Sunday, April 10, 2016
The Miracle on Christmas Eve, by Szu-Yen Lin
I am not a big fan of locked room stories. I think I only have only reviewed one here before. But I liked this one a lot.
Szu-Yen Lin is Taiwanese and his hero Ruoping Lin is as well. Unfortunately neither the editor's introduction nor the story itself tell us anything about him except that he will be moderating a panel at a book fair and that he is not surprised when a stranger knocks on the door of his office with a problem.
Oh, I should add that for that panel he is reading a mystery novel by an author "who specializes in mysteries without crimes," and that of course is called foreshadowing.
Getting back to the knock on the door, the knocker is a grown man named Ko who wants Ruoping to tell him whether Santa Claus really exists.
It's not quite as crazy as it sounds. When Ko was young his father, a widower, made sure a present from Santa was waiting for him every Christmas morning. When his schoolmates scorned his belief the father invited them all over on Christmas Eve to be convinced.
And proceeds to reveal a dozen presents inside a locked room, sealed with tape on door and window, after he and the boys slept on the floor outside all night.
The work of Santa or a clever and dedicated parent? I am sure you can guess but the solution is quite satisfactory.