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John Dickson Carr was an American author. He was born on November 30, 1906 and died on February 27, 1977 at the age of 70. He wrote in the mystery, detective novel, murder and historical mystery genre. John D Carr is regarded as one of the greatest writers of the Golden Age Mysteries; complex plot driven narratives in which the riddle or puzzle is paramount. John D Carr was influenced by the works of Gaston Leroux and the works of G. K. Chesterton especially the Father Brown stories. John D. Carr master the art of locked room mystery in which an investigator unravels and solves seemingly impossible crimes. His mater piece is considered to be The Dr. Fell the Hallow Man which was selected in 1981, as the best locked room mystery of all time by a panel of 17 reviewers and writers. He also used the pseudonyms Roger Fairbairn, Carr Dickson and Carter Dickson. John Dickson Carr was the son of Wooda Nicholas Carr, who was a US congressman from Pennysylvania. John attended The Hill School in Pottstown and Haveford College. In the 1930s he moved to England where he married an English woman and started his writing career. He returned to the US in 1948 already an internationally famous author. In 1950, John Carr’s biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle won him the first of his two special Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writes of America. In 1970, he earned the second Award in recognition of his long career, spanning over 40 years, as mystery writer.
Several of John Dickson Carr works were made into movies including The man with a cloak, Dangerous Crossing, The Emperor’s Snuffbox, That Woman Opposite, La Chambre ardente and The Burning Court. A number of his works were adopted for the TV including General Motors Presents. The TV series Colonel March of Scotland was based on his stories. John Dickson Carr also wrote many radio scripts especially for the suspense radio anthology series in the US and for the British equivalent ‘Appointment with Fear’ and also many other dramas for the BBC. He also wrote screen plays. In the US, his half an hour radio play Cabin B13 was expanded into a series on CBS from 1948 to 49 and Carr wrote 25 scripts. This radio play was also expanded into the script for the 1953 movie Dangerous Crossing. In the 1940’s John Carr hosted Murder by Experts transmitted by Mutual radio and he introduced works by other mystery authors who featured as weekly guest writers.
The Plague Court Murders is the first book of the Sir Merrivale series. Once Dean Halliday became convinced that the malevolent ghost of Lois Playge was haunting his family estate in London he invited Detective Inspector Masters and Ken Bates to investigate. They went at night and found his aunt and fiancée preparing to exorcise the spirit in a séance run by a psychic named Roger Darworth. Roger Darworth locked himself in a stone house behind the plague court as the séance proceeded, and he was found viciously murdered. The main question is who or what could have murdered him? All doors and windows were locked and bolted, and nobody could have gotten inside. The one person who can unravel and solve a crime this bizarre is locked room expert Sir Henry Merrivale. The book opens as two former espionage agents, Blake and a colleague, discuss their boss Old Marrivale who likes to seat with his feet on the desk at the war office. Old Marrivale wants the story of the Plague Court murders written but nobody has got round to actually dong it. They think old Marrivale wants the story written merely to glory himself since with the war over, he doesn’t have much glory. Old Marrivale’s department had ceased being called the Counter Espionage Service and was now simply known as the Military Intelligence Department or MID. Blake recalls his connection with the case which begun on the night of September 6, 1930. It was a rainy night and Dean Halliday walked into the smoking room of the Noughts and Cross Club and told him an unsettling story. Blake believe him only because they were friends and knew him to mature and reliable.
And So to Murder is a book of the Sir Merrivale series. Nobody has ever expected a clergyman’s daughter from East Roystead to write a scandalous bestseller and when Monica Stanton published Desire she was quickly hired by Albion Films. She had expected that she would be adapting her work but instead she assigned to assist scriptwriter William Cartwright to adapt his latest detective novel. Almost at once, a series of mysterious attempts on Monica’s life start and the flamboyant Sir Henry Marrivale is invited to investigate. Will the wily Sir Marrivale unravel the mystery, see through the intrigue and stop the perpetrator before it’s too late? The book opens at the office of Mr. Thomas Hackett at studios of Albion Films. Monica has been invited there, and she imagines it has to do with making her Book Desire into a film. She had resolved to be unimpressed by the studios of Albion’ Films, but now that she was actually in Mr. Hacketts office she can feel her heart racing and her speech a little slurred. It makes her annoyed her. The studio Albion was far better than what she had expected, and the same time she is some what surprised and thrown off balance by the man who is sitting across the desk. Mr Hackett is like the hero in her book, quiet, curt and masterful. He nodes towards a chair and with a precise an masterful gesture pulls a box of cigars from his desk and offers them to her. Then, coming to his senses, he quickly returns the box to the desk and slams the drawer shut. Mr. Hackett works for Mr. Marshlake who was the head of Albion Films and puts up the money. However, he was rarely seen. Mr Hackett is about 35 years old , short, stocky and hasa dark complexion. He and Monica engage in a discussion and at the end of it Moinca is hired to write script. Mr. Hacket is a worried man was a worried man. He is astounded at meeting Moinca Stanton, in flesh and having gone through her book ,Desire, he isn’t quite sure how much of it had gone through the censor.
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