The Peacock Feather Murders aka The Ten Teacups by Carter Dickson
Mr Vance Keating a prodigal adventurer is on the lookout for his next kick, and it comes in the form of a secret society called the "Ten Teacups". Keating receives a note inviting him to the meeting of the teacups. Chief Inspector Masters also gets a note telling him about the meeting of the Ten Teacups. This makes Masters very nervous, why? because the last time there was a meeting of the ten teacups someone had been murdered under enigmatic circumstances.
Keating visits an abandoned house for the meeting, the police follow Keating and watch the empty house clandestinely. Very soon shots are fired from inside the house and the police found Mr Keating dead, lying next to a table which has ten teacups arranged in a circular manner. Keating has been shot through the back of his head and spine. The Police search the whole house and not a living soul is found. No one came inside the house, no one went out. How did Mr Keating managed to get shot?
The old man and masters try and solve the puzzle.
From a very reliable source I had heard that the ten teacups was not Carr's best work. While I agree to that, I will state that it is also not his worst. A very important part of Carr books is the ambiance, almost all Carr books that I have read are very atmospheric. What separates the good Carr books from the great ones is the atmosphere. Unfortunately that hint of supernatural and spine chilling horror that Carr can invoke is missing from this HM mystery. That said the mystery is engaging and keeps you thinking of how the murder was committed in addition to who committed it.
Carr's explanation in the end is simple and plausible which is always the best. I think out of all the Carr books I remember the key to the locked room murder only for those books which had a simple explanation. Something like Red Widow murders and Hollow Man was just too complicated to remember and sometimes even understand. So this book scores a 10 on that.
As in all Carr books the humor element is well done and the chemistry of Sir Henry Merrivale and Masters is terrific. The reader relishes their company and I think they are without a doubt my favorite detective and sidekick pair in detective fiction. They the kind of pair who you want to continue reading about.
It is evident from reading Carr's books that he was a Genius. Had he ever committed a locked room murder all the detectives combined would not be able to solve it.
Strong buy. Peacock feather murders is in print, so I suggest that you perambulate to your local bookstore and get your copy.
I'm submitting this review as part of the Vintage Mystery reading challenge, BBC and also Criminal Plots II (book written under a pen name)