Category: John Dickson Carr

John Dickson Carr (1906-1977)

JohnDicksonCarrJohn Dickson Carr was born on November 30, 1906, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, the son of Julia Carr and Wooda Nicolas Carr. His father, a lawyer and politician, served in Congress from 1913 to 1915. After four years at the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, John Carr attended Haverford College and became editor of the student literary magazine, The Haverfordian. In 1928, he went to France to study at the Sorbonne, but he preferred writing and completed his first books, a historical novel that he destroyed, and Grand Guignol, a Bencolin novella that was soon published in The Haverfordian. Expanded, it became It Walks by Night, published by Harper and Brothers in 1930.

In 1932, Carr married an Englishwoman, Clarice Cleaves, moved to Great Britain, and for about a decade wrote an average of four novels a year. To handle his prolific output, he began to write books under the nonsecret pseudonym of Carter Dickson. In 1939, Carr found another outlet for his work—the radio. He wrote scripts for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and after the United States government ordered him home in 1941 to register for military service, he wrote radio dramas for the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) program Suspense. Ironically, the government then sent him back to Great Britain, and for the rest of the war he was on the staff of the BBC, writing propaganda pieces and mystery dramas. After the war, Carr worked with Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate to produce the first authorized biography of Sherlock Holmes’s creator.

A lifelong conservative, Carr disliked the postwar Labour government, and in 1948 he moved to Mamaroneck, New York. In 1951, the Tories won the election, and Carr returned to Great Britain. Except for some time spent in Tangiers working with Adrian Doyle on a series of pastiches of Sherlock Holmes, Carr alternated between Great Britain and Mamaroneck for the next thirteen years before moving to Greenville, South Carolina. Suffering from increasing illness, Carr ceased writing novels after 1972, but he contributed a review column to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and was recognized as a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1963. He died on February 27, 1977, in Greenville. (Source: “John Dickson Carr – Biography” Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition Ed. Carl Rollyson. eNotes.com, Inc. 2008 eNotes.com 10 Mar, 2020 http://www.enotes.com/topics/john-dickson-carr#biography-biography)

John Dickson Carr also published using the pseudonyms Carter Dickson, Carr Dickson and Roger Fairbairn. Carr’s two major detective characters, Dr. Fell and Sir Henry Merrivale, are superficially quite similar. Both are large, upper-class, eccentric Englishmen somewhere between middle-aged and elderly. Dr. Fell, who is fat and walks only with the aid of two canes, was clearly modeled on the British writer G. K. Chesterton. Henry Merrivale or “H.M.”, on the other hand, although stout and with a majestic “corporation”, is active physically and is feared for his ill-temper and noisy rages. Besides Dr. Fell and Sir Henry Merrivale, Carr mysteries feature two other series detectives: Henri Bencolin and Colonel March. (Source: Wikipedia)

Bibliography:

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

Henri Bencolin Short Stories: “The Shadow of the Goat”; “The Fourth Suspect”; “The End of Justice”; and “Murder in Number Four”.

Dr Gideon Fell Novels: Hag’s Nook (1933); The Mad Hatter Mystery (1933); The Eight of Swords (1934); The Blind Barber (1934); Death-Watch (1935); The Hollow Man aka The Three Coffins (1935); The Arabian Nights Murder (1936); To Wake the Dead (1938); The Crooked Hinge (1938); The Black Spectacles aka The Problem of the Green Capsule (1939); The Problem of the Wire Cage (1939); The Man Who Could Not Shudder (1940); The Case of the Constant Suicides (1941); Death Turns the Tables (1941); Till Death Do Us Part (1944); He Who Whispers (1946); The Sleeping Sphinx (1947); Below Suspicion (1949); The Dead Man’s Knock (1958); In Spite of Thunder (1960); The House at Satan’s Elbow (1965); Panic in Box C (1966); and Dark of the Moon (1968).

Dr Gideon Fell Short Stories: Dr. Fell, Detective, and Other Stories (1947); The Men Who Explained Miracles (1963); and Fell and Foul Play (1991).

Other novels 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’ of High Noon (1970); Deadly Hall (1971); and The Hungry Goblin (1972).

Other novels 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)

Sir Herry 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).

