"The Man who explained Miracles"
A fellow Sagittarius Carr was born on November 30, 1906. Carr is without a shadow of a doubt my favorite author. He is the master of the Locked room and impossible crime. He is generally regarded with Agatha Christie as the greatest of the "Golden Age" writers. These days he has acquired a cult following and no mystery enthusiast's collection is complete without some of Carr's works.
Carr was the Grandmaster of the what he called the Grandest Game of all "The Locked room". Carr pitted the reader against the detective in solving an impossible crime before the detective deduces the puzzle. This led to some truly innovative and memorable works involving Impossible and Supernatural crimes along with unbelievable locked room murders. Some of the stuff is so unbelievable that you think that only a supernatural force can be responsible for these incidents but Carr often comes up with a logical and plausible solution that leaves the reader stumped.
Carr was greatly influenced by "The Mystery of the Yellow Room" by Gaston Leroux and you can see this affect in some of Carr's works like "The Curse of the Bronze Lamp" which borrows heavily from "The Mystery of the Yellow Room", but with Carr it was a case of the student surpassing the master. Carr created such intricate and puzzling plots which Gaston Leroux could not even dream of.
Carr has been honored in various ways throughout his life time but his greatest honor I think was when the Legendary "Hollow Man" got chosen as the greatest locked room mystery of all time.
Carr wrote some of his novels under the synonym Carter Dickson. Some people think of John Dickson Carr and Carter Dickson as two different authors, nothing can be farther from the truth. Carr had two main detectives:
1. Dr Gideon Fell - made his debut in 1933 with Hag's Nook. What followed was an illustrious career which comprised of 23 novels and few short stories written between 1933 and 1967. Dr Fell was based on G.K. Chesterton, the author of the Father Brown stories. The portly teacher who turned lexicographer and then turned sleuth is often called in by the police as an expert on impossible crimes. Below is a list of Fell novels which I have reviewed:
- The Problem of the Green Capsule
- The Hollow Man
- Till Death do us Apart
- The Case of the Constant Suicides
- He Who Whispers
- Hag's Nook
- The Arabian Nights Murder by John Dickson Carr(1936)
This is G.K. Chesterton
2. Sir Henry Merrivale - is quite a contrast to Dr Fell not in his appearance but in his manner. Sir Henry or the old man or just HM is quite conspicuous as compared to Dr Fell. HM can be obnoxious at times, he can make you laugh so hard that you forget you are reading a murder mystery novel. Chief Inspector Masters is HM's Watson and the chemistry between Masters and HM sometimes becomes as good as the mystery itself. Their pairing is for me by far the best in detective fiction. The old man works for the Intelligence department and is also a skilled Barrister. He has been featured in 22 novels and 2 short stories. HM made his debut in the "Plague Court Murders" in 1934. Below is a list of HM novels which I have reviewed:
- The Judas Window
- The Curse of the Bronze Lamp
- She Died a Lady
- And So to Murder
- The Red Widow Murders
- Peacock Feather Murders
- Reader is Warned
- The Plague Court Murders
- The White Priory Murders
- Nine and Death makes Ten (1940)
- Death in Five Boxes
- He Wouldn't kill patience
- Skeleton in the clock
- My Late Wives