Thursday, August 29, 2019

Dr. Fell, Detective & Other Stories

Dr. Fell, Detective & Other Stories (1947) by John Dickson Carr (intro by Ellery Queen) is a collection of eight short stories--five starring Dr. Gideon Fell and three miscellaneous mysteries. One of the three has a very similar premise to the earlier novel Till Death Do Us Part, though the denouement differs. This is a new-to-me collection, but I have read (and enjoyed) many of these stories before or full-length novel by Carr which fleshed out these ideas in more detail. ★★★★

Dr. Fell Stories
"The Proverbial Murder": Dr. Gideon Fell takes on the impossible shooting of a suspected German spy. It all depends on a stuffed wildcat, the use of a gun that couldn't have made the fatal shot, and....Fell's memory of a proverb.

"The Locked Room": This one involves the attempted murder of Francis Seton--apparently hit over the head with a piece of lead-loaded broom handle and his safe robbed while his secretary and librarian sat outside the only door and the window was locked.

"The Wrong Problem": Dr. Fell and Superintendent Hadley are walking near a lake when they come across a man who wants their help with a problem. He tells the story of murders in the past...but the solution isn't what he needs their help with.

"The Hangman Won't Wait": Dr. Fell is convinced that a condemned woman is innocent and finds the proof just in the nick of time.

"A Guest in the House": Harriet Davis thinks her uncle is losing it. Not only has he turned off the burglar alarm that protected his valuable paintings (two Rembrandts and a Van Dyke), but he has moved them from a secure room on the upper floor to a downstairs room with French windows. Then he's killed while burglarizing his own home...It will take Dr. Gideon Fell to discover the rhyme and reason behind it all.

"The Devil in the Summer House": In the opening scene two men, Mr. Parker the lawyer of the family that lived her and Captain Burke of the homicide squad, meet on the grounds of a long abandoned home on a dark and stormy night. Twenty-five years earlier, the summer house behind the garden was the scene of the death of the master of the house. It was ruled a suicide...but was it? Parker has come back now because he recently received a letter from someone...who must surely now be dead. But what has brought Burke here?

"Will You Walk Into My Parlor?": A police officer masquerading as a fortune teller warns a rich man that his lovely, innocent-looking, soon-to-be fiancee may be husband-killer in disguise. But others in this story may not be who they seem to be either. 

"Strictly Diplomatic": When Andrew Dermot is sent on holiday for his health, he finds a tonic for his heart in more ways than one--falling in love with Betsy Weatherill, former schoolmistress. But then he watches his lady walk into a closed arbor where she "had vanished like a puff of smoke."

Finished 8/24/19
Deaths =  6: 3 shot; 3 stabbed

1 comment:

J.G. said...

As a general rule, I don't read mysteries -- but these sound really good! Glad you enjoyed them!