Category Archives: John Dickson Carr


I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions usually but I promised myself two things for 2013: first, that I would try some of the great books recommended by my blogging compadres; and second, that I would finally read some of … Continue reading

Posted in John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery, London, Paul Halter, Philip MacDonald, Scene of the crime | 37 Comments

Jonathan Creek returns

Good news for lovers of the locked room mystery in the style of John Dickson Carr. It has been announced that after a (too) long sabbatical, Alan Davies will again don his duffel coat to investigate an impossible crime in … Continue reading

Posted in John Dickson Carr, Jonathan Creek, Locked Room Mystery | 22 Comments

Mysteries in Audio: Podcast

I’m a big fan of audio drama (and for a year I even hosted a blog devoted to the subject) and have occasionally reviewed full cast radio plays here at Fedora (for a list of some of these see here). … Continue reading

Posted in Audio Review, Big Finish, Jago & Litefoot, John Dickson Carr, Podcast, Sherlock Holmes | 8 Comments

Long lost essay by Agatha Christie published

In today’s edition of The Guardian newspaper there is an article with details of an essay written by Agatha Christie in 1945 on the art of the British mystery story. It was commissioned by the Ministry of Information and intended … Continue reading

Posted in Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, John Dickson Carr, Lord Peter Wimsey, Miss Marple, Poirot | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

That Woman Opposite (1957) – Tuesday’s Forgotten Film

Phyllis Kirk stars as the eponymous young woman in peril in this unpretentious British whodunnit (released in the US as City After Midnight). Eve Atwood is a wealthy American divorcée living in the small town of La Bandalette in France. She … Continue reading

Posted in France, John Dickson Carr, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , | 20 Comments

THE EMPEROR’S SNUFFBOX (1942) by John Dickson Carr

Singled out by Carr himself as one of his best efforts, this is quite an anomalous title from the great writer’s oeuvre, though it displays many of his greatest virtues. Constructed with his trademark cunning, the story does not feature … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge, Agatha Christie, Amnesia, France, John Dickson Carr, Scene of the crime | 25 Comments

INVISIBLE GREEN (1977) by John Sladek

This detective novel by science fiction author John Sladek offers several impossible crimes in the style of John Dickson Carr and deserves to be much better known. It was paid a great compliment in 1981 when, only two years after … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Alphabet of Crime, Crime Fiction Alphabet, Friday's Forgotten Book, John Dickson Carr, John Sladek, Locked Room Mystery, London, Scene of the crime | 47 Comments

C is for … John Dickson Carr

Kerrie’s Alphabet of Crime community meme over at the Mysteries in Paradise blog has returned for 2012. Those participating will post a review, author biog or a thematic item that matches the letter of the week either with the first … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Alphabet of Crime, Carter Dickson, Crime Fiction Alphabet, Gideon Fell, Henry Merrivale, John Dickson Carr, Julian Symons, Locked Room Mystery | Tagged , , , | 101 Comments

Dangerous Crossing (1953)

This is one of the surprisingly few films derived from the work of the great mystery writer John Dickson Carr. It was adapted from ‘Cabin B-13′, his celebrated radio drama originally broadcast in 1943 but subsequently repeated and adapted several … Continue reading

Posted in Film Noir, John Dickson Carr, Noir on Tuesday, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 28 Comments


The Plot: When one of the Maugham family meets an untimely death, it seems almost impossible to work out who the murderer might be, until a distant relative of the family comes to light. With the arrival of Hans Gerber, … Continue reading

Posted in Audio Review, Big Finish, George Mann, John Dickson Carr, London, Scene of the crime, Sherlock Holmes, Steampunk | 4 Comments

Blogs what I have read

Unaccustomed as I am to blogging (with apologies to the immortal British comedy duo Morecambe and Wise and their scriptwriter Eddie Braben), I just thought I’d stop for a minute or two to point with amazement at the apparent synchronicity surrounding the great time I have been having of late participating in the blogosphere. Without realising it, I seem to have joined a group of bloggers all of whom celebrate fairly traditional detective stories, with most of us in particular being great fans of John Dickson Carr and Ellery Queen.

