john dickson carr

Musing Mondays (Dec.12)

This week’s Musing Mondays from Should Be Reading asks…

“This week’s musing asks…

What kind of books do you like to read? Why? Provide specific examples.

I read Classics and Mysteries with some Non-fiction, Plays and Short Story collections thrown in. But, as indicated in this week’s Musing Mondays post, if you’re talking about reading just one genre obsessively then it’s mystery (as most readers of my blog already know).

Why do I read mysteries? Who knows? All I rememberer is that I received Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volumes 1 & 2 as a gift when I was 13-14 years old. I started reading Volume 1 and before you can say ‘Red-headed League’ I was hooked.

After Sherlock Holmes, my mother introduced me with the works of Agatha Christie and she became my favourite mystery author. My mother had been a Christie fan for a long time as was my grandmother before her. So, you can say a  love for Christie mysteries runs in my blood. I have read all of Christie’s Miss Marple books, all of her plays, most of her Poirot and non-series books.

But even though mystery is my favourite genre I have barely even scratched the surface of it. I have read some Mary Roberts Rinehart, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L. Sayers, John Dickson Carr, Georgette Heyer; etc, etc but I still have so much more to explore. Next year I hope to further explore some of the authors I have already read and discover more new authors.

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Booking Through Thursday : Mystery Or Love Story?

This week’s Booking Through Thursday asks:

“All things being equal, which would you prefer–a mystery? Or a love story?”

Oh this is a no-brainer ! Mystery will always trump love story for me. I find most love stories unpalatable. There are, of course, a few exceptions. Jane Austen’s novels and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights come to mind. But that’s about it. Even in mysteries if the love quotient is a bit high I begin to dislike it. Case in point, Georgette Heyer’s They Found Him Dead or John Dickson Carr’s The Emperor’s Snuff-Box. In that case even my favourite Agatha Christie cannot save the day! In short, I don’t like love stories. It is definitely mysteries for me.

Booking Through Thursday : Category

This week’s Booking Through Thursday asks:

“Of the books you own, what’s the biggest category/genre?

Is this also the category that you actually read the most?”

That’s easy! It’s definitely mystery. I own every Miss Marple book, most of the Hercule Poirot books and many of the non-series mysteries by Agatha Christie, the entire Sherlock Holmes collection by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the entire Father Brown collection by G.K. Chesterton and many more by authors like John Dickson Carr, Ngaio Marsh; etc.

Yes, this is the category That I actually read the most. I am always on the lookout for more mystery treats for me to sink my teeth into!

The Friday 56

The Friday 56 is a bookish meme hosted by Freda’s Voice.

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link up at Freda’s site

Today’s sentence comes from The Crooked Hinge by John Dickson Carr.

“He studied his guests with a long, careful scrutiny; then he opened the glass door and went out into the garden.”

The Crooked Hinge by John Dickson Carr

The Crooked Hinge by John Dickson Carr was published in 1938.

A panel of seventeen detective story writers and reviewers chose The Crooked Hinge as the fourth best locked room mystery of all time. The Hollow Man by the same author was voted the best.

A man has his throat slashed and dies, in full view of at least three people with no killer in sight. Meanwhile, a mysterious automaton, immobile for centuries, suddenly springs to life and a housemaid almost dies of fright. Accusations of witchcraft and foul play abounds, while Dr. Fell investigates.

I loved the atmosphere of this book! Carr manages to create an environment of palpable fear and suspicion.

Till the very end I didn’t know who the real culprit was. My suspicion rested on various characters until the final revelation.

This is a very engrossing read. I barely managed to put it down after picking it up. If work and life had not interfered, I would have finished it at one go.

I learnt about Maelzel’s Chess Player and early automatons in general from this book. That was an extra added bonus.

Having said all that, I was disappointed by The Crooked Hinge. The entire book was so gripping and exciting! But the ending was far-fetched, overcomplicated and oddly dull. This is the same kind of problem that The Hollow Man had.

I just don’t like Carr’s premier detective Dr. Gideon Fell. He seems dull and tends to over explain things.

The book could easily have done without the narrator like character of Page, just like I thought The Hollow Man could have done without Rampole and his wife. None of the characters really stand out. The character of Patrick Gore is a shade duller than the rest of them.

The Crooked Hinge is the third Carr mystery and the second Dr. Fell mystery I’ve read. Overall, there is something missing from John Dickson Carr’s mysteries. They somehow lack the finishing touch that makes a mystery a worthwhile read.

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