Part 2 – Banner Deadlines – The Impossible Files of Senator Brooks U. Banner: Joseph Commings (1947-84)

Right. Let’s get back to the inimitable Brooks U. Banner and his impossible escapades. Part one kicked us off with the first half of Commings selected short impossible works, and in this post, I’ll wrap up the collection and drop in a little reflection on the closing piece from another master of the impossible crime, Ed Hoch.

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You can read my intro to Commings, his writing practice and the creation of Banner in part one, so, for now, we’ll get straight into it. (And it’s worth noting that the dates given here are taken from the collection and represent the date of publication not the date of writing. I imagine it’s difficult to find out when some of these were written vs the time they were actually able to be printed. So, just to be clear Commings wasn’t writing from beyond the grave in 2004:

Murderers’ Progress (1960) – ★1/2
A doozy (yes I said doozy) of a setup, in which Banner is tasked by five friends from his secret magic club to solve five impossible ‘murders’ given to him in five envelopes. All in good fun, of course, that is until the murders turn real and Banner needs to pull the strands together quick. A rich tapestry is woven here at the early stages, and Commings makes what should be a ludicrous set up seem totally natural. And the idea of one of the five taking the chance to actually kill others through the game is brilliant and would have made a wonderful novel if Commings has decided to go for it. The problem is that as soon as the murder is there, we don’t see or hear any more of these five crimes and it all falls a bit flat. The impossible set up is great, but in the end very see-through. It relies on an annoying moment which stretches fair play (which was drawn to my attention on Christian’s review), and the solution itself stretches things and will divide rooms I’m sure. In fact this story deserves a bigger discussion about how ludicrous a locked room solution can be, and how context needs to frame extremely well to make something ludicrous seems reasonable, but I digress.

Castanets, Canaries and Murder (1962) – 
A man is stabbed in the back in a TV studio. He is shooting a scene for an up and coming famous film and the entire event is caught on camera, with the whole stage set in shot. But when the footage is examined no one is seen to come near the man. This story has mixed opinions but I found myself drawn into it (although this has some of the more troubling views of the time). There is a funny thing here that I possibly enjoyed this story more for the fact that I could see what the solution would before it came.  There is a technical aspect to the method which I was aware of (aware of it generally, not in regards to this book), which meant that I found it all rather clever. 

The X Street Murders (1962) – 
A package is delivered to an office building in –. When the receptionist takes the package into the office of her boss two gunshots ring out. The man is killed, and when the package is opened it contains the still smoking gun that fired the bullets. The package, however, had not been punctured, and the woman was witnessed speaking to her boss by two others. This is Commings most famous story, and you can see why what a cracking set up! I read this one early on in my locked room endeavors – as it’s pretty much the only one that gets a re-print – and in my memory, it shone very brightly. On second read I wasn’t as enamored. It’s pretty convoluted, and some aspects are not as clean as they could be (certain requirements here and there to make things work), and it does leave you asking why anyone would go to all the trouble. But still a classic, and with some of Commings’ most memorable characters. 

Hangmans House (1962) – 
Banner is stranded in a freak rainstorm and ends up boarding a little bus carrying a few others caught in the rain. The bus fails and they have to pull into an old worn down mansion house, which happens to be owned by one of the other passengers. Madness ensues and that man is soon found dead, hung from the chandelier in the middle of a vast ballroom. A ballroom completely covered in dust with no footprints anywhere to be found. This one is… how to I describe it? Pretty mad? Ridiculous? I can hear Gervase Fen cursing me for damning the use of ‘coincidence’, but it’s too liberal here. And then the solution, I’m battling with it. I read another short not long ago by a Japanese author who used a similar idea, but it worked better because it was an accident. Whereas here, again, there just isn’t a point to the level of work needed to pull this off. This is a story that struggles simply because the impossibility is not contextualised. 

The Giants Sword (1963) – ★★★
This is just solid stuff. Simple, effective, while keeping firmly in the camp of original and fun. An art dealer found to be selling fake works is found dead in his office, with a sword plunged deep into his chest. The only issue is that the sword is so heavy and so large that no one barely had the strength to pick the thing up let alone drive it so deeply into the victim. There are echoes of Chesterton’s The Hammer of God here, but the solution veers in a different direction and is pretty satisfying. Enjoy 

Stairway to Nowhere (1979) – ★★
This one is unique in the collection as it’s a collaborative piece written by Commings and another locked room master Ed Hoch. I had high hopes for this one with having both these writers behind the wheel, and Commings and Hoch being such good friends. A woman walks into an apartment to get away from the man who has been pestering her all night. The man outside hears her go up the steps inside, but then her footsteps abruptly stop. He runs in after and she is not to found anywhere, and there is a reliable witness at the top of the winding case that says no one came up. Unfortunately, I thought this story was really awful. Funnily enough, the writing style was so much different with Hoch in, but not for the better, and I felt the solution to the impossibility, although very clean and simple in the idea wasn’t fairly clued, and therefore lost its impact for me. In essence one of those great ideas, not followed through. Christian thinks a little differently about this one, so for a more balanced opinion check out his write up as well. 

