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John Dickson Carr - book author

AKA Carter Dickson, Carr Dickson and Roger Fairbairn.

John Dickson Carr was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in 1906. It Walks by Night, his first published detective novel, featuring the Frenchman Henri Bencolin, was published in 1930. Apart from Dr Fell, whose first appearance was in Hag's Nook in 1933, Carr's other series detectives (published under the nom de plume of Carter Dickson) were the barrister Sir Henry Merrivale, who debuted in The Plague Court Murders (1934).

John Dickson Carr is the author of books: The Three Coffins (Dr. Gideon Fell, #6), Hag's Nook (Dr. Gideon Fell, #1), The Burning Court, The Crooked Hinge (Dr. Gideon Fell, #8), The Case of the Constant Suicides (Dr. Gideon Fell, #13), He Who Whispers (Dr. Gideon Fell, #16), The Mad Hatter Mystery (Dr. Gideon Fell, #2), The Emperor's Snuff-Box, The Problem of the Green Capsule (Dr. Gideon Fell, #10), The Blind Barber (Dr. Gideon Fell, #4)

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Professor Charles Grimaud was explaining to some friends the natural causes behind an ancient superstition about men leaving their coffins when a stranger entered and challenged Grimaud's skepticism. The stranger asserted that he had risen from his own coffin and that four walls meant nothing to him. He added, 'My brother can do more... he wants your life and will call on you!' The brother came during a snowstorm, walked through the locked front door, shot Grimaud and vanished. The tragedy brought Dr Gideon Fell into the bizarre mystery of a killer who left no footprints.
In his detecting debut, larger than life lexicographer Dr. Gideon Fell is entertaining young American college graduate Tad Rampole at Yew Cottage, Fell's charming home in the English countryside. Within sight of his study window is the ruin of Chatterham Prison, perched high on a precipice known as Hag's Nook. The prison's land belongs to the Starberth family—whose eldest sons must each spend an hour in the prison's eerie "Governor's Room" to inherit the family fortune.

Rampole is especially interested in the family, having met the young and beautiful Dorothy Starberth on the train from London. He readily agrees when Fell and the local reverend, Thomas Saunders, ask him to accompany them as they watch and wait for badly frightened Martin Starberth to complete 'his hour' in the prison. Martin has every reason to be afraid; more than one Starberth heir has met an untimely end. Will his turn come tonight?
When the family found an odd piece of string, tied at equal intervals into nine knots, under Miles Despard's pillow, they dismissed this trifle from their minds.

But then the housekeeper, a normally sensible woman, told an incredible story of a beautiful woman in the old man's room - a woman who had "walked through the wall". Who could go through a door which had been bricked up and paneled over for two hundred years, leaving an old man to a hideous death?

Edward Stevens smiled at their fears of the supernatural - until he read a manuscript on female murderers. On one of the pages was a clear photograph of a woman. Under it, in small letters, had been printed:

Marie D'Aubray
Guillotined for Murder, 1861

Edward Stevens was looking at a photograph of his own wife.

Having lost all his money in hare-brained get-rich-quick schemes, old Angus Campbell has nothing to leave his heirs but the proceeds of his life insurance policies. After he falls to his death from a locked bedchamber in the tower of Shira Castle in the Scottish Highlands, his family gather. They are joined by amateur sleuth Dr Gideon Fell, who tries to solve the mystery. Is it suicide, or is it murder?

From Shira to Glencoe Gideon Fell trains his forensic intelligence on trying to discover the truth behind events. In the meantime a tabloid press reporter endlessly falls foul of the redoubtable lady of the house, two young people fall in love while arguing incessantly, and a cast of locals come and go as if this is all a normal days occurrence. And all the while bodies continue to pile up . . .

The Case of the Constant Suicides is a masterfully plotted locked-room mystery from the master of the art.

At the edge of the woods by the river stands the tower. Once part of a chateau since burnt down, only the tower remains. The inside is but a shell with a stone staircase climbing spirally up the wall to a flat stone roof with a parapet.

One that parapet the body of Howard Brooke lay bleeding. The murderer, when Brooke's back was turned, must have drawn the sword-cane from it sheath and run him through the body. And this must have occurred between ten minutes to four and five minutes past four, when the two children discovered him dying.

Yet the evidence showed conclusively that during this time not a living soul came near him.

The newspapers dubbed the thief the 'Mad Hatter,' and his outrageous pranks amused all London. but the laughter turned to horror when a corpse with a crossbow through the heart was found at the Tower of London in a top hat.

As Dr. Gideon Fell was to discover, the whole case turned on the matter of hats-- in fact, threatened to become a nightmare of hats. For the victim was none other than Sir William Bitton's nephew, dressed in a golfing suit and wearing Sir William's stolen opera hat. And tying Sir William to his murdered nephew with a scarlet thread was the stolen manuscript of a completely unknown story said to be the handiwork of Edgar Allan Poe.

In a tale as freighted with menace as the Traitor's Gate, portly Dr. Fell unravels a crime unique by even his standards of the bizarre.
Beside the dead body of Sir Maurice Lawes are the shattered fragments of a snuff-box that once belonged to Napoleon. These fragments tell a tale, or rather two tales, one true and one false. Now, an English expert in criminology forces the evidence to tell the truth about what happened and to point out the real murderer.
The bunk’s mattress was soaked wit blood.
The old-fashioned razor was folded shut.
But it had been recently used. It was smeared with blood.

A voice broke the terrible stillness in the stateroom: “The Blind Barber Has Been Here Tonight!”

On an Atlantic crossing of the good ship Queen Victoria, a vicious killer is loose, and four high-living characters are hellbent to pin him down. Dr. Gideon Fell soon finds himself up to his chins in misadventure as he wades into a comedy of terrors that boasts a reel of compromising film, an emerald elephant, and a lethal razor for props, murder as the evils deed, and unmitigated mayhem as the comedy relief.