Friday, June 22, 2012

E is for Eight of Swords by John Dickson Carr


Chief Inspector Hadley reaches his office in a content state of mind. About to retire in a month's time, his thoughts are on the book that he is writing chronicling his experiences in the Police force. A call from his superior soon takes away his cheer, however. A Vicar, it seems had gone visiting a Colonel and had stayed over. In the night, he was visited by a poltergeist -Who? What? (The Chief Inspector, you see, having never been to Hogwarts and thus having never received a welcome by way of water-balloons by Peeves the Poltergeist - is stumped and the explanation provided stumps him still further).

Anyway, this relative of Peeves, smashed the furniture and threw ink-bottles at the vicar#. As the concerned family of the host, aroused by their guest's screams, rushed towards his room, they found another of their guests, a bishop, standing in his night-shirt out in the lawn, claiming that he had seen a notorious criminal there.

Even as Hadley is wondering whether his superior is pulling his leg, he is visited by the Military gent who had played host to vicars, bishops, and poltergeists. Colonel Standish tells it all in detail also adding that the bishop has a habit of sliding down bannisters and pulling the hair of unsuspecting house-maids.

As Hadley is trying to gather his wits round him, his junior brings round the card of a visitor. Herr (Dr.) Sigismund Von Hornswoggle would like to see the inspector. A peeved Hadley (all happiness gone and suffering a head-ache) tells his subordinate that he is too busy to see anyone but a massive figure barges into his cabin....

This is just the beginning of a book that has young men who fly the inner-clothing of ladies on the mast, ginches who fall into the arms of the heroes, murderers who eat the dinner of the person they murder, criminals who pose as gentlemen, mystery writers who write under two names, bishops who play detectives, and detectives who judge beauty pageants. All rollicking fun and a decent mystery.


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John Dickson Carr is quite a favourite writer in the blogosphere. For two recent well-written posts on him go here and here.

For a review of quite a few of his books go here.


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Submitted for Support Your Local Library Challenge:



Also submitted for the following challenges: A-Z (Titles), Borrowed Books, Criminal Plots, Find the Cover, Mystery and Suspense, Vintage Mystery.

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Opening Line: Chief Inspector Hadley had been almost cheerful when he reached his office that morning.

Title: The Eight of Swords

Author: John Dickson Carr

Publication Details: London: Pan Books, 1961

First Published: 1952

Pages: 187

Series: Gideon Fell

Other Books Read: He Who Whispers, The Three Coffins

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The book is available on the Net. I borrowed it from a library.

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Entry for letter E in the Crime Fiction Alphabet Meme.

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vicar# For another vicar who had a torrid time, read this post.

10 comments:

  1. More than anything about the book, I remember loving that comment about sliding down the bannisters. Very nice review, definitely makes me want to go and re-read it. Cheers.

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    1. Thanks Sergio.

      I await your views on the book after re-reading it. And the bishop is a hoot.

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  2. This is a good review and interesting post. I like how you linked in a new word (ginches). This is #3 of the Gideon Fell series; do you think it makes a difference what order they are read in?

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    1. Thanks a lot Tracy. Glad you enjoyed the post. I loved the word when I read the book.

      Sorry but having read only three of Carr's books, and that too in a random order, I cannot really answer your question. Go to any of the three links provided in the post above and ask them. They'll be able to guide you. As for me, I enjoyed this book the most and whole-heartedly recommend it.

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  3. Hi:

    Can't seem to find your Book Blogger Hop Post so I am replying here...hope you don't mind.

    Thanks for stopping by...you should try writing as you read. It makes it so much easier.

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviews

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    1. Hi

      I am not part of the hop so...

      Yes, next time round I do hope to jot down my comments.

      Thanks for having a look.

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  4. He is a awesome writer and for good reason. Thanks for the review.

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    1. Thanks for leaving a comment, clarissa. I didn't enjoy The Three Coffins but I am glad I picked him up once again. This book is great fun.

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  5. One of my favorites too! I love his books.

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    1. Yes, your post on Carr (for which I've provided a link above) reflects your love for him.

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