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John Dickson Carr (1906–1977)

Author of The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes

191+ Works 16,290 Members 346 Reviews 37 Favorited

About the Author

John Dickson Carr, the master of locked room mysteries, was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in 1906. He was educated at Haverford College and the Sorbonne in Paris. Carr is a prolific writer with more than 80 novels and collections of short stories to his credit. He began his writing career at the show more age of 26 with his first published novel, It Walks At Night. Some of his most popular works are The Three Coffins (1935), The Burning Coat (1937), and The Bride of Newgate (1951). Carr also collaborated with Adrian Doyle, the son of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes (1954). Carr met his wife in 1932 and settled in England in 1933. He was drafted by the United States military in World War II, and was ordered to remain in England and work with the BBC. He lived in many cities throughout the world until 1967, when he permanently moved to Greenville, South Carolina. John Dickson Carr also wrote mystery novels under the name Carter Dickson. He died in Greenville in 1977. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Series

Works by John Dickson Carr

The Three Coffins (1935) 788 copies
Hag's Nook (1955) 375 copies
The Mad Hatter Mystery (1933) 373 copies
The Crooked Hinge (1938) 367 copies
The Emperor's Snuff-Box (1942) 335 copies
The Burning Court (1937) 334 copies
He Who Whispers (1946) 315 copies
The White Priory Murders (1934) 307 copies
It Walks By Night (1930) 303 copies
Death-Watch (1935) 295 copies
The Blind Barber (1934) 289 copies
Till Death Do Us Part (1944) 282 copies
The Corpse in the Waxworks (1932) 279 copies
The Judas Window (1938) — Author — 271 copies
Castle Skull (1931) 246 copies
Fire, Burn! (1957) 243 copies
The Devil in Velvet (1951) 239 copies
To Wake the Dead (1938) 237 copies
The Plague Court Murders (1934) 232 copies
The Red Widow Murders (1935) 229 copies
The Eight of Swords (1934) 222 copies
Lord of the Sorcerers (1945) 217 copies
Below Suspicion (1949) 213 copies
The Seat of the Scornful (1941) 211 copies
The Lost Gallows (1931) 211 copies
The Problem of the Wire Cage (1939) 211 copies
The Arabian Nights Murder (1936) 207 copies
The Four False Weapons (1937) 198 copies
Death in Five Boxes (1938) 197 copies
The Skeleton in the Clock (1948) 193 copies
Poison in Jest (1932) 186 copies
The Dead Man's Knock (1958) 181 copies
She Died a Lady (1943) 178 copies
The Sleeping Sphinx (1947) 178 copies
A Graveyard to Let (1950) — Author — 170 copies
And So to Murder (1940) 169 copies
The Bride of Newgate (1950) 167 copies
The Peacock Feather Murders (1937) 165 copies
The Nine Wrong Answers (1952) 164 copies
The Witch of the Low Tide (1961) 160 copies
Night at the Mocking Widow (1952) 159 copies
The Demoniacs (1962) 156 copies
Dark of the Moon (1967) 153 copies
In Spite of Thunder (1960) 151 copies
The House at Satan's Elbow (1965) 144 copies
He Wouldn't Kill Patience (1944) 141 copies
Nine — and Death Makes Ten (1940) 141 copies
The Reader is Warned (1939) 138 copies
Captain Cut-Throat (1955) 137 copies
My Late Wives (1946) 134 copies
The Cavalier's Cup (1953) 129 copies
The Unicorn Murders (1935) 128 copies
Behind the Crimson Blind (1952) 121 copies
Seeing is Believing (1945) 121 copies
Panic in Box C (1966) 119 copies
Scandal at High Chimneys (1959) 115 copies
The Magic Lantern Murders (1937) 113 copies
The Bowstring Murders (1933) 111 copies
The Gilded Man (1942) 110 copies
Papa Là-Bas (1968) 104 copies
Deadly Hall (1971) 87 copies
Most Secret (1934) 81 copies
