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The Burning Court

Page history last edited by Jon 12 years, 7 months ago

Carr, John Dickson - The Burning Court (1937)


The all - time classic of mixed genres, but one should also read the author's The Devil in Velvet, a swashbuckler historical with occult elements (a pact with Satan). This is a classic locked - room (well, impossible crime) novel of the sort Carr specialized in, yet it has an epilogue that turns the rational mystery topsy - turvy. It is all about witchcraft in suburban Pennsylvania. There is a lot of good research into the occultism of the court of Louis XIV of France, the Sun King. Really one of the classic mysteries of all time.


Wyatt James


Review by Nick Fuller


One of the author's best-known, but not best, books. It opens in stunning fashion with the hero discovering a photograph of his wife, cited as the Marquise de Brinvilliers, in a book of famous woman poisoners. Following the murder by arsenic of a neighbour and the disappearance of his corpse from a sealed granite crypt, he becomes convinced that she is a poisoning witch risen from the dead. Carr makes this bizarre plot quite convincing through an atmosphere which relies far more on understatement than it does on the thick effects of the Bencolins (or even Hag's Nook). Unfortunately, Carr follows a highly logical and convincing solution with a supernatural one that makes nonsense of the other, yet fills this one with all manner of logical holes, making the reader uncertain of what to believe. Thus is a good story and considerable ingenuity thrown carelessly out of the window.


See also: http://doyouwriteunderyourownname.blogspot.com/2011/04/forgotten-book-burning-court.html


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