The Detective Fiction of John Dickson Carr

“You borrow detective stories; you invest in a Carr.”

– Torquemada, Observer, 23rd February 1936

“We begin to suspect that Dickson Carr has now waded through slaughter to the very throne of literary detection.”

– Torquemada, Observer, 10th April 1938

“It demonstrates once again Mr. Carr’s uncanny skill at blending the normal with the bizarre, the real with the impossible.”

– Nicholas Blake, Spectator, 17th December 1937

“When we see the silhouette of Dr. Fell on the jacket of a book we are sure of an ingenious plot, some hair-raising horror and just that tincture of something rich and strange that takes a book out of the region of the commonplace and transports the reader into a queer world.  Yet in Mr. Carr’s hands the queerest things seem credible.”

Times Literary Supplement, 22nd October 1938

“Mr. John Dickson Carr, alias Carter Dickson, has a good claim to be considered the soundest practising craftsman of the essential detective story.”

Times Literary Supplement, 31st July 1959

John Dickson Carr (alias Carter Dickson, alias Carr Dickson, alias Roger Fairbairn) was perhaps the greatest deviser of murderous plots, of titanic misdirection, of surprising villains, of impossible murders, of supernatural atmospheres, of frightening and fantastic characters, and of high comedy cheek-by-jowl with passages of spine-chilling terror. His series detectives were the Chestertonian Dr. Gideon Fell; the loud and irascible Sir Henry Merrivale, based on Mycroft Holmes with a dash of Winston Churchill; and the Satanic Henri Bencolin.


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Acknowledgements: My thanks to Douglas G. Greene, Carr's biographer (John Dickson Carr: The Man Who Explained Miracles, Otto Penzler, 1995); to Grobius Shortling; to Christian Henriksson; to Don Briago; and to Kiriakos Papadopoulos.

These pages copyright Nicholas Lester Fuller, 2000--2010. Last modified 4th December 2004.