Saturday, December 7, 2013

He Wouldn't Kill Patience by Carter Dickson

Edward Benton is a worried man, he is the director of the Royal Albert Zoological garden and Hitler's war is coming ever close to the Zoo . Edward lives with his daughter at their home inside the Zoo complex. Edward has become a shell of his former self, he is in perpetual agony concerning the fate of his precious animals.
The government wants to shut down the Zoo and eradicate the animals. Edward wants to save the animals and hopes to have them transported to safety and far away from the horrors of the war.

Enter a couple of warring magicians, who are invited to Edward's home for dinner along with the "Old Man", Henry Merrivale. On reaching the Benton's house they find his daughter missing and the house being conspicuously empty. Soon they discover that Edward Benton's study is locked and then the poor man is found dead inside. People around him start contemplating that since the room was locked from inside and Edward was very stressed he might have committed suicide. There was only one problem "He Wouldn't Kill Patience"

Review: If you are wondering who or what is patience, then you are in for a surprise. I don't want to spoil the book for would be readers, but I feel revealing this piece of information has little or no barring on the mystery itself. Patience is Edward's pet tree snake, when the snake is also found dead in the same room, the old man's mind start to ponder. As to why would Edward gas his own snake.

The book is dominated by the two magicians of opposite sex and sects. They each belong to warring families who have been fighting for generations with each other over some obscure charges. I guess this extra bit was need by Carr as the mystery was not as convoluted as he normally manages to muster. I also felt the last part of the book was stretched and HM aka the Old man could have wrapped it up sooner.

The book is a good read if you are a Carr fan, but if you have started reading Carr then I will suggest to pick up something else. Surprisingly, this one has rave reviews on the internet and people rate it much higher than other HM mysteries. In my opinion there are plenty of better HM books out there. I'm not saying this is a total dud, its enjoyable at times and reading HM's antics are always entertaining.

Where can I buy it?  I bought it for Rs 699 from Amazon.

2.5 out of 5 Stars.


  1. I'm finding that some of the John Dickson Carr/Carter Dickson books are exactly, well, to be frank, all that good. Haven't given up reading them yet but my earlier mania is fading.

  2. Replies
    1. hey tony,

      I think you are right, but he is still the master. he turned too many masterpieces and a few duds.

  3. Replies
    1. hi neer,

      how are you friend? been so busy with life and work. Will try and catch up on reading now(hopefully)


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