The Vampire in the Iron Mask (1984) – ★★1/2
It probably speaks volumes to the type of story this is that I can hardly remember what happened. One too many ideas here that everything is a bit muddled. This one should have been a novel really, and you can see Carr doing wonders with it. The general set up, however, is enticing. A masked vampire strangles a young boy in a cemetery covered in untouched snow. The only footprints are leading to the body and back from a mausoleum that has been locked for 100’s of years. When the door is broken down written in the dust of the coffin is the word vampire, even though the dust all around is unbroken (and that’s just two of the many problems presented in this one!) I wish the letters on the coffin had a better solution as I love that as a unique problem. 

The Whispering Gallery (2004) ★★★★★
And then Commings brings the heat for the final story of the collection with a tale of multiple impossible shootings, in that each time the bullet whole is examined it is shown that the gunman must have been upside down floating in midair while firing the shot. The slow, creeping setup, the macabre setting, and cast (complete with fortune teller) and the absolute audacity if the solution is another room divider but I enjoyed it. The solution is also very nicely and interestingly clued, and visual device of which is used in one of my favorite Jonathan Creek episodes

Afterword:
The collection ends with a sweet and poignant memoir written by Commings close friend and locked room master Ed Hoch. It reveals post-war how Commings was developing a locked room mystery collection and Hoch submitted a story to it and this would have been Hoch’s first ever sale. Unfortunately, the collection was rejected and this seemed to become a theme for Commings, not because of bad writing but for some reason a few key publishers had taken a disliking to the Banner character. Commings could never get into Ellery Queen’s mystery magazine, and very interestingly in Hoch’s landmark anthology All But Impossible, which contains the famous locked room top 15 list of which myself and JJ concentrated three podcast episodes on, 
originally had a Commings short story, but it was the only one rejected by the publisher. Hoch states that Commings was very ill by this point and so never told him that it had been dropped.

To everyone’s surprise, Commings then went on to produce a series of soft-core sex novels in the ’60s and ’70s (one of which had a bank robbery but which Hoch tells us ‘wasn’t primarily a crime novel’… I bet it wasn’t!). If there were tensions around printing the Banner stories my guess is that they may have been around Banner’s old-time sexist chatter, which may be revealing itself further in these erotic novels? But sexism and eroticism in literature don’t necessarily go hand in hand, and the rest of the stuff getting printed by these magazines wasn’t really any better, so who knows?

A stroke in 1971 meant that his writing days were done, and at this point, Hoch managed to sell their collaborative effort Stairway to Heaven to Mike Shaine’s Mystery Magazine, who then ironically asked for more unpublished Banner works and they continued to print them. In 1992 Commings passed away.

This is a precious little collection and a great piece of work from Crippen and Landru. There is so much to love here and to simply enjoy. If you have the same luck I had and find a copy, grab it as quick as you can.

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Banner Deadlines – The Impossible Files of Senator Brooks U. Banner: Joseph Commings (1947-84) Part 1

The new year has treated me well with a number of fantastic Golden Age finds while trawling through second hand bookshops. As many of you that share my obsession know, there are some books that seem forever elusive and out of reach. Therefore I was overjoyed when I came across a brand new, affordable copy of Banner Deadlines, a collection of some of the best short impossible crime works by Joseph Commings.

I mentioned this is passing to JJ on one of our locked room podcast recordings, and he went to the same second hand shop, and low and behold he found a copy too! The stars aligned. Banner Deadlines, collected and printed by Crippen and Landru the publishing house of many lost GAD works, gathers together 14 short stories featuring the inimitable Senator Brooks U. Banner. The gargantuan Banner has more than a whiff of Carr’s Sir Henry Merrivale about him, but with a more maniacal wardrobe and a New York upbringing. Each tale is a pure impossible crime, and creating the most inventive locked room set ups is the aim of each story. Indeed the success of this collection is in it’s ingenuity and rollicking sense of fun. I feels like Commings really doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He just wants to go full scale and roll with it. When reading this collection many of the ideas are so audacious and wonderful that they will stick you for you years to come. But with ingenious set ups have to come ingenious solutions, motives and clues, and Commings doesn’t always deliver, but when he does he really does.