Sir Herry Merrivale Short Stories: Merrivale, March and Murder (1991).

Other works as John Dickson Carr: The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1949); The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes (1954).

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(Facsimile Dust Jacket, Morrow Mystery (USA), 1934)

The Plague Court Murders is a mystery novel by the American writer John Dickson Carr, who wrote it under the name of Carter Dickson. The first Sir Henry Merrivale mystery, it is a locked room mystery of the subtype known as an “impossible crime”.

Carr’s career as a published novelist began impressively with It Walk by Night (1930), which introduced the saturnine French investigator, Henri Bencolin. Many of his books about Sir Henry Merrivale – another detective with a flair for solving impossible crimes – equal the Fells novels in terms of quality; a notable example is The Judas Window (1938). The Merrivale books were generally published as by Carter Dickson; he also wrote as Roger Fairbairn. After the Second World War, he turned increasingly to historical mysteries, and his final book, The Hungry Goblin (1972) – sadly not in the same league as his early masterpieces – features Wilkie Collins as a detective. (Martin Edwards, The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books)

Carr’s great virtues as a writer were fourfold. He is a master creator of plots. He is able to create supernatural atmosphere with uncanny skill. His comic passages are very funny. And he is a good storyteller. (John Dickson Carr – by Michael E. Grost).

John Dickson Carr at gadetection

Further reading: Douglas G. Greene’s John Dickson Carr: The Man Who Explained Miracles (1995) is an excellent biography and critical study of Carr’s writings. It covers all of Carr’s novels and short stories, as well as many of Carr’s radio plays. Greene is especially illuminating about the development of Carr’s story ideas from one work to the next, tracing connections between Carr’s radio plays, and novels, for instance. He also has much to say about Carr’s characters, and their human, social, and emotional attitudes.

My Book Notes: Hag’s Nook, 1933 (Dr Gideon Fell #1) by John Dickson Carr

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Polygon (An Imprint of Birlinn Limited), 2019. Book Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 549 KB. Print Length: 192 pages. ASIN: B07S213BDD eISBN: 978-1-78885-206-7. First published in 1933 by Hamish Hamilton in the UK and by Harper in the US. Hag’s Nook, is the first of the 23 John Dickson Carr books featuring Dr Gideon Fell.

9781846974946-600x923Plot Summary: “Martin Starberth stands to inherit his family’s estate provided he can fulfill a certain condition. Part of the estate is an old prison where the Starberths had been wardens for generations. From a balcony off the Governor’s Room, Starberth wardens watched countless men be hanged from the Hag’s Nook gallows, their lifeless bodies dropping to a deep well below. A cholera epidemic wiped out the prison population decades earlier but a curse seems to have settled upon the Starberth family with several heirs meeting their death via a broken neck. To inherit the estate, each prospective heir must spend the night of his 25th birthday locked in that warden’s room, hopefully escaping the curse. But when Martin’s body is found battered, his neck broken, beneath the balcony, it seems that the curse has once again claimed a victim. Dr. Gideon Fell, a splendid figure in his slouch cap and cape, supported by two canes, suspects murder instead, even though he and several others had the room under observation at the time of the death.”–P. [4] of cover. (Source: Rue Morgue Press)

My take: Tad Rampole, a young American just out of college, is touring Europe under close parental supervision. At Professor Melson’s suggestion, he is on his way to visit Dr Gideon Fell at his house in Yew Cottage, Chatterham, Lincolnshire, some hundred and twenty-odd miles from London. On the railway platform, the young American has a chance encounter with Dorothy Starberth. He becomes fascinated by her and hopes to see her again soon in Chatterham, where she is also heading.

In the train, Dr Fell is waiting him at the restaurant-car. Bob Melson wrote him about Rampole and Dr Fell recognises the young American as soon as he sees him coming in. Dr Fell introduces him to Mr Payne, Chatterham’s legal adviser, the first one to mention young Martin Starberth, Dorothy’s brother, in relation to ‘his little hour in the Hag’s Nook’ and ‘prison superstition’, in believing erroneously that Rampole is a friend of the Starberths. Intrigued by these words, once Mr Payne is gone, the young American dares to ask Dr Fell whether he would mind telling him what he meant by ‘an hour at the Hag’s Nook and all the rest.’

