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• View topic - AND THEN THERE WERE THREE COFFINS

AND THEN THERE WERE THREE COFFINS

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Postby krista in ma » Thu Jun 02, 2005 1:06 am

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They have served our nation; together they are home.
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An American Son Returns Home
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Postby Slade » Thu Jun 02, 2005 3:38 am

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Postby Cawdorgraves » Thu Jun 02, 2005 7:41 am

------------------------------------------
D E F O R M A T O R Y
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In The Wake Of Pestilence
https://deformatory.bigcartel.com
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Postby MarylandManson » Thu Jun 02, 2005 3:31 pm

"Very few detective stories baffle me nowadays, but Mr. Carr's always do." -Agatha Christie

I'm no cozy fan. The mysteries hold little interest. It's like those logic puzzles with answers such as "Mr. Green lives in a blue house, drives a red Porsche, and owns a poodle." If there's a definite answer to be revealed at the end, it's no fun to try and noodle through the logic. I'm content to let the author take me where he or she wants and to enjoy the ride.

Happily for me, in this month's two selections Christie and Carr offer more than simple cozies. Although Christie's storytelling is lean, efficient, even sparse--there's little there that's not necessary to tell the tale--she offers a compelling study of guilt and selfishness. But the best part of AND THEN THERE WERE NONE is the confession letter, which offers substantial psychological insight to a murderous mind. Today we might say that Christie drew a portrait of a sociopath.

In THE THREE COFFINS Carr contrasts with Christie through considerable detail, both in style and substance. It's enjoyable detail, whether it's a discussion of sleight-of-hand or interesting philosophical insight to the human condition. Examples of the latter element are the discussion of youthful fascination with secret passages and the following quote:

"She probably knows already. Children do. And she's trying to keep it from you. And the whole world goes skew-wiff because we like to pretend that people under twenty will never have any emotions, and people over forty never had."

There's also quite a bit about pretense and illusion, which are both painstakingly described and lyrically evoked throughout the novel. The locked-room chapter is most interesting for the humor, the "breaking the fourth wall" comments about detective fiction, and the following quote by Dr. Fell:

"I like my murders to be frequent, gory, and grotesque. I like some vividness of color and imagination flashing out of my plot, since I cannot find a story enthralling solely on the grounds that it sounds as though it might really have happened."

My guess is that this quote easily could come from one Michael Slade. Carr is more like Slade than any other author I've encountered. I'll definitely read more Carr.

I recently read Carr's first Gideon Fell mystery, HAG'S NOOK, and a comparison is in order between Christie's and Carr's work. (Note: I prefer HAG'S NOOK to THE THREE COFFINS because its setting is more macabre and because the final paragraph is very powerful in a Slade-like way.) As in AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, Carr ends HAG'S NOOK with a confession letter that illuminates a murderous, sociopathic mind. Examples follow from the murderer’s final words as presented by each author.

Carr:

"Here I must point out a curious feature of my own character. There are times when I seem absolutely to lose control over my reflex actions. Even as a child I had buried rabbits and torn the wings from flies."

Christie:

"I have a definite sadistic delight in seeing or causing death. I remember experiments with wasps--with various garden pests...From an early age I knew very strongly the lust to kill."

...and...

Carr:

"But another ray of imaginative insight showed me a better plan...It is in such crises as these that one's brain amazes one with the quickness and finely wrought artistry of its conceptions."

Christie:

"But no artist, I now realize, can be satisfied with art alone...I have, let me confess it in all humility, a pitiful wish that some one should know just how clever I have been."

It's interesting to note that Carr published HAG'S NOOK in 1933. Christie originally published AND THEN THERE WERE NONE in 1939. Given the quote that starts this post, it's likely that Christie admired Carr's work. Could Carr have inspired Christie with the concept of a psychologically revealing confession letter? Or did both authors pay homage to the work of a predecessor in detective fiction? The mystery holds little interest. It's like a logic puzzle. Or a cozy.

Cheers! MM

P.S. Due to library inefficiency, I had to order through amazon.com A JOHN DICKSON CARR TRIO, which shipped from Browns Books in Burnaby, British Columbia, in greater Vancouver. So that's one book, two coincidences (two ways Carr came my way from Vancouver; and Burnaby is also the name of a certain club-footed artist), and three Carr stories!
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Postby MarylandManson » Sat Jun 04, 2005 5:19 pm

By the way, just curious about whether anyone was thrown off kilter--as I was--about murder by life preserver in AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. I envisioned an old general repeatedly whacked on the head with a canvas flotation device stuffed with balsa wood or cork. Then a little dictionary research yielded the old "chiefly British" qualifier. So a "life preserver" is a blackjack.

I had to look up "blackjack," too.

Cheers! MM
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Postby PohlSE » Sat Jun 04, 2005 7:36 pm

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Postby Slade » Sat Jun 04, 2005 9:34 pm

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Postby Slade » Sun Jun 05, 2005 12:02 am

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Postby steelclaw32 » Sun Jun 05, 2005 12:19 am

Does anyone know the origianl title of 'Ten Little INDIANS', or later it was changed for the second time to 'And Then There Were None '!!!!?? :shock:

Well the copy I've got (For over thirty years now) is a British book Fontana Books on the cover there's what we as children used to call Golliwogs,
(back then we in our innocence did not know that it was a an extremely derogatory name there was even a an ice cream of the same name, very nice it was too!!.);

on the cover there's a "rag-like doll" of the Golliwog HUNG, hanging by a string. Behind this horrible exhibit there's a blood splattered support beam.

Here see for your self. And apologies for the n & G word.

Image

And I think a very early edition it's got the same name.


Image

To me it's Christie's very BEST as both Thriller and chiller , your literally guessing till the bitter end and it IS BITTER. The thing that really pissed me off about the films was there were one or two suvivours...THERE WASN'T.

Here's a quick synopsis of a really great book.

"TEN LITTLE NIGGERS
US title: AND THEN THERE WERE NONE
Other titles: TEN LITTLE INDIANS (in US reprint, Pocket Books, 1965, and all subsequent editions)
UK publication: 1939 (Collins)
US publication: 1939 (Dodd, Mead)
Detective: None
Genre: Novel


Plot summary and comments: A very famous novel, based on the old-fashioned nursery rhyme. Ten characters are marooned in a house built by an eccentric millionaire on a tiny island off the coast of Devon; they die, one at a time, in a way prescribed by the nursery rhyme, which hangs over each fireplace. [When the book was written, the word 'nigger' was much less offensive in Britain than in the U.S.; the title and rhyme have been changed in all modern edtions.] As the murderer intended, all ten people have died by the end of the story; one of them must be the murderer, but his identity is adroitly concealed even after the last death. An epilogue, found by the police upon their eventual arrival, lays out the secret. Christie adapted the story into a play, produced in 1943, from which at least four movies have been made."
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