Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Mad Hatter Mystery by John Dickson Carr

Synopsis From Back Cover:

It began with hats.  Stolen hats, vanished all over London, and re-appeared in the most unexpected places.

First, on the head of a lion in Trafalgar Square.

Then, at the top of a Scotland Yard lamppost.

And finally on the corpse of a young newsman found stabbed to death in the ancient Tower of London.

It looked like the work of a madman.  But how could a madman know about the retired General's habits, a certain-jealous husband and wife, the intimate secrets of a great man's house?

It started with hats and ended with murder as Dr. Gideon Fell tackled one of the strangest cases of his career. 

My foray into the world of John Dickson Carr, started last year with The Emperor's Snuffbox. He is an author that I always wanted to get around too, but never seemed to really find the time for.  I absolutely fell in love with his style, and I was looking forward to delving into his writing more in depth.  I'm just now, over a year later, getting to another of his books, and this time around it features one of his most famous creations, Dr. Gideon Fell.

I'm not sure what kind of doctor he is, it really never gets into it in this book, but it's the second book to feature him, so maybe it's explained in the first, Hag's Nook.  When I did a little internet sleuthing of my own about him, he is described as a lexicographer, so I'm going to assume he's not a medial doctor, but in reality, who knows. He is supposedly based, physically and personality-wise, on G.K. Chesterton, the mystery author and theologian.  And now you know as much about him as I do, at least without you having read the book.  By the way, for a pompous know it all, Dr. Gideon Fell is gentler in his manner, and so far, doesn't get on my nerves the way Hercule Poirot or Philo Vance does.  I'm really looking forward to getting to know him a bit more, as I delve into this world further.

As for the mystery itself, it's a huge convoluted maelstrom that had me me completely turned around by the time it was over, and I loved it.  This was not a straightforward story, there were twists and turns galore, and I'm still baffled by a suicide that happened, but I'm sure I must have missed something, because I'm sure it made sense to anyone who has read the book previously.  That's not to say the mystery, or the book itself, is a confusing mess, it's not.  It's actually a well crafted mystery that kept me guessing the entire time I was reading it, and every single one of the twists it took, only added to the experience.


Blodeuedd said...

What a pulp cover :)

Debbie Rodgers said...

I have yet to crack a John Dickson Carr, although I do want to. They are difficult to find at a reasonable price here in Atlantic Canada.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Sounds like a good mystery. Love it when I'm kept guessing. Also, that cover is so classic!

TracyK said...

I haven't read any John Dickson Carr yet, or at least not within memory. And the first one I plan to read is The Emperor's Snuffbox, so I really glad that one worked well as an introduction for you.