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• View topic - John Dickson Carr

John Dickson Carr

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Postby Slade » Sun Apr 20, 2008 12:54 am

So, continuing on...

Gaston Leroux's THE MYSTERY OF THE YELLOW ROOM
A.E.W. Mason's AT THE VILLA ROSE (later changed to THE HOUSE OF THE ARROW)
S.S. Van Dine's THE GREENE MURDER CASE
Philip MacDonald's MURDER GONE MAD (later changed to THE RASP)
Rex Stout's THE LEAGUE OF FRIGHTENED MEN
Dorothy L. Sayers's THE NINE TAILORS (later changed to STRONG POISON)

Carr draws a sharp distinction between "the school of Sherlock Holmes and the school of Sam Spade."

From his list of THE TEN BEST DETECTIVE NOVELS, it's easy to see which school Carr considers to be "the old game, the great game, the grandest game in the world."

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Postby MarylandManson » Sun Apr 20, 2008 1:18 am

Slade,

It's interesting, because perhaps only modesty would suggest that a novel of Carr's wouldn't be on the list. It's hard to imagine much could be "better" than Christie and Carr, but maybe after reading some of the others...

What's your opinion of PATRICK BUTLER FOR THE DEFENCE? I'd say it's from the school of Sam Spade. Although Carr was perhaps out of his element, I think he pulled it off quite well.

Cheers! MM
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Postby Slade » Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:12 pm

MM,

Most of Carr's books I read when I was fourteen. PATRICK BUTLER FOR THE DEFENCE is one that I should re-visit, now that I'm a lawyer.

Incidentally, the schools of Sherlock Holmes and Sam Spade gave way to the school of the 87th Precinct.

Those of you into Carr must read Ed McBain's KILLER'S WEDGE, his twist on the locked-room puzzle.

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Postby MarylandManson » Sun Apr 20, 2008 10:46 pm

Slade,

Just a heads-up, the title of PATRICK BUTLER FOR THE DEFENCE belies the actual story, which is a very fast-moving detective-helps-sad-case-on-the-run deal. It's nothing like the courtroom proceedings of THE JUDAS WINDOW, the brand-spanking-new edition (from Rue Morgue Press) of which I just finished.

What is it about the age of fourteen? That's when I read all the Holmes stories, plus the Exploits, plus THE JUDAS WINDOW, which I had forgotten.

Cheers! MM
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Postby Slade » Sun Apr 20, 2008 11:46 pm

MM,

Fine-looking editions they are:

http://www.ruemorguepress.com/

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Postby raasnio » Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:15 am

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Postby MarylandManson » Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:03 pm

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Postby MarylandManson » Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:43 am

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Postby MarylandManson » Thu May 08, 2008 9:04 am

raasnio,

Per the other topic, you're reading THE NINE WRONG ANSWERS (1952). Does it make you wonder whether Carr influenced Ian Fleming? That novel and THE CORPSE IN THE WAXWORKS (1932) seem retroactively Fleming-esque, IMO. I enjoyed Bill Dawson, an unlikely (and unwilling) Carr "detector" if not detective. Hatto was interesting, as well.

I've been reading some H.M. novels, and I now like him a little more. SHE DIED A LADY was quite good, with characters as well-drawn as any among Carr's novels.

Cheers! MM
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Postby raasnio » Fri May 09, 2008 9:53 pm

MM,

Not sure about influencing Ian Fleming. I have read some Fleming novels though I'm not sure I'm qualified to comment on such an observation except to say that perhaps yourself or Slade are likely better able to do so.

So far it does feel different than any of the other Carr novels I've read to date.
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Postby MarylandManson » Fri May 09, 2008 11:00 pm

raasnio,

Did you ever read "The Most Dangerous Game"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Most_Dangerous_Game

Wikipedia's list of "reused concept" versions is certainly not complete. At least, there was also a novel named DEATHWATCH, and the "Fantasy Island" series pilot had a segment that used the "most dangerous game" concept. It might not be a stretch to read into Dr. No's "obstacle course" the same kind of "life-or-death sporting proposition" that seems so well suited to fans of male-fantasy/adventure.

A "life-or-death sporting proposition" figures into the climax of THE CORPSE IN THE WAXWORKS, which also has the megalomaniacal arch-villain at the center of a criminal network--shades of Moriarty--complete with white cat (although, as noted earlier, that was a cinematic touch, not Fleming's). Also, it would be interesting to trace the history of the megalomaniac's "henchman" in fiction. Surely THE NINE WRONG ANSWERS would deserve a data point on such a timeline.

It could be that Carr, Doyle, Fleming, Slade, and others are simply writers with a shared interest in storytelling devices and concepts that appeal to a certain type of reader. Whatever the answers, I'm delighted to be one such reader. But sometimes it's fun to ponder the possible connections.

Cheers! MM

P.S. Also note the Zodiac reference in the Wikipedia link.
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Postby SickThing » Tue Jun 10, 2008 11:06 am

I've never read Carr, but followed this thread with interest.

While out shopping at an antique store a couple of weekends ago, I stumbled over vintage paperback copies of Carr's The Problem of the Green Capsule and the Carter Dickson title Behind the Crimson Blind, both in very good/near fine condition for $4 each. I bought them, but haven't read them yet.

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Postby MarylandManson » Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:26 pm

Hunter, I enjoyed Green Capsule--an interesting Dr. Fell howdunit, very typical of the complex Carr puzzles I've read so far. I haven't read the other one, which looks like a Henry Merrivale mystery written after Carr's most productive period (1933-1946). I hope you have fun with Carr.

Slade already posted this link, but it bears another mention:

http://www.mysterylist.com/carr2.htm

After reading a couple dozen Carr novels, I feel that Grobius Shortling's ratings and comments are on target if you remember that he gives greater weight to the complexity (but fair play) with which Carr wrought each novel's puzzle than any other considerations. Even so, where Shortling identifies good plotting and characterization, I've found his observations to be useful and accurate.

Cheers! MM
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Postby raasnio » Wed Jun 25, 2008 9:09 pm

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Postby MarylandManson » Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:14 pm

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