Publication Order of Dr. Gideon Fell Books
|Hag's Nook||(1932)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Mad Hatter Mystery||(1933)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Eight of Swords||(1934)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Blind Barber||(1934)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Death-Watch||(1935)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Three Coffins||(1935)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Arabian Nights Murder||(1936)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Crooked Hinge||(1938)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|To Wake the Dead||(1938)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Black Spectacles||(1939)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Problem of the Wire Cage||(1939)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Man Who Could Not Shudder||(1940)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Case of the Constant Suicides||(1941)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Death Turns the Tables||(1942)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|'Til Death Do Us Part||(1944)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|He Who Whispers||(1946)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Sleeping Sphinx||(1947)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Below Suspicion||(1949)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Dead Man's Knock||(1958)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|In Spite of Thunder||(1960)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The House at Satan's Elbow||(1965)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Panic in Box C||(1966)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Dark of the Moon||(1967)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Fell and Foul Play||(1991)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Dr. Gideon Fell is a character who wrote dictionaries (in the early books) and walked with two canes. Later on in the series, it was said he was working on the huge and storied past that the English people have of drinking beer. Fell has a mustache, wears a shovel hat, and a cape. His appearance is based off G.K. Chesterton, who resembled the character that John Dickson Carr created. It is also said that he appears the same as Father Christmas or Chester A. Arthur. Dr. Fell gets hired by the police to investigate crimes that are deemed by the police to be impossible or “locked room mysteries”. He angers the police because he refuses to tell them who committed the particular crime that he has been hired to solve until everything has been put together just right. That being said, however, he will still insist he knows who the killer is, even though the book has just gotten started. He lives in Chatterham with a wife, with whom he does not have any kids with; the pair live together in a quite messy house. Both he and the wife are a little on the eccentric side. Not much is said about the wife, she does not appear very much in the series.
“Hag’s Nook” was the first book in the series featuring Dr. Gideon Fell that was written by John Dickson Carr. This novel is a whodunnit mystery. A young man traveling around England meets (and later falls in love with) Dorothy Starberth, whose family serves as the Governors of Chatterham Prison. He sees her while on a railway platform. The heir of the large estate must spend a night in the Governor’s section of the prison for one night (that overlooks the spot where they used to hang people, when the prison was still doing business), as per the clause in the will. If they want to inherit the last in line’s estate, that is. The family is said to be cursed because of their business management and known for two odd traditions: they die of broken necks. When this heir (Dorothy’s oldest brother) spends his night, sure enough, he turns up with his neck broken; not to mention the fact that at this point, the place is abandoned and rats have become the only things living there. Dr. Fell must put the pieces together in this mystery to figure out what happened to this man.
The book has been praised for its having a solution that was unexpected (but still plausible), it is intriguing, for being unputdownable, and good pacing keeps the book moving along. This book is for those who are huge fans of the mystery genre, and who would like to see where the genre got it’s start. The author is able to get the atmosphere, he captures the character and setting with such graceful prose, leaving the reader thinking that if a series of unlikely events happened, it would happen just like it does in “Hag’s Nook”.
“The Mad Hatter Mystery” was the second book in the series featuring Dr. Gideon Fell that was written by John Dickson Carr. A man named Philip Driscoll is making a name for himself by writing up bizarre crimes where different hats are being taken and later returned to other, strange places. He calls the person doing this “the Mad Hatter”. Back in these times, no one, man or woman, rich or poor, left home not wearing a hat of some kind. Two hats have been lost by this journalist’s uncle alone, who lost them over the course of three days. The uncle, named Sir William Bitton, visits with Dr. Fell, with the intention of talking about Bitton’s having a manuscript of a never before published story by the late Edgar Allen Poe stolen. During the discussion, Sir William learns something about his nephew. Dr. Fell must figure out what to do with the Poe story, and catch the murderer. The book unfolds with people telling Fell and the police listening to people tell them what happened.
The novel has gotten praise for it’s interesting presentation style, Carr’s ability to keep the reader guessing on who exactly the murderer is right up to the very end, and it’s ability to inspire later authors to write their own detective stories. The book is said to be expertly written, showing Carr’s ability to capture atmosphere, sly humor, and the interesting concept the book is based around. Fans have said that this book is to be read for it’s value to history and the spirit of the times. It’s been praised also for its fun read and interesting setting.
As the books came out, before a lot of the forensics aspect of crime solving started being used in storytelling came along, these books rely more on clues, putting every piece of the puzzle together to figure out who the killer is. These books also have a sort of supernatural quality to them, added to all the real world parts. His books also have an eerie and macabre quality to them.
The character appears in 23 novels and three books worth of short stories that came out from the 1930s until the 1990s (long after Carr’s death in the late 1970s). One of these is the all time greatest locked room mystery of all time (voted on in 1981), “The Three Coffins” (in the United Kingdom it was released with the name “The Hollow Man”), the sixth book in the series. It is most known for the lecture that Fell gives about locked rooms, making this book sort of like a how-to guide for up and coming crime writers.
When the books first started coming out, the series rivaled Lord Peter Wimsey and Hercule Poroit as far as popularity goes. Nowadays, however, the books are largely out of print and they mostly go unread by the readers of today.
No movies have been made from these books, nor have any adaptations happened of any kind. His other novels have been adapted for television and into movies, but not a single entry in this series has been.Book Series In Order » Characters » Dr. Gideon Fell