Category Archives: Locked Room Mystery

Crime at Christmas

As Britain gets ready for a very chilly yule indeed (and no, I don’t just mean the weather), my mind inevitably turns to the comforts of fictional crime! There are some splendid books being made available for crime aficionados this … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Albert Campion, Cosy Cozy, Edward D. Hoch, England, Locked Room Mystery, Margery Allingham, Mike Ripley, Ngaio Marsh, Peter Lovesey, Philip MacDonald, Simon Brett | 45 Comments

TILL DEATH DO US PART (1944) by John Dickson Carr

This classic Golden Age detective story tends to get a little lost among the multitude and enthralling mysteries that John Dickson Carr was producing at such a prodigious rate at that time. It begins with a superb set piece in … Continue reading

Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Audio Review, England, Five Star review, Gideon Fell, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery, London, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 65 Comments

NINE-AND DEATH MAKES TEN (1941) by Carter Dickson

I fell in love with John Dickson Carr’s work via his  ‘Carter Dickson’ alter ego when I chanced across his classic The Reader is Warned back when I was 14. Nine and Death Makes Ten (aka Murder in the Submarine Zone) was … Continue reading

Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Carter Dickson, Five Star review, Friday's Forgotten Book, Henry Merrivale, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery | 94 Comments

THE BURNING COURT (1937) by John Dickson Carr

There are oddly obscure mysteries from the Golden Age that are in fact still entertaining and clever and deserve to be rediscovered. Then there are novels that once were considered classics but now seem very tame indeed. And then there … Continue reading

Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Five Star review, Gothic, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery, Pennsylvania | 78 Comments

SHE DIED A LADY (1943) by Carter Dickson

OK, let’s get this out of the way: Carter Dickson, aka John Dickson Carr, is my favourite Golden Age detective story writer. For me, he was better than Christie, Queen, Sayers and Stout, love them all though I do. And … Continue reading

Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Carter Dickson, Five Star review, Friday's Forgotten Book, Henry Merrivale, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery | 89 Comments

THE DEMON OF DARTMOOR (1993) by Paul Halter

Sometime in the 1930s, Dr Allan Twist and Inspector Archibald Hurst are called in when theatre star Nigel Manson is seemingly pushed off a window ledge to his death, even though he was surrounded by several apparently impartial witnesses none … Continue reading

Posted in England, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery, Paul Halter | 81 Comments

DEATH IN THE TUNNEL (1936) by Miles Burton

This is a bit of a special post – I have so far managed to get through life without reading a single novel by John Rhode, who often published as Miles Burton and whose real name was Cecil John Street. … Continue reading

Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, England, Friday's Forgotten Book, John Rhode / Miles Burton, Locked Room Mystery, London | 77 Comments

HIS BURIAL TOO (1973) by Catherine Aird

This locked room mystery comes at the suggestion of JJ, author-in-chief of The Invisible Event, for which many thanks (I think). Its central conundrum is certainly an absolute doozy: how can a murderer flee a room in which the only … Continue reading

Posted in 2016 Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt, Catherine Aird, England, Locked Room Mystery | 46 Comments

Jonathan Creek back on our screens

Well, today’s my birthday and so I wanted to share some good news: the BBC have announced that Alan Davies will be back to investigate an improbable crime in a new 90-minute special of Jonathan Creek, one of my favourite TV … Continue reading

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

THE MADMAN’S ROOM (1990) by Paul Halter

For 30 years French author Paul Halter has published dozens of celebrations-cum-recreations of the impossible mysteries of John Dickson Carr. Thanks to Pietro De Palma, multi-lingual blogger at Death Can Read and La morte sa leggere, I have been reading some of … Continue reading

Posted in England, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery, Paul Halter | 34 Comments

THE CLUE OF THE NEW PIN (1923) by Edgar Wallace

In 1961 Clue of the New Pin became one of the first of the Edgar Wallace Mysteries series made at Merton Park studios to sit on the lower birth of a cinema double bill. Originally released in Britain at a rate of roughly … Continue reading

Posted in 2016 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Edgar Wallace, Locked Room Mystery, London, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 41 Comments

CASTLE SKULL (1931) by John Dickson Carr

Henri Bencolin visits the Rhine in his third novel, and appropriately enough there are a trio of killings to solve: the impossible attack on a magician in a train carriage under constant supervision, apparently thrown out by an unseen assailant; … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Germany, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery | 55 Comments

