Friday, February 14, 2014

"Carr's Other Major Masterpiece"

By Carter Dickson.
1938. 191 pages. $2.00
One of Dickson/Carr's best:
It's a minor flaw, one that takes nothing away from the ingenious murder trick. Carr himself knew he had to establish a clear motive, and wrote a fine ending that clears up all the loose ends. At the end of the day Carr's writing is triumphant. The courtroom scenes are some of the funniest things I have read in a long time. H.M. is definitely my kind of sleuth, and I'm looking forward to reading the other Merrivale books I have. — Pikkon, LAY ON THE CRIME SCENE
The Judas Window impressed me deeply when I first read it, as did many other Carr books. Traditionally, Carr's masterpiece was always considered to be The Three Coffins. That book has "The Locked Room Lecture" and some remarkable impossible crimes. However, in recent years, The Judas Window is often being cited as Carr's other major masterpiece. Carr authority Douglas G. Greene regards it as so, and author Barbara D'Amato pays homage to both works in her novel Hard Case. The storytelling in The Judas Window is especially good. It has a rich vein of comedy, and a wonderful courtroom drama. It makes a very satisfying reading experience: every plot element falls into place in the work just the way a reader would want. — Mike Grost, GAD Wiki
The plot is fiendishly clever but far from impossible to comprehend and indeed the solution is remarkably simple in its conception, though Douglas Greene is probably right to question some aspects of the mechanics and just as correct to dismiss them as not really relevant to one's enjoyment. And even when everything impossible seems to have been explained satisfactorily, even to the extent of justifying Merrivale's belief that every wall and every door in the land has its own "Judas Window," there is still a trial to be won and a killer to be unmasked! — Cavershamragu, TIPPING MY FEDORA (14 March 2011)
Young Englishman, found in locked room with murdered father-in-law-to-be, provides Henry Merrivale's knottiest, most interesting problem. - Top-notch courtroom scenes, leading to expose of most ingenious murder device in years, give reader three engrossing hours. - Verdict: First-rate.  THE SATUR-DAY  REVIEW (January 8, 1938)

Category: Detective fiction

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