#201: For Carr vs. Christie – Start Your Engines…

carr-vs-christie

Okay, the results of the vote for your collective choice of the best individual novel by John Dickson Carr and Agatha Christie are in, and it’s now fixed which two need to be read for the head-to-head comparison that Brad and I have planned for April.  So, after over 100 votes in each poll (though not a multiple of three in either case, despite having three votes per author…) counting down the top five, we have…

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#197: Spoiler Warning – Coming in April: The Best of Christie vs. The Best of Carr + Your Help Needed

carr-vs-christie

Following the spoiler-filled discussion about John Dickson Carr’s The Ten Teacups last week, I’d like to make a slightly regular feature of that kind of thing because, well, some excellent points were raised and I enjoyed it immensely.  Since my good friend Brad of AhSweetMysteryBlog and I have been throwing about the idea of a Carr vs. Christie post for a while now, that seems like the sensible place to go next.  Not with the intent of picking who is best — that’s Carr, obviously 😉 — but more to compare these two and see where they meet, where they diverge, and what we think can be said about the two finest proponents of the detective novel art.

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#196: The Department of Queer Complaints [ss] (1940) by Carter Dickson

queer-complaintsDepartment D3 of Scotland Yard houses the gargantuan form of Colonel March, investigator of the absurd and apparently impossible whose “mind is so obvious that he hits it every time”.  It’s a shame March never got a novel of his own, because he has a lovely and direct way of dealing with the problems brought to him, but then he’s not exactly dissimilar to the Gideon Fell chap about whom Carter Dickson wrote so much under his real name of John Dickson Carr.  So, yup, it’s impossibilities ahoy as we go through ten cases of the inexplicable thoroughly laid to rest by Carr’s own brand of chicanery and misdirection; it’s true: life is good to us sometimes, and we just gotta enjoy it when it happens…

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#195: The Tuesday Night Bloggers – My First Five Impossible Crimes…

tnbs-firsts

Much like being stuck with that one relative who wishes to recount every event of note from their life regardless of how interested you appear, my reminiscing about the beginnings of my detective fiction reading continues.  This week, with my oft-mentioned fondness for an impossible crime, I’m going to attempt to recall the first few, faltering steps I made into the subgenre.  So, let’s see now…

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#194: Spoiler Warning 1 – The Ten Teacups, a.k.a. The Peacock Feather Murders (1937) by Carter Dickson

spoiler-warning

In what I’m hoping will be the first of a semi-occasional series — look, I’ve made a special header image for it and everything — we are here today to discuss the 1937 impossible crime novel The Ten Teacups, published in the U.S.A. as The Peacock Feather Murders, from John Dickson Carr under his Carter Dickson nom de plume.  Puzzle Doctor, wrangler of In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, kindly agreed to reread this one and then exchange some thoughts on aspects of the precise details and workings of the book, and the results of our efforts are below.  Suffice to say, if you click to read more of this, there are guaranteed massive spoilers from this point on; don’t say I didn’t warn you…

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#188: Five to Try – Debunked Séances in Detective Fiction

seance

Flying lute?  Check.  Ghostly disembodied hand?  Check.  Okay, ladies and gentlemen, let’s call this meeting to order…

Following a recent post on John Dickson Carr’s The Lost Gallows over at The Green Capsule, I was reminded of just how much I love a séance in fiction.  Now, to be clear, I’m with Charlie Brooker on psychics and other such manipulative awfulness, but have a real love of sleight of hand and up-close magic (as perhaps evinced in my enthusiasm for fair play detective fiction and impossible crimes therein) and a debunked séance is often a great way to explore the little ways a set of circumstances can be misrepresented, and often some fascinating insights come out of it.

So, here are five great séances from detective fiction, alpabetically by author.

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#177: Spoiler Warning – Coming in January: The Ten Teacups, a.k.a. The Peacock Feather Murders (1937) by Carter Dickson

ten-teacups-peacock-feather

Given that so much time spent discussing mystery fiction is devoted to edging carefully around the precise plot points on which such enterprises are founded, I thought I’d give you fair warning that Puzzle Doctor and I are going to be abandoning this approach next month in looking at the 1937 impossible crime novel The Ten Teacups/The Peacock Feather Murders by John Dickson Carr, published under his Carter Dickson secret identity.

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#173: Murder Gone Mad (1931) by Philip MacDonald

murder-gone-madWell, this seems an odd choice of book to review the day after John Dickson Carr’s 110th birthday, right?  The sensible thing would be to pick one of his novels, in keeping with the occasional Carr-related theme of my posts of late, right?  Aha!  Well, good job, then, because this is Carr-related: in 1946 Carr selected what he felt to be the 10 best detective novels published to date (writing an essay entitled ‘The Grandest Game in the World’ that, I believe, was intended to be published as an introduction to a run of reprints of the books…which never materialised due to copyright issues) and this was one of them.  I really did not like the first MacDonald book I read (X v. Rex) and was warned in advance by both TomCat and Noah that this isn’t a particularly good book…so that all boded well, hey?

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#171: JDC OOP – WTF?

jdc-oop

In his lifetime, John Dickson Carr published 76 novels and short story collections, plus a biography of Arthur Conan Doyle and a ‘true crime’ novel predating Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, The Murder of Sir Edmund Godfrey.  Following the closure of the Rue Morgue Press, who had five Carr novels in their books, and the coming disappearance of Orion’s ebook undertaking The Murder Room, who have around 14 or so Carr novels in their ranks, we’re not too far from a point in time where only two Car novels will be available to buy: Orion’s perpetually in-print version of The Hollow Man and the Mysterious Press publication of The Devil in Velvet.  So, to return to the question in the title of this post: John Dickson Carr’s out of print — where’s the fuss?

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