Day: December 16, 2019

Other John Dickson Carr / Carter Dickson novels

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(Facsimile Dust Jacket, Harper & Brothers (UK), 1930)

As the Spanish saying goes: There’s no two without three, and my two previous blog entries would have been left incomplete without the specific mention of John Dickson Carr’s other novels. So please do bear with me and do not forget some of the following titles that I’ll be reading in the nearby future. Stay tuned.

From Wikipedia: Besides Dr Fell and Sir Henry Merrivale, Carr mysteries feature two other series detectives: Henri Bencolin and Colonel March. [Besides other standalone novels]

A few of his novels do not feature a series detective. The most famous of these, The Burning Court (1937), involves witchcraft, poisoning, and a body that disappears from a sealed crypt in suburban Philadelphia; it was the basis for the French movie La chambre ardente (1962).

Carr wrote in the short story format as well. Julian Symons, in Bloody Murder: From the Detective Story to the Crime Novel: A History (1972), said: “Most of Carr’s stories are compressed versions of his locked-room novels, and at times they benefit from the compression. Probably the best of them are in the Carter Dickson book, The Department of Queer Complaints (1940), although this does not include the brilliantly clever H.M. story The House in Goblin Wood or a successful pastiche which introduces Edgar Allan Poe as a detective.”

During 1950, Carr wrote the novel, The Bride of Newgate, set during 1815 at the close of the Napoleonic Wars, one of the earliest full-length historical mysteries. The Devil in Velvet and Fire, Burn! are the two historical novels (involving also Time travel) with which he said he himself was most pleased. With Adrian Conan Doyle, the youngest son of Arthur Conan Doyle, Carr wrote Sherlock Holmes stories that were published in the 1954 collection The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes. He was also honored by the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by being asked to write the biography for the legendary author. The book, The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was published during 1949 and received generally favorable reviews for its vigor and entertaining style.

Henri Bencolin series: It Walks By Night (1930); Castle Skull (1931); The Lost Gallows (1931); The Waxworks Murder (1932); and The Four False Weapons (1937)

As John Dickson Carr: Poison in Jest (1932); The Burning Court (1937); The Emperor’s Snuff-Box (1942); The Bride of Newgate (1950); The Devil in Velvet (1951); The Nine Wrong Answers (1952); Captain Cut-Throat (1955); Patrick Butler for the Defense (1956); Fire, Burn! (1957); Scandal at High Chimneys (1959); The Witch of the Low Tide (1961); The Demoniacs (1962); Most Secret (1964); Papa La-Bas (1968); The Ghosts’ High Noon (1970); Deadly Hall (1971); and The Hungry Goblin (1972)

As Carter Dickson: The Bowstring Murders (1934); The Third Bullet (1937); Fatal Descent aka Drop to His Death (with John Rhode, 1939); The Department of Queer Complaints (1940); Fear Is the Same (1956)

In bold letters some of the titles I look forward to reading.

About the Author: John Dickson Carr (November 30, 1906-February 27, 1977) was a prolific American-born author of detective stories who also published under the pen names Carter Dickson, Carr Dickson, and Roger Fairbairn. He is generally regarded as one of the greatest writers of so-called “Golden Age” mysteries, complex, plot-driven stories in which the puzzle is paramount. Most of his many novels and short stories feature the elucidation, by an eccentric detective, of apparently impossible, and seemingly supernatural, crimes. He was influenced in this regard by the works of Gaston Leroux and by the Father Brown stories of GK Chesterton. Carr modeled his major detective, the fat and genial lexicographer Dr Gideon Fell, on Chesterton. (Source: gadetection).

Sir Henry Merrivale Books

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(Facsimile Dust Jacket, Grosset & Dunlap (USA), 1934)

After my previous post on Dr Gideon Fell books, it seemed to me natural to follow it up with Sir Henry Merrivale books. What follows is a private note to keep me on track of my progression, that I thought it might be of some interest to readers of A Crime is Afoot. Without further ado, here we go:

From Wikipedia: Sir Henry Merrivale is a fictional detective created by “Carter Dickson”, a pen name of John Dickson Carr (1906–1977). Also known as “the Old Man,” by his initials “H. M.” (a pun on “His Majesty”), or “the Maestro”, he appeared in twenty-two locked room mysteries and “impossible crime” novels of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, as well as in two short stories.