In the introduction written by locked room expert and anthologist Robert Adey, he writes about how Commings initially began writing while he was serving as a soldier in Sardinia during the second world war, as a way of entertaining himself and his fellow officers. Again this sense of personal fun, and the aim of write the most entertaining stories is the feel that comes across from these works. Therefore, in the earliest stories, the clunky writing of a hobbyist is apparent, but the quality jumps dramatically when we get to a time post WW2 when Commings has found a platform for publishing his works.

Funnily enough the best comparisons I can give for the feel of these stories are contemporary ones. These tales read like a mix between Galileo and Jonathan Creek. Galileo for many solutions that require a certain specific, almost scientific, occurrence to take place for the impossibility to work and Jonathan Creek (for Commings best works) for the sense of macabre audacity and focus on magic.

With a collection as large as this I would usually pick a top few works, but as this is a rare find and there are very little of Commings works collected elsewhere I will go for it and introduce each tale, with a little rating and how I feel about it. And I’ll split it over two weeks and two posts so as not to give you a migraine. As ever it will be spoiler free, but I will be discussing the impossible premise of each story so if you want to come to this fresh feel free to skip the rest! So without further ado we begin:

Murder Under Glass (1947) –
A wild start to the collection with one of Commings earliest works, a famous glass blower is found — to death inside a locked room, the main issue hear being that the room is made entirely of glass, as is all the furniture and the door itself. No glass is broken and the bolt is locked solid from the inside. A unique start and it felt like the perfect story with which to be introduced to Banner, but the solution is just one step past audacious for me and in my opinion could have been simpler (though maybe one day I will change my mind). Commings’ prose are extremely over written at this early stage; he loves a good metaphor, and writes a good one, but one every line becomes ridiculous and a little grating. Thankfully he would shed this verbosity as his works went on.

Finger Print Ghost (1947) –
A spiritualist claims to be able to give information to a family about a past tragedy through a seance. A magician wanting to call him out suggests that he can get the same results if not more in his own seance, to show him up for a charlatan. The set up is extremely tightly wound, the magician is totally in the dark, inside a cabinet, inside a straight jacket tied to a chair. All the other members wear straight jackets, the the door is locked and watched from the outside and they are all in pitch darkness. No small feat then. Silence drops, but after 5 minutes of no noise one of the party is concerned and they call for the lights to be turned on. The magician is dead, stabbed, and to top it all off there are a set of finger prints that don’t match anyone involved. This story predates a famous ‘no finger prints impossibility’ by a number of years, which was a nice surprise, and is pretty audacious. The strength of this story was a few lovely moments in the reveal where clues are unearthed that were waved in your face quite clearly. Anyone who knows and loves the mechanics of fakery in classic seances will love this one.

Spectre on the Lake (1947) – ★1/2
I loved the set up for this one. Banner is on an enforced holiday at a dusty old establishment in the Catskills named the Mad Moon Inn . Lounging in front of the lake at the back of the estate Banner watches two men push out together on a little boat to fish. Once they are in the middle of the lake Banner hears a shot and finds that one man is down and the other looks like he trying to push something away from behind his head, and then the second shot. When he makes it out to the boat both men have been shot in the back of the head at close range, and there is no other person there and no weapon. Commings spins a super eerie atmosphere on this one (although the metaphors still abound), and the solution has some canny elements (although one of them is handled much better by Crispin in one of his shorts) but some parts may leave you asking, really

The Black Friar Murders (1948) – ★★
Now Commings is hitting his stride. The writing has vastly improved and his ability to produce solid atmosphere and well observed characters are allowing the pace and fun of the story to flourish. Banner is summoned to an ancient monastery out on an island, cut off from the main once the water washes over. The legend of the monastery is the Black Friar, who can kill in locked rooms, and then pass through solid walls to escape. And you guessed it the Black Friar strikes again, and is witnessed, blade in hand, over the body before dashing across the room and through the ancient walls of the monastery. The ruse for hiding the killer knocked my socks off and I should have seen it coming 1000 miles away, which was all the better. And the little conceit that Banner pulls to draw it out is gorgeous. The solution to the vanishing friar is insane, and will divide audiences I’m sure, but on reflection it’s audacity makes me like it more and more.

