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The Unicorn Murders

Page history last edited by Jon 11 years ago

Carr, John Dickson - The Unicorn Murders (1935)


Review by Nick Fuller


"I don't want to believe we've got into a world of horrors and fabulous animals."


What is the "Unicorn", an object taken by Sir George Ramsden from India to London? Does it have a connection with two men found dead with gaping wounds in their heads — apparently gored to death by an invisible unicorn? And, of the strange characters isolated in a French château following an aeroplane crash, which of them is the fabulous detective Gasquet, and which the fabulous criminal Flamande (an infinitely more villainous version of Chesterton's Flambeau)? These are the riddles Sir Henry Merrivale, here eccentric without being childish, has to unravel. The solutions are brilliant — an ingenious firework display, with an unexpected solution (although walking a very fine tight-rope), and half-a-dozen secret identities. It is, however, remarkable that Carr can simultaneously maintain a thriller and a detective story, without reducing the impact of either.


Note that H.M.'s lines include "Archons of Athens!"


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