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The Problem of the Wire Cage

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 1 month ago

Carr, John Dickson - The Problem of the Wire Cage (1939)



Review by Nick Fuller


Dull and commonplace suburban setting with tennis court on which vicious Caligulan youth is strangled, without any footprints left in the mud. Over-written and under-plotted: thick neurotic atmosphere in which emotions are as much strained to breaking point as the reader's patience; while lacking in the crucial complexity of the author at his best, who admitted "that book should have been a novelette" (Greene). Owing to singular paucity of suspects, the reader should be able to guess the villain without difficulty, despite police suspicion of the thick-headed hero and his lover, who speaks nauseatingly of the victim's "poor old face." Solution is as impossible as the situation; not only difficult to visualise, but Frankly preposterous: would anyone be so stupid? Too many theatre people, who are as bad as anything in Clayton Rawson; and very little Dr. Fell, who acts badly out of character, gloating at the villain: "I now propose ... to give myself the extreme pleasure of telling you where you get off... The gallows. They are going to hang you." The last words suggest a plea on the author's part: "He may, perhaps,be excused for not being up to his usual form." He won't be.

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