It turns out that, for about two hundred years, the Starberths have owned the land on which Chatterham prison was built, and they still own it. Two generations of the Starberths were governors there. Nowadays Chatterham is no longer a prison and is pretty much in ruins. It fell into disuse following a cholera epidemic in 1837. In those times, prisons were hellish places, and Chatterham was built around the Hag’s Nook, were it was customary to hang those accused of witchcraft and other ordinary crimes. An old family ritual has set that first-born males of the Starberth family must spend one hour in the evening of his twenty-fifth birthday completely alone in the Governor’s Room at Chatterham prison and open the safe, whose content only they will get to know. Moreover, according to an old family curse, the heads of the Starberth household die breaking their neck. Needless to say the young American becomes fascinated by this old legend.

Against this background, it doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone, that Martin Starberth, the night of his vigil, would fell himself out of  the window of the Governor’s Room, and died breaking his neck. Even when Dr Fell and some other people were monitoring the window at that time. Window that could be seen from Yew Cottage. The local constabulary, unable to find a rational explanation, leaves the investigation of the case in the hands of Dr Fell, who seems to be the only one to believe that Martin Starberth has been murdered. Will Dr Fell be able to find a rational explanation and identify the culprit?

Hag’s Nook marks the debut of Dr Gideon Fell in one of the most well-known detective series by John Dickson Carr, that will be followed by twenty three more mystery books. Published when the author was twenty-six years old, it comes as no surprise his style is closer to his first novels featuring Henri Bencolin than to his subsequent books in the series. In any case the novel turns out to be stunning regarding the creation of the atmosphere wherein the story unfolds and the pace at which the action progress. Besides, as it has been well noted by my fellow blogger Xavier Lechard, the description of the English countryside in the opening chapter is superb. 

There is something spectral about the deep and drowsy beauty of the English countryside; in the lush dark grass, the evergreens, the grey church spire, and the meandering white road. To an American, who remembers his own brisk concrete highways clogged with red filling-stations and the fumes of traffic, it is particularly pleasant. It suggests a place where people really can walk without seeming incongruous, even in the middle of the road. Tad Rampole watched the sun through the latticed windows, and the dull red berries glistening in the yew tree, with a feeling which can haunt the traveller only in the British Isles.

Unquestionably, this is a gothic mystery, with many elements in common with horror stories and a very powerful prose that has impressed me favourably, coming from such a young writer. Old myths and legends fit well within the story, and even when the solution is quite unexpected, it is perfectly credible, despite the fantastic elements described in the story. Though this has not been my first encounter with this series (my note on The Case of the Constant Suicides is here), I expect not to wait any longer without reading more John Dickson Carr / Carter Dickson books, now that I’ve finally gain access to them. All in all a highly interesting mystery I’ve very much enjoyed, that I strongly recommend.

My rating: A (I loved it)

Hag’s Nook has been reviewed, among others, at Bedford Bookshelf, shotsmag, In so many words, In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’ The Reader is Warned, Only Detect, The Grandest Game in the World, gadetection, Classic Mysteries, The Green Capsule, and Tipping My Fedora.

About the Author: John Dickson Carr (November 30, 1906 – February 27, 1977) was an American author of detective stories, who also published under the pen names Carter Dickson, Carr Dickson and Roger Fairbairn. Carr 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. He was influenced in this regard by the works of Gaston Leroux and by the Father Brown stories of G. K. Chesterton. He was a master of the locked room mystery, in which a detective solves apparently impossible crimes. The Dr Fell mystery The Hollow Man (1935), usually considered Carr’s masterpiece, was selected in 1981 as the best locked-room mystery of all time by a panel of 17 mystery authors and reviewers. He was also a pioneer of the historical mystery. A resident of England for a number of years, Carr is often grouped among “British-style” mystery writers. Most (but not all) of his novels had English settings, especially country villages and estates, and English characters. His two best-known fictional detectives were English. The son of Wooda Nicholas Carr, a U.S. congressman from Pennsylvania, Carr graduated from The Hill School in Pottstown in 1925 and Haverford College in 1929. In the early 1930s, he moved to England, where he married an Englishwoman. He began his mystery-writing career there, returning to the United States as an internationally known author in 1948. In 1950, his biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle brought Carr the first of his two Special Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America; the second came in 1970, in recognition of his 40-year career as a mystery writer. He was also presented the MWA’s Grand Master award in 1963. Carr was one of only two Americans ever admitted to the British Detection Club. In early spring 1963, while living in Mamaroneck, New York, Carr suffered a stroke, which paralyzed his left side. He continued to write using one hand, and for several years contributed a regular column of mystery and detective book reviews, “The Jury Box”, to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. Carr eventually moved to Greenville, South Carolina, and he died there of lung cancer in 1977. (Source: Wikipedia)

