20 Books of 2020 – Book one

Two days ago I finished The Problem of the Green Capsule a couple days ago. Embarrassingly, this not-at-all-lengthy mystery by John Dickson Carr took me nine days. I kept falling asleep having read no more than ten pages. This was not the fault of the book. I was just tired. The book is probably my favorite Carr for plot. There’s a mansion with an odd family. The wealthy Marcus Chesney, his niece, her fiance, his brother, an old friend, an assistant, living in the small town of Sodbury Cross where a terrible poisoning took place months earlier. Children poisoned with chocolate creams and many people in the town believe it was done by the niece was responsible and in age-old small town fashion harrass her. Marcus Chesney believes, not without reason, that eyewitnesses always get it wrong. So he sets up a little experiment to prove it. He puts on a little show with the niece and their friend the psychologist and the fiance filming the whole thing. Chesney hopes to prove to them all what inaccurate witnesses they are, but he also proves there’s an extremely clever murderer on the loose. It is not a locked room, but it may as well be. It is impossible for any of the witnesses to say what really happened, despite seeing the murderer do the job right in from of them.

I enjoyed this one and did not feel like he cheated in the solution as I have with others I’ve read. The solution is clever and yet I felt as though I should have thought of it. I don’t think I have anything very much to say about it.

I am also thinking in addition to starting early, I will finish late. You see, in America, summer unofficially goes from Memorial Day (last Monday in May) to Labor Day (first Monday in September.) And this year, Memorial Day was the 25th, as early as it can be, and Labor Day is on the 7th, as late as it can be. The longest summer and we’re all hunkering down inside so as not to catch coronavirus. Plus if it takes me over a week to read a book that size, it’s going to take me a year and 3 months to read the rest.