the crooked hinge

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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Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge 2011 – Completion

I participated on the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge 2011 hosted by the wonderful Bev Hankins of My Readers Block. My participation level was “In a Murderous Mood” where one had to read four-six books from the mystery category written before 1960,

I completed the challenge last month.

We had been told that we’ll be receiving prizes beforehand and I was pretty excited about it. And as promised I received The Crooked Hinge by John Dickson Carr.

For a mystery buff like me this is truly exciting! So, here’s a big ‘Thank you’ to Bev!

Books Completed:

1. Dead Man’s Folly. Agatha Christie.

2. The Mystery of the Yellow Room. Gaston Leroux.

3. The Circular Staircase. Mary Roberts Rinehart.

4. The Murder at the Vicarage. Agatha Christie.

5. Plot It Yourself . Rex Stout.

6. The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Agatha Christie.