Death-Watch by John Dickson Carr

My first John Dickson Carr and, of course, my first Dr. Gideon Fell mystery – kind of a cross between Nero Wolfe and Gervase Fen.  He gets around more than Wolfe, though he needs two sticks to do it, but he’s as eccentric/scholarly, I think, as Fen.   Death-Watch is complicated.   I gather that’s one of Carr’s signatures.   I enjoyed it except for the early scene in the room with the recently deceased mystery man with a clock hand through his neck.   People walking around, drinking brandy, moving stuff, when the cops finally show up with the fingerprint and other investigative equipment, I just roll my eyes and think what’s the point. Fell even has the body turned over!   Argh.   I hate that.   But you just have to let go and see Fell as a police-substitute, even though Scotland Yard is right there.   Their sole purpose is to propose wrong solutions and be an audience for Fell when he figures it all out.   He’s allowed to walk off with evidence, everyone waits until he gets there and finds other things to do when he needs some time.   It’s a bit ridiculous, but I think the solution is fair.   Mostly, anyway.   Partly it relies on knowing the layout of the house which is described, but not drawn out — I couldn’t picture it at all.   A diagram would’ve been very helpful.   I still don’t think I would’ve gotten it, but I would’ve at least understood the layout of the house.   (Which had I think it said a 60′ x 20′ hallway upstairs??   Which substitutes as a ballroom?)   I’ll read at least one more.   Maybe a few.   Not sure yet whether I like thee, Dr. Fell, or not.

Image

Sadly, I did not have this cover.

This counts as another Cozy, I believe, and also Vintage Golden Bingo – Book by an Author I’ve never read Before.

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One thought on “Death-Watch by John Dickson Carr”

  1. I read this one before my blogging days–so I can’t comment much on it. I do like John Dickson Carr as a rule–though he is a bit bizarre at times. And, like you, I wish I had the Dell mapback edition that you picture above. I love those little books!

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