There’s a lot of great crime and mystery bloggers out there and I have to tip my hat to several that I have recently had the pleasure of getting better acquainted with Continue reading

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Top 100 mystery books (almost)

The plan was to come up with a top 100 that I was prepared to stand by – but I wanted to re-read so many of the books that I might have included but now remembered too vaguely (such as Ngaio Marsh’s output or books like Tey’s hugely popular The Daughter of Time) that I thought I should publish only a partial list. Not to mention finding it a bit hard to just settle on one book by Georges Simenon given the enormity of his output – I have placed a list of 80+ titles on the site and am extremely open to suggestions …

So here are My (Nearly) Top 100 Mystery Books  Continue reading

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N is for … NINE TIMES NINE (1940) by Anthony Boucher

The Alphabet of Crime community meme over at the Mysteries in Paradise blog this week reaches the letter N, and my nomination, also eligible under the guidelines of Bev’s 2011 Mystery Readers Challenge, is …

NINE TIMES NINE by Anthony Boucher

This golden age mystery is one of several fine examples of the genre that, like Clayton Rawson’s Death from a Top Hat (1938) and Edmund Crispin’s Love Lies Bleeding (1948), were inspired directly by the work of John Dickson Carr, the master of the locked room / impossible crime story. In this particular case, the book is not only dedicated to Carr, but in fact has an entire chapter devoted to discussing one of his novels. Continue reading

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April foolishness? Lost fictions

When is a post not a real post? When is a book not a book? When is a fiction a ‘real’ fiction?

One of the standout features of Rex Stout’s The League of Frightened Men is the prominence in the plot of the literary accomplishments of creepy suspect Paul Chapin, author of such (fictitious) works as ‘Devil Take the Hindmost’ – indeed, it is through a detailed analysis of Chapin’s work that Wolfe is be able to crack the case. This got me thinking about long and honourable history of fictitious novels and the allure of lost manuscripts in general. Henry James’ The Aspern Papers is certainly one of the most notable of such works but in the mystery genre it does seem to be particularly prevalent – this is in addition of course to all the works inspired by to the references in Arthur Conan Doyle  to unreported tales, such as in the case of the ‘Giant Rat of Sumatra’, most notably in the book of short stories by Doyle’s son Adrian and John Dickson Carr in the 1950s (published as The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes) and most recently the pastiches written for radio by Bert Coules as The Further Adventure of Sherlock Holmes. Continue reading

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K is for … KILLER’S WEDGE (1959) by Ed McBain

The Alphabet of Crime community meme over at the Mysteries in Paradise blog this week reaches the letter K. My contribution this week is made up of a quartet of the 87th Precinct mysteries by Ed McBain published before 1960 so as to also be eligible under the guidelines of Bev’s 2011 Mystery Readers Challenge. Today’s book is …


“There was, of course, no such thing as a locked-door murder mystery.”

McBain makes his first great stylistic departure in this, the eight volume in his 87th Precinct series, juxtaposing two radically different cases and two completely different traditions within the mystery genre, the whole kept tightly bound together by the exertion of the titular pressure – and all taking place in a single afternoon. In fact the novel takes place in just under 4 hours in total. Continue reading

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J is for … THE JUDAS WINDOW (1938) by Carter Dickson

The Alphabet of Crime community meme over at the Mysteries in Paradise blog this week reaches the letter J, and my nomination is …

J is for … The Judas Window (1938) by Carter Dickson.

I began my last post for the Alphabet Crime meme by declaring my lack of enthusiasm for the modern Grisham-style legal thriller – and then proved it was all stuff and nonsense by praising Scott Turow’s latest example of the genre to the hills. And this week I’ve compounded my lack of credibility by picking another courtroom drama, but this time at least I’ve got some mitigating factors I can offer in my defence: not only is it from the golden age of detective stories, not only is it by my all time favourite mystery author John Dickson Carr, but it’s a stone cold classic of my favourite subcategory of the genre: the locked room mystery. In fact this is a book that ticks so many boxes for me that I am also offering it as the third of my eligible books as part of the 2011 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge over at Bev’s Reader’s Block website (check it out, it’s amazing – I just don’t know where she finds the energy or the time to do all that reading and blogging – she’s a true demon and an inspiration that one). Continue reading

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