Monday, February 6, 2012

The Case of the Constant Suicides by John Dickson Carr

Dr Alan Campbell a Scot, who has never been to Scotland gets a letter inviting him to meet others members of his Clan following the death of a family member. The departed soul is of Angus Campbell, a man who has plunged to his death from the window of a  locked bedroom chamber atop a tower. The insurance agent calls it a suicide but Angus's relatives call it murder. The perplexing question to be asked is how can someone murder a man who is alone in a locked room bolted from inside, and the only window to the room is inaccessible from both below and top. The relatives come up with their own conundrum which is the discovery of a dog carrier bag under the bed of Angus, the relatives contemplate that something could have escaped from the bag that would have led Angus to jump in sheer fright from the soaring high tower.

Meanwhile these questions linger on, there is another suicide attempt off the tower and a third locked room suicide, making this a Case of Constant Suicides for Dr. Gideon Fell.


The Master of the locked room Returns! For me reading Carr books releases the same endorphins as sex or chocolates. His books have everything which a being like me wants to pass over time in this world full of  otherwise mundane and monotonous sources of leisure. An Impossible Crime, eccentric and aged detectives, hint of the supernatural, mystery and magic. Enough with the Carr encomiums, lets do the book review.
 The First of several great things about this book is that it is <160 pages,what's good about that? that means there are no digressions from the main plot, no filler sub plots which you read only because you want to get to the bottom of the mystery. I read the whole book in just two sittings which is always great since you get more involved as most of the plot is fresh in your mind otherwise you keep on forgetting things with a long book.

The setting of the book is in Scotland. The aura of the Loch and the mystique of the Scottish castles is well captured and exhibited. The Supernatural element of Carr's book finds a willing accomplice at the scene of the crime which is a room on the top of a tower. There are some creepy moments in the book around this room.

The mystery like most others from Carr is intriguing and leaves the reader in a state of perpetual amazement until the very end. There is not one but two different locked rooms in the book, what more can you ask for?
The solution to one is simple and the other one is a little questionable and if you have been a science student then even impossible.

I also liked the romantic sub plot between the two professors. I thought it was quite entertaining. also loved the character of Mr Swan who is a reporter from Canada but is actually of Scottish origins and is not sure of his clan. Mr Swan provides a lot of comic relief in the book and you will not be able to help your self from laughing with the misadventures of Mr Swan.

The book is Diametrically opposite it's depressing title.

Where can you buy it? It is in print by the good fellows at the Rue Morgue Press and can be ordered online for Rs 700.

4.5 Stars for the Master.

Submitting this post for both the Global Reading Challenge and the Vintage mystery reading challenge.

1 comment:

  1. I rate this higher than The Hollow Man. The explanation is much neater, and less convoluted. Plenty of clues for the reader as well.

    And Swan was hilarious - especially the part when he gets water dropped on him. First time in ages I had been laughing out loud while reading a book.


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