“They would have been twice as thorough as usual. Suicide is a difficult thing to have to accept—”
Robert Galbraith The Cuckoo's Calling (2012)
I clearly make an embarassed mistake, I think the birthday of John Dickson Car is (30/10), so I finish the book really quick to chase the deadline. So, (30/11) is the real 110th birthday of the Grandmaster of the locked room Mystery. John Dickson Carr. And to celebrate that, JJ from https://theinvisibleevent.wordpress.com/, invite a Carr fans or mystery fiction fans in general to submit something Carr-related. And I as a novice reader of Carr legacy, think it seems like fun to join the festivity. as the beginning for me, I usually start a series chronologically like in Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, and Ellery Queen but I make my exception not to choose “Hag’s Nook”(1933) instead of prefer “The Case of The Constant Suicide”(1941). Though I just finished reading the day before (29/10) D-Day, because some kind of busyness.
In a train heading to Glasgow, Alan Campbell meet in some kind of comedic way with His along time Rival, Kathrin Campbell to find out they are related to the same Campbell family in Scotland, that related to uncertain cause of dead of Angus Campbell. After setting up a view of no suicide insurance policy, the body of Angus found in the bottom of the castle, seem that the old man threw himself from the high tower from the wide open windows. The room is simply showing indicate of the suicide. And there was something inside that room which is give a creepy Hocus-Pocus impression. An empty dog carrier box with mysterious unknown content. After the appearance of Dr Fell who believed by the family to prove the entire problem in which it is a suicide or not, another attempt of suicide from the same tower happen, and after that another dead body found inside locked in his cottage. Once again indicated as a suicide.
This is my first Carr book that i finished. My own problem is I’ve know the reputation of JDC before I read it, and make it more subjective standpoint to make a judgment. But I try not to do it so. Not like my encounter with Master of Suspense Alfred Hitchcock, that I have no idea who the gentleman is but impressed by the opus. Same case with Ellery Queen. The content first, name after. So, I’m afraid to overrated Carr, but i prove I’m wrong. Carr is that high.
The mystery element in this novel is really pointed out, the surround element of the cases, the motive and psychological attempt in suicidal by Dr fell is good, well hinted and fit with it premise. i found The first trick (or the main trick) pretty decent. Me myself, figured the trick quite fast thanks to clear hint. But maybe it has some issue with trivial science knowledge that the reader must know before hand, a dodgy science. Lucky me, I know how it work by experience in another works. think by that, it Should have some clue or some more attention giving to reader, because a lot of reader (include me), don’t really like a solution hinge on specific knowledge or uncommon fact to most of people like sometime Conan or Kindaichi do. But this is an exceptional for me. The reason is maybe because I know those specific Knowledge.
The main puzzle for me in this novel, not the main trick which happen in the castle but the last dead body in a locked cottage. It has a better premise to think and of course slightly better solution based on that locked impossible situation, more convincing than the main trick, quite well pointing and hide the clue at the same time.
But I have a bit issue with the “whodunnit” factor. How the perpetrator known by Dr fell is not as good as gold. Carr use the plot device similar with Conan Doyle usually use in the past, but slightly week and a bit limp to gratified the whole plot even with a hint that can carry reader to that conclusion, but too bias to be interpret . Maybe it was the week part of this novel.
Frankly, at first I had a bit problem with Scottish accent (Elspat is ate up my time LOL). It is my first time read an accent write in the book, so need time to getting used to it, but when i getting used to translate it to something I understand, I tried to imitate the accent with my so-stereotype Scottish, and it funny because I do it in loud voice in the middle of the night. I really like the joke in this novel. The running joke about “American and Angus” make me laugh more and more it appears. Maybe a lot of joke and gag is too slapstick and cliché if compere to now days, and sometime not that funny as it expected. But it a lot of fun and a sort of hook in this book.
It’s a good start for me, I think. The trick not really that strong but a good one. The character and side story beside the main Mystery (love story of the relative in which end up legal?) is fun to read. not dragging at all. enjoyable story. Not a perfect one and I know JDC have more better stuff than this. But as an introduce book it really hook me, and satisfied me. Pay my expectation in those big name. and I’m a fans now.