Dr Gideon Fell series (Novels): Hag’s Nook (1933); The Mad Hatter Mystery (1933); The Eight of Swords (1934); The Blind Barber (1934); Death-Watch (1935); The Hollow Man aka The Three Coffins (1935); The Arabian Nights Murder (1936); To Wake the Dead (1938); The Crooked Hinge (1938); The Black Spectacles aka The Problem of the Green Capsule (1939); The Problem of the Wire Cage (1939); The Man Who Could Not Shudder (1940); The Case of the Constant Suicides (1941); Death Turns the Tables (1941); Till Death Do Us Part (1944); He Who Whispers (1946); The Sleeping Sphinx (1947); Below Suspicion (1949); The Dead Man’s Knock (1958); In Spite of Thunder (1960); The House at Satan’s Elbow (1965); Panic in Box C (1966); and Dark of the Moon (1968). (Short Stories): Dr. Fell, Detective, and Other Stories (1947); The Men Who Explained Miracles (1963); and Fell and Foul Play (1991).

Birlinn publicity page 

John Dickson Carr – by Michael E. Grost

John Dickson Carr at gadetection 

John Dickson Carr Begins At the Villa Rose

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(Facsimile Dust Jacket Harper & Brothers (USA) (1933) first printing)

El rincón de la bruja (Original title: Hag’s Nook), de John Dickson Carr

Resumen del argumento: “Martin Starberth tiene derecho a heredar el patrimonio de su familia siempre que cumpla con una determinada condición. Parte de la herencia es una antigua prisión donde los Starberth han sido guardianes durante generaciones. Desde un balcón de la habitación del gobernador, los guardias de Starberth observaban como innumerables hombres eran colgados del patíbulo del rincón de la bruja (Hag’s Nook), y cómo sus cuerpos sin vida caían a un pozo profundo. Una epidemia de cólera aniquiló a la población de la prisión décadas atrás, pero una maldición parece haberse asentado en la familia Starberth y varios de sus herederos encontraron la muerte fracturándose el cuello. Para heredar la finca cada futuro heredero debe pasar la noche de su 25 cumpleaños encerrado en la habitación del gobernador, a la espera de escaparse de la maldición. Pero cuando aparece el cuerpo de Martin maltrecho, con su cuello roto, debajo del balcón, parece que una vez mas la maldición se ha cobrado una víctima. El Dr. Gideon Fell, una figura indescriptible con su gorra inclinada y su capa, sosteniéndose con dos bastones, sospecha que se trata de un asesinato, a pesar de que tanto él  como algunos otros tenían la habitación bajo observación en el momento de la muerte.”- P. [4] de la tapa. (Fuente: Rue Morgue Press)

Mi opinión: Tad Rampole, un joven estadounidense recién salido de la universidad, está recorriendo Europa bajo la estrecha supervisión de sus padres. A sugerencia del profesor Melson, se dirige a visitar al Dr. Gideon Fell en su casa en Yew Cottage, Chatterham, Lincolnshire, a unas ciento veinte millas de Londres. En la plataforma del ferrocarril, el joven estadounidense tiene un encuentro casual con Dorothy Starberth. Él queda fascinado por ella y espera volver a verla pronto en Chatterham, a donde ella también se dirige.

En el tren, el Dr. Fell lo está esperando en el vagón restaurante. Bob Melson le escribió sobre Rampole y el Dr. Fell reconoce al joven estadounidense tan pronto como lo ve entrar. El Dr. Fell le presenta al Sr. Payne, el asesor legal de Chatterham, el primero en mencionar al joven Martin Starberth, el hermano de Dorothy, en relación con ‘ su pequeña hora en el rincón de la bruja y la “superstición de la prisión”, al creer erróneamente que Rampole es amigo de los Starberth. Intrigado por estas palabras, una vez que el Sr. Payne se ha ido, el joven estadounidense se atreve a preguntarle al Dr. Fell si le importaría decirle lo que quiso decir con “una hora en el rincón de la bruja y todo lo demás”.

