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Search tags: John-Dickson-Carr
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text 2019-10-24 16:34
Reading progress update: I've listened to 30% (approximately).
The Hollow Man - Peter Noble,John Dickson Carr

 

This is a reread, but I'm in sore need of a palate cleanser.  Nothing better to turn to than the most celebrated and tricky locked room mystery ever -- which definitely is a book that calls for being read a couple of times in order to yield all of its secrets.  And what really stands out to me upon this revisit is how much of the solution Dickson Carr actually presents in the first chapters of the book --

in fact, the key fact is right there on the very first page.

(spoiler show)

And yet, the "how" is so intricately constructed that I had to read the solution twice to take it all in when I read the book for the very first time.

 

I've long read my "Locked Room Mystery" bingo book, but I'm just going to count it towards that square as well.  For anyone who, at this late stage of the game, happens to still be looking for a book for the Deadlands square, though, I think it would qualify for that square as well, though (ditto "Darkest London" and, of course, "Murder Most Foul" and the two "Genre" squares (Mystery / Suspense)).

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review 2019-09-26 23:59
She Died a Lady
She Died a Lady: A Sir Henry Merrivale Mystery - John Dickson Carr

This book had such a promising start but once the main plot event happened and the police investigation gets under way, the story becomes ridiculously convoluted and stops making sense. 

It was almost as if Carr had a really novel idea and then suddenly balked at executing it. Instead of a well-thought-out plot with a sound motive and fleshed out characters, we get caricatures and snippets of plot that seem to be formulaic. The only characters that I felt were truly well crafted were the two victims. 

 

The ending was a let-down, too, I felt. There are certain similarities in the structure of this book with one Dame Agatha's and even tho I suspected the Carr had not copied the entire idea, it gave me enough pause to suspect the culprit reasonably enough. 

There was no way I could figure out the motive, tho. There was just way too much going on in this plot to figure out any logical conclusions, and to be honest, the conclusion that was presented seemed to have been magically drawn out of a hat.

 

It just did not work for me. However, I look forward to trying some of Carr's other titles. 

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text 2019-09-26 21:28
Reading progress update: I've read 58%.
She Died a Lady: A Sir Henry Merrivale Mystery - John Dickson Carr

This book is a little bonkers. 

 

@Tigus, I believe this is the famous wheelchair scene you mentioned:

But my attention was on other matters.

To have a half-filled whisky bottle fired at your head is enough to destroy the composure of even the noblest Roman.

The bottle whizzed past the head of Sir Henry Merrivale, and fell between Superintendent Craft and Paul Ferrars as they came pelting round the side of the house. Ferrars, who was carrying a suit of clothes across his arm, stumbled over it.

As it flew, H.M. put his hands up instinctively to shield his face. The steering-handle, left to its own devices, brought the chair round in a broad curve; and the motor, as though inspired by a diabolical life of its own, put on the burst of speed which made him travel as steadily as an express-train straight towards the brink of the cliff.

‘Turn it!’ Ferrars was screaming. ‘Turn it! Mind the cliff! For God’s sake mind the –’

What saved H.M.’s life, undoubtedly, was the softness of the soil and his own weight. Two deep grooves followed his jolting and bouncing passage across the earth. The crutch flew out of his hand. The motor coughed and died. The chair lurched, sank deeper, put on a last burst of speed; and then came to rest, deliberately, on the very edge of the cliff. His sandalled feet, in fact, stuck out over nothingness.

Then there was silence, under the warm sunlight.

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text 2019-09-26 21:07
Reading progress update: I've read 48%.
She Died a Lady: A Sir Henry Merrivale Mystery - John Dickson Carr

Belle nodded in reply, winking her eyes very rapidly.

‘I knew we were near Exmoor, naturally.’ She swallowed hard. ‘And I’d read Lorna Doone when I was a kid, or at least I’d heard about it. But I didn’t think there really were such things. Not really honest-to-God, I mean, and away from the movies.’

Craft snorted.

‘They’re real enough, all right,’ he assured her. ‘Unless you know most parts of that moor, stay off it. Or, if you must go, follow the moor-ponies. They never make a mistake. Isn’t that so, Doctor?’

I agreed with some vehemence. I have had to learn a good deal about Exmoor in the course of my professional life, but I don’t like that windy, gloomy waste to this day.

This story had a strong start but as soon as the investigation started, the story has dipped into "meh" territory. None of the characters stands out as more than a "type". And the main investigator, who is central to this series, is rather bland even tho he seems to have been attributed with some eccentricities.

 

Oh, and the plot is all over the place. It's almost as if the author tried to blend in too many ideas. Some also don't seem to fit the time of the setting (WWII).

 

I hope this picks up again soon.

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text 2019-09-26 11:11
Reading progress update: I've read 27%.
She Died a Lady: A Sir Henry Merrivale Mystery - John Dickson Carr

Oooh! More twists! And a discussion of the forensic value of footprints.

I like it!

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