Ghost in the Gallery (1949) –
‘That afternoon Linda Carewe poisoned her husband. She poisoned him with arsenic.’ A nice opening to a sweet little impossible crime and a unique set up. Linda runs to her secret lover at a popular art gallery exclaiming that she has finally killed her husband. That is until the dead man walks round the corner asking them if they believe in ghosts. After a chase they see him sitting in a room with a glass panel in door, but when they break the door down he has vanished. This is the most ‘Galileo’ of the stories, particularly with the solution. Overall a little too simple for my taste, and the method is pretty transparent. But still a good ride.

Death by Black Magic (1948) – ★★★
Everything about this story is wonderful. The pace, the writing, the premise, the atmosphere and the very small cast of characters. The great stage illusionist Xanthe asks Banner to come and observe an ancient illusion he is reworking for his new show. Vanishing from ‘The Chinese Cabinet’, a three walled cabinet with a curtain up front, will be performed on the very same stage that it was attempted the last time many years ago with sinister consequences. The rundown theatre has been closed since that day, and all the rusted doors remain locked and chained on the inside. Banner sits in the audience, Xanthe is on stage and his daughter Konstanz, who acts as assistant for the trick, pulls the curtain across and stands 10 feet away. After an uncomfortable gap of silence, Banner runs up to pull the curtain back and Xanthe has been strangled to death. Some clever time changes and the use of an older impossible crime to draw the threads together is delicious. Some of you with specific knowledge about stage illusions may see through the solution, but its great nevertheless. My favourite of the collection.

A nice way to conclude part one – join me next post for the second half of the collection including much more locked room madness and an afterword written by impossible crime extraordinaire Ed Hoch.

The Men Who Explain Miracles – Episode 8:1 -The Impossible Crimes of Paul Halter

We are back with another episode of TMWEM and very excited for this two parter. Myself and JJ of The Invisible Event are looking at the modern locked room aficionado Paul Halter. As I have read none of Halter’s work, JJ is going to try and convince me over these two episodes get to get stuck in.

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In this episode we discuss who on earth Paul Halter is, what he does and where he is placed in the world of all things impossible.

You can listen to the episode here on JJ’s blog

As ever the comments section is open for debate and furious discussion, so pop over and join us. Enjoy!

The White Priory Murders: Carter Dickson (1934) – Does having an authors entire career before you make reading ‘un-fair-play’?

I continue with my current John Dickson Carr (Carter Dickson) binge, and I have come to the conclusion that I officially love being told that a work by Carr is sub standard. Because every time I then seem to love the book!

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I was told Graveyard to Let wasn’t worth a huge amount of time, and now it’s one of my top locked room works. This also goes for The Problem of the Wire Cage, and Nine and Death Makes Ten. It seems that many of us on the bloggersphere over the last few years have had similar experiences with Carr, and that the works always seen as the top tier are being replaced somewhat by ‘lesser’ titles.

I’m not a fool though. I realise that Patrick Butler for the Defense, when I get round to it, is never going to be a surprise smash hit (although there must be good elements to it right? Somewhere?), and Blind Barber was never going to get any easier to read even with the four month break I took at the half way point. And if Ben’s recent review of Papa La Bas is anything to go by, I haven’t got much to look forward to there. However these books are talked about as simply and objectively bad. But these aside, many of Carr’s works are discussed as if they are missing something, or that they don’t compare to the heights achieved in his ‘masterpieces’. This in recent years has lowered my expectation of certain Carr books, only to have these works unexpectedly reveal something wonderful.

This has got me thinking: when we have an authors entire oeuvre in front of us, does that make reading their works a fair process?

As an example I’m looking at the The White Priory Murders, an early Carr novel and one of his first impossible crime works. In reading about this the main opinion seems to be that it’s a brilliant locked room with an amazing solution trapped in a sensationalist and dragging story. So I was geared up for that. I had held off till I had a bit more time, and at 250 pages it’s one Carr’s longer ones. I was ready for a real wrestle just to get to the solution. But, I ended up having the reverse experience.