The Ghosts' High Noon (1969) 74 copies
The Door to Doom (1980) 63 copies
Fatal Descent (1939) 60 copies
The Third Bullet 55 copies
The Hungry Goblin (1972) 37 copies
Fear is the Same (1956) 36 copies
Merrivale, March and Murder (1991) 32 copies
Fell and Foul Play (1991) 28 copies
Speak of the Devil (1800) 21 copies
13 to the Gallows (2008) 18 copies
Maiden Murders (1952) 11 copies
Blind Man's Hood (2018) 5 copies
A Dr Fell Omnibus (1959) 4 copies
The Kindling Spark (2022) 3 copies
Death-Watch 2 copies
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Great Stories — Editor — 2 copies
Secret Radio 2 copies
Repouso mortal (1993) 2 copies
The Shadow Of The Goat (1926) 2 copies
Delitto a bordo (1977) 1 copy
Books Inc. 1 copy
Gideon Fell 1 copy
The Haverfordian, Vol. 46: June, 1926 (2017) — Editor — 1 copy
Svart sanbat 1 copy
Ocho espadas 1 copy
Cloak and Dagger — Author — 1 copy
Grand Guignol (1929) 1 copy
The Ends Of Justice (1927) 1 copy
The Fourth Suspect (1927) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Mammoth Book of Historical Whodunits Volume 1 (1993) — Contributor — 566 copies
English Country House Murders (1989) — Contributor — 477 copies
The Oxford Book of English Detective Stories (1990) — Contributor — 400 copies
Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories Not for the Nervous (1966) — Contributor — 296 copies
A Treasury of Great Mysteries, Volumes 1-2 (1957) — Contributor — 262 copies
Crime Stories from the Strand (1991) — Contributor — 227 copies
The Maracot Deep (1929) — Introduction, some editions — 207 copies
A Treasury of Great Mysteries, Volume 1 (1957) — Contributor — 204 copies
Masterpieces of Mystery and Suspense (1988) — Contributor — 189 copies
The Christmas Card Crime and Other Stories (2018) — Contributor — 184 copies
A Treasury of Great Mysteries, Volume 2 (1957) — Contributor — 182 copies
The Oxford Book of American Detective Stories (1996) — Contributor — 176 copies
London After Midnight : A Tour of Its Criminal Haunts (1996) — Contributor; Contributor — 135 copies
Locked Room Puzzles (1986) — Contributor — 119 copies
Alfred Hitchcock Presents: My Favorites in Suspense (1959) — Contributor — 118 copies
Alfred Hitchcock Presents: A Month of Mystery (1968) — Contributor — 118 copies
A Surprise for Christmas and Other Seasonal Mysteries (2020) — Contributor — 102 copies
The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes (1989) — Contributor — 89 copies
Murder On Christmas Eve (2017) — Contributor — 86 copies
Murder for Christmas, Vol. 2 (1982) — Contributor — 86 copies
Great Short Tales of Mystery and Terror (1982) — Contributor — 79 copies
14 of My Favorites in Suspense (1959) — Contributor — 77 copies
Great American Mystery Stories of the 20th Century (1989) — Contributor — 72 copies
Fifty Best Mysteries (1991) — Contributor — 71 copies
Great Tales of Mystery and Suspense (1981) — Contributor — 62 copies
The Twelve Crimes of Christmas (1981) — Contributor — 62 copies
Murderous Schemes (1996) — Contributor — 58 copies
14 Great Detective Stories (1949) — Contributor — 57 copies
Three Times Three: A Mystery Omnibus (1964) — Contributor — 57 copies
A Century of British Mystery and Suspense (2000) — Contributor — 57 copies
The Penguin Classic Crime Omnibus (1984) — Contributor — 54 copies
The Arbor House Treasury of Mystery and Suspense (1981) — Contributor — 52 copies
Crime on the Coast [and] No Flowers by Request (1953) — Contributor — 47 copies
Realms of Darkness (1985) — Contributor — 43 copies
Bodies from the Library 3 (2020) — Contributor — 41 copies
Suddenly at the Priory (1957) — Foreword, some editions — 40 copies
The Television Late-night Horror Omnibus (1993) — Contributor — 39 copies
