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  • The Murder Room

Fire, Burn!

John Dickson Carr

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Fiction, Crime & mystery, Historical mysteries

'A master magician . . . King of the Art of Misdirection' Agatha Christie

One October night in the middle of the twentieth century Detective Inspector John Cheviot got into a taxi, bound for New Scotland Yard. When he stepped out it was from a horse-drawn cab, the year was 1829, and a beautiful woman was beckoning him in front of Old Scotland Yard.

There were things Cheviot remembered but couldn't use - like how to analyse fingerprints; and things he didn't know that he could have used - like how advanced his romance with Lady Flora really was. And there wasn't even time to learn, because in the midst of helping Robert Peel establish the respectability and competence of his new police force, Cheviot suddenly finds himself and his lady accused of cruel murder.

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John Dickson Carr

John Dickson Carr (1906-1977), the master of the locked-room mystery, was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, the son of a US Congressman. He studied law in Paris before settling in England where he married an Englishwoman, and he spent most of his writing career living in Great Britain. Widely regarded as one of the greatest Golden Age mystery writers, his work featured apparently impossible crimes often with seemingly supernatural elements. He modelled his affable and eccentric series detective Gideon Fell on G. K. Chesterton, and wrote a number of novels and short stories, including his series featuring Henry Merrivale, under the pseudonym Carter Dickson. He was one of only two Americans admitted to the British Detection club, and was highly praised by other mystery writers. Dorothy L. Sayers said of him that 'he can create atmosphere with an adjective, alarm with allusion, or delight with a rollicking absurdity'. In 1950 he was awarded the first of two prestigious Edgar Awards by the Mystery Writers of America, and was presented with their Grand Master Award in 1963. He died in Greenville, South Carolina in 1977.

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