It felt to me that each scene made sense being there, characters or dialogue didn’t seem superfluous, and even with the extended page count, each piece fitted together in a gorgeous plot with simple but shocking turns over the chapters that it kept me going at high pace. The glamorous Hollywood Movie Star Marcia Tait has traveled to England to make a new film. Staying at the gorgeous White Priory, she insists on sleeping the night in the Pavilion. A building set in the middle of a huge lake, with only one footpath to reach it. The lake is frozen solid. Both the ice and the path are covered with fresh snow after Tait goes in for the night, and it’s proved that no one went in with her. However early morning comes and Tait is found beaten to death, with no footprints left in the snow. The cast surrounding Tait, her agent, lover, play write and all the other trappings of fame, all wanted to control her, but was she playing a roll or was she the one in control?

A great set up and I couldn’t wait to get to the solution. I had heard it was highly original and a real kicker. But alas it was ruined for me. Another lesser author had stolen the solution for another work, and done it so much worse, which meant that I was onto it from early on. But Carr does it so so well, and the misdirection and the clicking of pieces together by the end is luscious. How the dog keeps coming into play is a particular favourite, and there are large amounts of false solutions and ideas presented. It felt as if Carr at this early stage of locked room writing was saying, “I see your no-footprints solution and I raise you 3 more solutions, all of which are false.”

Seeing the solution coming in the distance was another reason why I had a reverse experience with this book. I wasn’t plowing to get to the end and although many say that the middle drags, I was waiting for that moment but didn’t find it myself. Maybe I was in a good mood, and I’ve got it wrong, I’m not sure. There are certainly some sensationalist parts to this book, some misogyny, and some early Carr verbosity (but not to the level of It Walks By Night), but Carr is dealing with the world of Hollywood meats British academia which in itself is a pretty farcical setup. And he lets the caricatures have their day. Carr also knowingly subverts this; Merrivale making a few comments on how people are talking ‘as if they are in a stupid detective play’, so maybe this is the early stages of his subversion that we would see in the more post-modern breakdowns in the likes of The Hollow Man. With that in mind lets head back to the question of Oeuvre .

I have spoken in mine and JJ’s locked room podcast about how strange it is that we are almost always looking back when reading classic GAD. We are looking back on authors’ entire bodies of work in one go, it’s a unique experience. But being able to stand back from an entire life’s work can have negative effects on how certain works are seen. It is much easier for works to become unfairly mythologised (Hollow Man / Murder of Roger Ackroyd) and become supposedly representative of what the writer was trying to achieve in their entire writing career. My feeling is that by not being there at the time of the release of a book, we miss something about what the writer was trying to achieve in that one work at that time, and not over a whole career.

In a funny way I had built a strange anxiety about reading Carr, in that I wanted each one I read to be ‘the one’. The one I could give to people to draw them into GAD, the one that would be representative of his career, and of the ‘master of the locked room’. But I think sometimes these mythologised titles we give to GAD authors and the context of the ‘masterpieces’ they achieved, is unhelpful in approaching their work. We can miss what gems there are in each work by unfairly laboring them with what is to come.

When myself JJ and Ben did our podcast two-parter on the Ages of John Dickson Carr it opened my eyes to see his work in a totally fresh way. I have stopped trying to look at Carr as a locked room master but as an experimental crime, supernatural and suspense author, who was trying out new things with each work and constantly stretching and challenging the boundaries of his genre.

But in saying all this, I know that as I read these lesser known works I can enjoy a ‘substandard’ Carr more because I know that he wrote even better. I can see the light shimmering in the cracks knowing what is to come. So maybe then it’s not a struggle with contextualising an author in terms of their career but maybe a false contextualising that makes you think that a writer had a certain type of writing focus that they actually didn’t, and therefore reading their books in that context isn’t entirely fair-play to them?

This may come under the huge mental subheading of ‘things that only I think are interesting’ but I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Speak soon friends

Hags Nook: John Dickson Carr (1933)

Back to another Carr. This one is from his early years and the first novel to feature one of Carr’s titanic series detectives Dr Gideon Fell.

Love this Penguin cover, the illustration is lush and has a great balance of story telling while not giving away too much

Hags Nook concerns the terrors of Chatterham Prison, or rather it’s ruins, that stand on the site of the Starberth family home. The Starberths have the history of being governors of the ancient prison, but they also have the history of all being found dead from broken necks. Chatterham, that was built by the hands of prisoners that were to die there, has below it’s faceless main wall a huge and endlessly deep pit cut out of the ground, known as The Hag’s Nook. It was into here that witches and heathen’s were thrown from a balcony above, a noose slipped over their head, the drop deep enough to allow their neck to break if they were lucky.

The Starberth family have another historical haunting to their family line. To inherit the estate, the eldest son must spend one night at Chatterham Prison, and at an appointed time they must open the safe in the governors room and look at what ever is inside. The contents of the safe are unknown to anyone except the family lawyer.

