#255: Abridged Too Far? Comparing Texts of The Unicorn Murders (1935) by Carter Dickson

Unicorn Murders

Among my at-times multiple versions of various John Dickson Carr titles, I  have four Mercury Mystery editions like the one shown on the left above — The Plague Court Murders (1934), The Red Widow Murders (1935), The Unicorn Murders (1935), and The Department of Queer Complaints (1940) — which are of additional interest to me since the novels are all abridgements.  So, having just read the unedited text of The Unicorn Murders, I thought it might be interesting to see what was excised from this abridged version.

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#254: The Unicorn Murders (1935) by Carter Dickson

unicornmurdersWhen a man is found dead, stabbed between the eyes by a unicorn (of indeterminate nationality) — a, yes, fictional animal that can nevertheless apparently turn invisible at will — you don’t expect to find yourself in the GADU.  And when a second victim is then killed in the same way but in full view of witnesses, if one can witness an invisible animal, you better hope you’re in the GADU or else things are about to get silly.  Well, it’s your lucky day, because you are in a classic impossible crime mystery and things are about to get silly — this book is probably the final time John Dickson Carr had all the ingredients for a classic and didn’t actually write it, instead leaving a few edges untouched so that the overriding impression is slightly more “Er…what?” than “Hell, yeah!”.

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#229: Carr vs. Christie…the Follow-Up

carr-vs-christie

Last week we discussed the merits of what all y’all voted the two finest books by John Dickson Carr and Agatha Christie in full spoiler style.  This week, Brad — who magnanimously locked horns with me — is hosting a follow-up where we air yet more of our favourite napery regarding these two and…well, go to his site and check it out…

Come back here next week for another follow-up where we’ll be…nah, I’m kidding.  We’re not going to flog this horse any more.

Are we, Brad?

#226: Spoiler Warning 2 – Death on the Nile (1937) by Agatha Christie vs. He Who Whispers (1946) by John Dickson Carr

spoiler-warning

In the second of my semi-occasional series where caution is thrown to the wind when it comes to naming names, we are here today to discuss the two finest detective novelists of all time at their popular peak.  Christie aficionado, good friend, and best teacher ever Brad of AhSweetMysteryBlog kindly agreed to go head-to-head over our favourite authors and then exchange some thoughts on aspects of the precise details and workings of the books, 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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#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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