Resulta que, durante unos doscientos años, los Starberth han sido dueños de la tierra en la que se construyó la prisión de Chatterham, y aún la poseen. Dos generaciones de los Starberths fueron gobernadores allí. Hoy en día Chatterham ya no es una prisión y está prácticamente en ruinas. Cayó en desuso después de una epidemia de cólera en 1837. En aquellos tiempos, las cárceles eran lugares infernales, y Chatterham se construyó alrededor del rincón de la bruja, donde era costumbre colgar a los acusados ​​de brujería y otros delitos comunes. Un antiguo ritual familiar ha establecido que los varones primogénitos de la familia Starberth deben pasar una hora en la noche de su vigésimo quinto cumpleaños completamente solos en la Sala del Gobernador en la prisión de Chatterham y abrir la caja fuerte, cuyo contenido solo ellos conocerán. Además, según una vieja maldición familiar, los jefes de la familia Starberth mueren rompiéndose el cuello. No hace falta decir que el joven estadounidense queda fascinado por esta vieja leyenda.

En este contexto, a nadie le sorprende que Martin Starberth, la noche de su vigilia, se cayera por la ventana de la habitación del gobernador y muriera rompiéndose el cuello. Incluso cuando el Dr. Fell y otras personas vigilaban la ventana en ese momento. Ventana que se podía ver desde Yew Cottage. La policía local, incapaz de encontrar una explicación racional, deja la investigación del caso en manos del Dr. Fell, quien parece ser el único que cree que Martin Starberth ha sido asesinado. ¿Podrá el Dr. Fell encontrar una explicación racional e identificar al culpable?

Hag’s Nook marca el debut del Dr. Gideon Fell en una de las series de detectives más conocidas de John Dickson Carr, a la que seguirán otros veintitrés libros de misterio. Publicado cuando el autor tenía veintiséis años, no sorprende que su estilo esté más cerca de sus primeras novelas con Henri Bencolin que de sus libros posteriores en la serie. En cualquier caso, la novela resulta sorprendente con respecto a la creación de la atmósfera en la que se desarrolla la historia y el ritmo al que avanza la acción. Además, como ha sido bien señalado por mi compañero blogero Xavier Lechard, la descripción de la campiña inglesa en el capítulo inicial es excelente.

Hay algo fantasmal en la belleza profunda y tranquila de la campiña inglesa; en la frondosa hierba oscura, los árboles de hoja perenne, la torre gris de la iglesia y el serpenteante camino blanco. Para un estadounidense, que recuerda sus propias carreteras rápidas de hormigón abarrotadas de estaciones de servicio rojas y con los gases del tráfico, es particularmente agradable. Sugiere un lugar donde la gente realmente puede pasear sin parecer incongruente, incluso en el medio del camino. Tad Rampole observó el sol a través de las ventanas enrejadas y el rojo apagado de las bayas que brillaban en el tejo, con una emoción que puede obsesionar al viajero solo en las Islas Británicas.

Sin lugar a dudas, este es un misterio gótico, con muchos elementos en común con las historias de terror y una prosa muy poderosa que me ha impresionado favorablemente, viniendo de un escritor tan joven. Los viejos mitos y leyendas encajan bien en la historia, e incluso cuando la solución es bastante inesperada, es perfectamente creíble, a pesar de los elementos fantásticos descritos en la historia. Aunque este no ha sido mi primer encuentro con esta serie (mi nota sobre El caso de los suicidios constantes está aquí), espero no dejar pasar el tiempo sin leer más libros de John Dickson Carr / Carter Dickson, ahora que finalmente tengo acceso a ellos En resumen, es un misterio muy interesante que disfruté muchísimo y que recomiendo encarecidamente.