THE JOHN DICKSON CARR COMPANION by James E. Keirans

This large and lovingly crafted tome is devoted to one of Fedora’s favourite authors, which made it a truly irresistible purchase. John Dickson Carr (1906-1977), truly the master of the locked room mystery and one of the greatest of Golden Age … Continue reading

Posted in Carter Dickson, Gideon Fell, Henry Merrivale, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery | 59 Comments

SPEAK OF THE DEVIL (1941) by John Dickson Carr

This historical mystery, set around the battle of Waterloo and involving a locked room murder, a phantom woman who only our hero believes exists, a mysterious ‘man in black’ and a duel in a hot air balloon, was for decades a … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Audio Review, England, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery, London | 41 Comments

HE WHO WHISPERS (1946) by John Dickson Carr

This classic Golden Age detective story features a seemingly impossible murder and came top of the 2014 John Dickson Carr poll, somewhat to my surprise. I hadn’t read it in a while (well, try 30 years actually, and only in … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Audio Review, England, Five Star review, France, Gideon Fell, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery, London | 65 Comments

THE RIVERSIDE VILLAS MURDER (1973) by Kingsley Amis

From its mid 1930s setting to its convoluted murder method, this is an affectionate (if sui generis) hommage to the Golden Age mystery – from a seemingly unlikely champion, the angry young ironist of 1950s British literature, Kingsley Amis. But … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Edmund Crispin, Friday's Forgotten Book, John Dickson Carr, Kingsley Amis, Locked Room Mystery | 42 Comments

John Dickson Carr Poll – The Results!

We’ve had some great responses to this poll, both here and over at the Golden Age Detection group on Facebook, leading to some genuine surprises. Let’s put it this way, if I’d put money on which book would come top … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Carter Dickson, Gideon Fell, Henry Merrivale, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery | 38 Comments

Vote for your Top 10 John Dickson Carr books

What are your favourite books by John Dickson Carr (aka Carter Dickson)? The topic came up while re-reading The Crooked Hinge, a title that regularly turns up in lists of the author’s best works, though few think it as ‘perfect’ a performance … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Carter Dickson, Gideon Fell, Henry Merrivale, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery | 111 Comments

THE BLACK SPECTACLES (1939) by John Dickson Carr

I was always predisposed to love this book: first off, it’s an impossible crime mystery, second it’s by John Dickson Carr and third it involves movie-making equipment – perfect! It sees the titanic powers of lexicographer detective Gideon Fell at … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, England, Gideon Fell, Italy, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery | 79 Comments

THE FOUR JUST MEN (1905) by Edgar Wallace

Edgar Wallace made a real splash with his debut novel, though perhaps not quite the kind that he had intended. Originally promoted with the offer of a huge prize for anyone who guessed the ending, Wallace eventually had to declare … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Alfred Hitchcock, Edgar Wallace, Friday's Forgotten Book, Locked Room Mystery, London | 63 Comments

PROOF OF GUILT (1973) by Bill Pronzini

Buon compleanno Bill! Tomorrow is the 70th birthday of  William John Pronzini, now into his sixth decade of activity as a mystery author and still one of the best on the scene – and thankfully, one of the most prolific too. … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Bill Pronzini, Locked Room Mystery | 37 Comments

THE BLOODY MATCH by Paul Halter

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 | 41 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

Clue of the Twisted Candle (1960)

The Edgar Wallace Mysteries were a series of roughly four dozen hour-long B-movies made to sit on the lower birth of a cinema double bill, originally released in Britain at a rate of roughly one-a-month between 1960 and 1965. For a … Continue reading

Posted in Edgar Wallace, Locked Room Mystery, London, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 15 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 | 51 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 , , , | 114 Comments

DARKNESS AT PEMBERLEY (1932) by TH White

Mike Ripley in his unmissable Getting Away with Murder column recently pointed to the reprint of this early campus mystery and it is through his auspices that I have very kindly been sent a review copy by those nice people … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge, Cambridge, Campus Crime, Columbo, Dorothy L. Sayers, Edgar Wallace, Locked Room Mystery, TH White | 36 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

Gallery | 8 Comments

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

Gallery | 14 Comments

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 …

KILLER’S WEDGE (1959)

“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

Gallery | 19 Comments