He began as a fairly serious character but became more and more comic, at times even grotesque, as the series went on. When first introduced as a character, he was already an older man nearing retirement, and in the novel And So to Murder, set in late 1939, he referred to himself as being almost 70. (In Seeing is Believing while dictating his memoirs, he gives his date of birth as February 6, 1871) But his age became more ambiguous in subsequent novels.

He is a baronet and a barrister – in The Judas Window he actually appears for the defence in court in a murder case – and holds a medical degree. Besides these qualifications, he has a number of other talents, including stage magic, disguise and a vast knowledge of the history of crime. Based on his comments in some of the mysteries, he is married and has daughters, but his family members are not featured as characters in any of the books or stories.

In Anthony Shaffer’s play Sleuth, mystery writer Andrew Wyke’s most famous character is an aristocratic detective named St. John, Lord Merridew. This character was inspired by Sir Henry Merrivale.

Novels: The Plague Court Murders (1934); The White Priory Murders (1934); The Red Widow Murders (1935); The Unicorn Murders (1935); The Punch and Judy Murders aka The Magic Lantern Murders (1936); The Ten Teacups (1937); The Judas Window (1938); Death in Five Boxes (1938); The Reader is Warned (1939); And So to Murder (1940); Murder in the Submarine Zone (1940); Seeing is Believing (1941); The Gilded Man (1942); She Died a Lady (1943); He Wouldn’t Kill Patience (1944); The Curse of the Bronze Lamp (1945); My Late Wives (1946); The Skeleton in the Clock (1948); A Graveyard to Let (1949); Night at the Mocking Widow (1950); Behind the Crimson Blind (1952); and The Cavalier’s Cup (1953).

Short story collections: Merrivale, March and Murder (1991).

In bold letters the titles I look forward to reading of which I already have managed to get a copy.

Spanish titles: El patio de la plaga (The Plague Court Murders, 1934); Sangre en El Espejo de la Reina (The White Priory Murders, 1934); Los crímenes de la viuda roja (The Red Widow Murders, 1935); Los crímenes del unicornio (The Unicorn Murders, 1935); Los crímenes de polichinela (The Magic Lantern Murders / The Punch and Judy Murders, 1936);
La policía está invitada (The Peacock Feather Murders / The Ten Teacups, 1937); La ventana de Judas (The Judas Window / The Crossbow Murder, 1938);  Muerte en cinco cajas (Death in Five Boxes, 1938); Advertencia al lector (The Reader is Warned, 1939); Y así… al crimen (And So To Murder, 1940); Nueve y la muerte son diez (Nine and Death Makes Ten / Murder in the Submarine Zone, 1940); Seeing is Believing / Cross of Murder, 1941; Hombre de oro (The Gilded Man / Death and the Gilded Man, 1942); Murió como una dama (She Died a Lady, 1943); Empezó entre fieras (He Wouldn’t Kill Patience, 1944); La lámpara de bronce / El señor de las hechicerías (The Curse of the Bronze Lamp / Lord of the Sorcerers, 1945); Mis mujeres muertas (My Late Wives, 1946); The Skeleton in the Clock, 1948; Se alquila un cementerio (A Graveyard to Let, 1949); La noche de la viuda burlona  (Night at the Mocking Window, 1950); Detrás de las persianas rojas (Behind the Crimson Blind, 1952); y The Cavalier’s Cup, 1953.

About the Author: John Dickson Carr (November 30, 1906-February 27, 1977) was a prolific American-born author of detective stories who also published under the pen names Carter Dickson, Carr Dickson, and Roger Fairbairn. He is generally regarded as one of the greatest writers of so-called “Golden Age” mysteries, complex, plot-driven stories in which the puzzle is paramount. Most of his many novels and short stories feature the elucidation, by an eccentric detective, of apparently impossible, and seemingly supernatural, crimes. He was influenced in this regard by the works of Gaston Leroux and by the Father Brown stories of GK Chesterton. Carr modeled his major detective, the fat and genial lexicographer Dr Gideon Fell, on Chesterton. (Source: gadetection).