Friday, October 7, 2011

The Reader is Warned by Carter Dickson

Dr. Sander's gets an invitation from Mina and Sam Constable to spend a weekend at their house with few friends and a mind reader. Dr. Sanders meets the mysterious and unobtrusive Herman Pennik, Pennik is a telepath or claims to be one. He can read minds and demonstrates it.

Pennik says "That Thought has a physical force like sound. Notes in sound can shatter a glass or even kill a man. The same applies to thought "

An unfortunate accident has landed all the domestic help in the hospital, so Pennik offers to cook for the Constables and there guests, Sam Constable is surprised by knowing that Pennik can cook in addition to his other out of the world skills. Sam asks Pennik if dinner would be ready by 8?

Pennik: "If you like. But I do not think that Mr Constable that you will get any Dinner" to which the irate Constable questions "Not get my dinner? Why the Devil shouldn't I get my dinner"

to which Pennik replies "I don't think you will be alive at 8 o'clock!!"

The Grandfather clock stood at one minute to eight when Mina Constable began to scream so loudly and with such terror that it could mean only one thing ~ The Reader is warned


This is a case of Classic misdirection by Carr. I have read a few Carr's in my life time but this one is probably one of the best. The murderer has a water tight alibi. The one who don't have an alibi and are suspects in the murder are the next victim themselves and so it becomes confusing. The book keeps on getting more and more mysterious as you keep on turning the pages, it is not unit the final 10 pages that the mystery is completely revealed and what does come out as the solution is not for the weak heart. The way and the manner in which the murderer confesses, boasts and explains the crimes is a little chilly, This is not a locked room murder but an impossible one none the less.

There are parts in the book which are very gripping like when Sanders tells Chief Inspector Masters about the three ways a person can die of violence(murder) without any sign, internal or external to show what killed him. There is also one part where HM tells Sanders about why a certain person is lying.

This novel is part of the HM series and like most of HM novels this is a Classic. Highly recommended but this comes with a warning there are some explicit signs of Racism and the use of the 'N' word and a little derogatory language against the Africans, but you need to keep in mind when this book was written. At that time Racism was at its peak and these authors were following the traditions of the society.

Deducting half a star for the little racist comments:

Where Can you buy this: I got this for 854 bucks from Infibeam, the book was second hand and in not the best condition but totally worth it, the book is out of print I think cause of the racist comments.

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