Against the rest of the more modern Starberth families’ wishes, the eldest son takes on the tradition. Dr Gideon Fell is called in to make sure all goes as suspected, and the room is watched from the outside the whole time. But when the light in the window goes out too early panic sets in, and when they find the eldest son below the balcony, his neck broken on the edge of the Hag’s Nook, it’s just the beginning of the terrors.

As you can tell from just this bare plot outline Hag’s Nook is absolutely soaked in gothic macabre. It’s still those early bright eyed days of Carr where he is riding on the back of his love for Poe but has surpassed the more heavy handed and overwritten prose of It Walks By Night, and the plotting, misdirection and sheer breadth of ideas that would make his later novels absolute masterworks of the genre are starting to shine through.

It was very interesting to read Hag’s Nook in the light of myself and fellow blogger JJ’s most recent podcast two parter, where Ben from the Green Capsule set out a new way of looking at the career of Carr. As I mentioned at the start Hag’s Nook is the first novel to feature Dr Gideon Fell, the series detective who would go on to be the lead in some of Carr’s most famous works like The Hollow Man and The Problem of the Green Capsule. Ben brought out in our podcast how different the early Fell character and the developed Fell character are, and how Fell almost switches places with Sir Henry Merrivle, Carr’s other series detective (under his Carter Dickson pseudonym) in terms of the types of characters. Those who have read any of the best Merrivale works like The Judas Window, She Died a Lady, The Reader is Warned or Nine… and Death makes Ten will know Merrivale as a blusteringly brilliant comic figure filling any page he appears on. But in Hag’s Nook, Fell is so much like later career Merrivale it’s uncanny. We even see Fell’s home, meet his wife and hear of his obsession with the study of drunkenness in every culture – all of which are points of comedy fodder that have the finger prints of Merrivale all over them.

Having said that I have just finished The White Priory Murders (review to come soon), the second Merrivale novel, and although the humour is there, there is a more refined and satirical edge to it than is apparent here in Hag’s Nook. Again you can see in this book that Carr is beginning to work everything out including his use of humour.

To come back to the plot – and I feel like I say this kind of thing a lot – but just go an read it! It’s bloody brilliant! I love the kind of solution that Carr weaves with Hag’s Nook. Not the main deception and misdirection of the crime – although that is brilliant and I can imagine even then it might be a fairly original idea for the time, and it has been copied to death since – but the way the deception is carried out in the face of difficulty and complexity for both the killer and the victim. There is a nice link to be made to the solution(s) here and some of what Hake Talbot was trying to do with the impossibilities in The Rim of the Pit.

What I also loved about this book was the real terror that Carr draws out. Carr does macabre very very well, but genuine terror is less of a feature. But it’s here in spades, enough to send genuine chills down your spine. The setting and the build up of tension is superb and there is one description of a character trying to pick up the victim at the edge of Hag’s Nook and feeling his broken neck in his hand which I will never ever be able to forget. Interestingly the first Merrivale story The Plague Court Murders is also properly terrifying. Carr liked to set his detectives off with a strong dose of fear, you could even say the same for Bencolin… another post maybe.

Hag’s Nook is certainly early career Carr so for those who have read his best you will see the gaps and issues here (although a lower tear Carr would still beat most other detective books hands down), but you still won’t be disappointed. Watching the early days of the master at work is such a joy to behold.

The Men Who Explain Miracles – Episode 7: part 2 -The Ages of John Dickson Carr

Part 2 is of our most recent podcast looking at John Dickson Carr’s incredible output of works is now up and ready for your listening ears! For the second round, myself and fellow bloggers JJ and Ben, take on the second half of Carr’s career finishing up with a few indulgent chats about favourites from his oeuvre. Enjoy, and as ever do get involved in the comments and discussion.

You can listen and find all our other episodes right here over at JJ’s blog

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The Men Who Explain Miracles – Episode 7: part 1 -The Ages of John Dickson Carr

It is as always, with great joy, that I announce that myself and fellow blogger JJ have the next episode of our locked room mystery podcast online. This one is going to be a two parter over the two weekends, and has been one of my favourites to make. Not just because we are discussing the career of the wonderful John Dickson Carr in detail, but because the facilitator of our conversation is a very exciting special guest and a good friend. But… no spoilers about that! You can listen to the episode here over at JJ’s blog. Enjoy, and as ever join us in the comments section for discussion and debate.

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