going to fix it. And even with the weird line spacings and missing chapter numbers, it was still a cracking read.]



    • If anyone wants to read Santosh’s review – it’s spoiler free but gives a little more plot info than I would for such a short book – I should clarify that it’s at and not Odd they don’t share their book reviews, but apparently they don’t.


  1. I interviewed John Pugmire some time ago for an assignment, and he told me that LRI publishes the books for which Paul Halter has the copyright. Hope that helps!


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