Mi valoración: A (Me encantó)

Sobre el autor: John Dickson Carr (30 de noviembre de 1906 – 27 de febrero de 1977) fue un escritor estadounidense de historias de detectives. A lo largo de su carrera utilizó los seudónimos Carter Dickson, Carr Dickson y Roger Fairbairn, además de su propio nombre. Carr está generalmente considerado como uno de los mejores escritores de la llamada “época dorada” de la novela de misterio, historias de enigmas, complejas y impulsadas por la trama en las que el rompecabezas es primordial. Fue influenciado a este respecto por las obras de Gaston Leroux y por las historias del Padre Brown de G. K. Chesterton. Era un maestro del misterio de habitación cerrada, en el que el crimen se ha cometido en un recinto cerrado o de acceso imposible. El misterio del Dr. Fell El hombre hueco (1935), cuyo título original es The Hollow Man, generalmente considerado la obra maestra de Carr, fue seleccionado en 1981 como el mejor misterio de cuarto cerrado de todos los tiempos por un panel de 17 autores y críticos de misterio. También fue un pionero del misterio histórico. Residente en Inglaterra durante varios años, Carr a menudo se incluye entre los escritores de misterio “al estilo británico”. La mayoría (pero no todas) de sus novelas se desarrollan en escenarios ingleses, especialmente aldeas en el campo, fincas, y personajes ingleses. Sus dos detectives de ficción más conocidos eran ingleses. Hijo de Wooda Nicholas Carr, un congresista estadounidense de Pensilvania, Carr se graduó de The Hill School en Pottstown en 1925 y en Haverford College en 1929. A principios de la década de 1930, se trasladó a Inglaterra, donde se casó con una inglesa. Comenzó su carrera de escritor de misterio allí, regresando a los Estados Unidos como un autor internacionalmente conocido en 1948. En 1950, su biografía de Sir Arthur Conan Doyle le llevó a ganar el primero de sus dos Special Edgar Awards de los Mystery Writers of America; el segundo le llegó en 1970, en reconocimiento a sus 40 años de carrera como escritor de misterio. También recibió el premio Gran Maestro del MWA en 1963. Carr fue uno de los dos únicos estadounidenses admitidos en el British Detection Club. A principios de la primavera de 1963, mientras vivía en Mamaroneck, Nueva York, Carr sufrió un derrame cerebral que le paralizó el lado izquierdo. Continuó escribiendo con una mano, y durante varios años contribuyó con una columna regular de reseñas de libros de misterio y de detectives, “The Jury Box”, en el Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. Carr finalmente se trasladó a Greenville, Carolina del Sur, y murió allí de cáncer de pulmón en 1977. (Fuente: Wikipedia)

Novelas de la serie del Dr. Gideon Fell: Nido de brujas / El rincón de la bruja (Hag’s Nook, 1932); El sombrerero loco (The Mad Hatter Mystery, 1933); El ocho de espadas (The Eight of Swords, 1934); El barbero ciego (The Blind Barber, 1934); El reloj de la muerte (Death-Watch, 1935); El hombre hueco (The Three Coffins / The Hollow Man, 1935); El crimen de las mil y una noches (The Arabian Nights Murder, 1936); Noche de brujas (The Crooked Hinge, 1938); El brazalete romano / Despertar al muerto (To Wake the Dead, 1938); Las gafas negras / Los anteojos negros / Los espejuelos oscuros (The Black Spectacles / The Problem of the Green Capsule, 1939); La jaula mortal (The Problem of the Wire Cage, 1939); The Man Who Could Not Shudder, 1940; El caso de los suicidios constantes / Los suicidios constantes (The Case of the Constant Suicides, 1941); La sede de la soberbia (Death Turns the Tables / The Seat of the Scornful, 1941); Hasta que la muerte nos separe (‘Til Death Do Us Part, 1944);  El que susurra (He Who Whispers, 1946); La esfinge durmiente (The Sleeping Sphinx, 1947); Oscura sospecha (Below Suspicion, 1949); La llamada del muerto (The Dead Man’s Knock, 1958); Pese al trueno (In Spite of Thunder, 1960); La casa de El Codo de Satán / El codo de Satanás (The House at Satan’s Elbow, 1965); La muerte acude al teatro (Panic in Box C, 1966); y Oscuridad en la luna (Dark of the Moon, 1967).

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

1091

(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).