Murder in Midsummer (2019) — Contributor — 36 copies
Murder Takes a Holiday (2020) — Contributor — 28 copies
Rogues' Gallery: The Great Criminals of Modern Fiction (1945) — Contributor — 27 copies
Manhattan Mysteries (1987) — Contributor — 26 copies
Crimes of Cymru: Classic Mystery Tales of Wales (2023) — Contributor — 23 copies
Murder by the Seaside (2022) — Contributor — 21 copies
A Century of Detective Stories (1935) — Contributor — 20 copies
Great detective stories (1998) — Contributor — 20 copies
Ellery Queen's Twentieth Century Detective Stories (1964) — Contributor — 19 copies
Ellery Queen's Mystery Mix (1962) — Contributor — 19 copies
Lethal Black Book (1965) — Contributor — 18 copies
Best Detective Stories (1959) — Contributor — 17 copies
Four and Twenty Bloodhounds (1950) — Contributor — 17 copies
Crime on the Coast (1984) — Contributor — 13 copies
Twelve American Crime Stories (1998) — Contributor — 13 copies
The Second Century of Detective Stories (1938) — Contributor — 12 copies
Rejser i tid og rum : en bog om science fiction (1973) — Author, some editions — 12 copies
Cream of the Crime (1962) — Contributor — 12 copies
He Who Whispers | The Unsuspected | Crows Can't Count (1946) — Contributor — 10 copies
Dangerous Crossing [1953 film] (1953) — Writer — 9 copies
Redselen i Deptford og andre studier i Sherlock Holmes (1980) — Contributor — 8 copies
Detection Medley (1939) — Contributor; Contributor — 7 copies
Great Stories of Mystery and Suspense 1974 Volume 2 (1974) — Contributor — 7 copies
Armchair Horror Collection (1994) — Contributor — 7 copies
Verhalen omnibus (1967) — Contributor — 7 copies
Crime Without Murder (1970) — Contributor — 6 copies
20 Great Tales of Murder (1951) — Contributor — 6 copies
Classic short stories of crime and detection, 1950-1975 (1983) — Contributor — 6 copies
Nieuwe verhalen die Hitchcock koos — Contributor — 6 copies
Detective Omnibus — Contributor — 6 copies
Mord als schöne Kunst betrachtet (1999) — Contributor — 5 copies
I delitti della camera chiusa (1975) — Contributor; Contributor — 5 copies
Giant Mystery Reader (1951) — Author — 5 copies
Verdens største detektiver II (1995) — Contributor; Contributor — 5 copies
De glæder med gys : Poe-Klubben skriver (1973) — Author, some editions — 5 copies
London After Midnight: A Conducted Tour, Part 1 (1996) — Contributor — 4 copies
Classic stories of crime and detection (1976) — Contributor — 4 copies
Avon Mystery Story Teller — Contributor; Contributor — 4 copies
Verdens største detektiver I (1995) — Contributor — 4 copies
Mørkets gjerninger : 21 hårreisende kriminalhistorier (2001) — Contributor — 3 copies
Detective-verhalen — Contributor — 3 copies
London After Midnight: A Conducted Tour, Part 2 (1996) — Contributor — 3 copies
Best Detective Stories (Volume 2) (1964) — Contributor — 2 copies
150 anni in Giallo (1989) — Contributor — 2 copies
A Magnum of Mysteries (1963) — Contributor — 2 copies
The Fourth Book of Crime-Craft (1959) — Introduction — 2 copies
Great Stories of Detection (1960) — Contributor — 2 copies
Spionhistorier fra hele verden — Contributor — 2 copies
Nye detektivhistorier fra hele verden — Author, some editions — 2 copies
Alfred Hitchcock's Fireside Book of Suspense (1947) — Contributor — 2 copies
Ellery Queen's 1966 Anthology — Contributor — 1 copy
Verdens beste kriminalhistorier — Contributor — 1 copy
Huset i Goblin Wood og andre mysterier (1993) — Contributor — 1 copy
Det ligner mord. 10 moderne detektivhistorier — Author, some editions — 1 copy
Dristige detektiver : et Hitchcock udvalg (1970) — Author, some editions — 1 copy
10 moderne spionhistorier — Author, some editions — 1 copy

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Exploits of Sherlock Holmes in Combiners! (February 2023)

Reviews

good illustration of giving books a second chance; skipped a few pages and was hooked - great ending!
 
Flagged
Overgaard | 4 other reviews | Jan 19, 2024 |
A Paranormal Locked Room
Review of the American Mystery Classics paperback (February 2, 2021) of the William Morrow & Company hardcover original (1934)

“Wait Blake. Wait a bit. Before I tell you about it, let me ask you whether you’re willing to give me a hand in what you’ll probably call an idiotic business. I want you to …”
“Go on.”
“To spend the night in a haunted house,” said Halliday.
“What’s idiotic about that?” I asked, trying to conceal the fact that my boredom had begun to disappear; I felt an anticipatory pleasure, and my companion seemed to notice it.


Despite an intriguing start, this started dragging for me quite early. I even resorted to mementoizing* it, although that attempt proved to be so confusing that I had to go back and persevere in chronological order. The first 40% just felt like an overextended prelude where the investigators (but not the main one), the suspects and the victim are introduced. Then it did start to get more interesting as the actual suspect interviews begin. Finally at the 60% point, Sir Henry Merrivale (the series lead) is introduced and the gradual solution to the case begins to coalesce.

Plague Court is the ancestral home of the Playge family, one of whom was an assistant executioner during the years of the Great Plague in 17th Century London, England. Now in 1930's London, the house is reputed to be haunted, but a spiritualist vows that he will exorcise the ghost. Various witnesses and authorities (including Ken Blake, the "Watson" of the case) appear on the scene to view the event. The spiritualist is instead found dead from several stab wounds (apparently from Playge's own awl-like knife which had been stolen from a museum shortly before) inside a locked and bolted stone building inside the courtyard of Plague Court. Though the yard is wet and muddy no footsteps to or from the building can be found.

That introduction overstayed its welcome, but the case starts to have some momentum when the eccentric Sir Henry Merrivale is brought in to consult on the matter. Merrivale was a Chief of Intelligence in the World War (1914-1918) and still maintains an office in Whitehall. He brings the case to a dramatic conclusion and the investigators adjourn for punch back at his office where he explains it all. As it is for all locked room mysteries, the solution is pretty far-fetched.

See front cover at https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/...
The front cover of the original 1934 William Morrow & Company hardcover when the book was first issued under the penname of Carter Dickson. Image sourced from Goodreads.

On Berengaria's Ease of Solving Scale® I would rate this as a 10 out of 10, i.e. "impossible to solve." In hindsight one might say that clues were provided, but the culprit was hidden from view for so long that it all came out as a twist in the end which was impossible to foresee.

Footnote
*mementoize
məˈmenˌtōˈīz/
verb / neologism
Definitions:
• 1. to tell a story in reverse order, as in the film Memento (2000) by director Christopher Nolan.
“Christopher Nolan didn’t invent reverse chronology story telling, but his film title Memento is the easiest to make into a verb: mementoize."
• 2. to read a book in reverse order to finish it, especially when reading it in forward order is not very interesting or compelling.
“The book was so dull I had to mementoize it in order to get through it."
• 3. a fictitious word invented for book reviews by The Lone Librarian™.


Trivia and Links
John Dickson Carr (1906-1977) is one of the 99 authors listed in The Book of Forgotten Authors (2017) by Christopher Fowler. He is No. 20 in the alphabetical listing which you can see towards the bottom of my review here.

This edition of The Plague Court Murders is part of the Otto Penzler American Mystery Classics series (2018-ongoing). There is a related Goodreads Listopia here with 55 books listed as of early January 2024. There are currently 68 titles listed at the Mysterious Press online bookshop. The official website for the series at Penzler Publishers seems to show only the most recent and upcoming titles.
… (more)
 
Flagged
alanteder | 10 other reviews | Jan 18, 2024 |
‘’H.M.’s room, spacious in decayed finery, is in the most ancient part of the damp old rabbit-warren, once a part of Whitehall Palace: it looks down over a bleak strip of garden, the Victoria Embankment, and the river. A smoky blue twilight - the frost twilight of Christmas week - blurred the window now. Bennett could see reflections from the lamps along the parapet of the Embankment; he could hear the window rattle to the pelting hooting of buses, and the stir of the fire under the battered white-marble mantelpiece.’’

A Hollywood starlet, who has been desperately trying to convince Britain that she can actually act, is found murdered in a pavilion surrounded by the traces of a heavy December. With absolutely zero evidence, James Bennett and Sir Henry Merrivale will try to find the culprit of an impossible crime.

This mystery is the epitome of the tradition of the Christmas Murder mystery. The imposing setting, dark and mysterious, the enigmatic victim, the cast of characters, the sympathetic amateur sleuth, the snow, the howling wind, the spectres in the corridors. The atmosphere is superb, and the story is nothing short of remarkable.

BUT. The dialogue is insufferable. Good Lord, who speaks with a dozen ‘’oh ah’’s every two sentences? With the bright exception of Bennett, the interactions are atrocious, Kate and Louise’s exclamations are absurdly dramatic, there is too much ‘’show, not tell’’ and Sir Henry is simply NOT amusing.

If you can distance yourselves from the dialogue, you’ll enjoy this Christmas mystery immensely. Unfortunately, I did not.
… (more)
 
Flagged
AmaliaGavea | 4 other reviews | Dec 31, 2023 |
One of the better ‘impossible crime’ plots and explanations by Carr. I enjoyed this one a lot.
 
Flagged
etrainer | 4 other reviews | Nov 22, 2023 |

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Statistics

Works
191
Also by
131
Members
16,290
Popularity
#1,394
Rating
½ 3.7
Reviews
346
ISBNs
828
Languages
18
Favorited
37

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