Carter Dickson (John Dickson Carr) – Nine and Death Makes Ten (1940)

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Golden Age
Category: Numbers in Title
Finished: February 21, 2015

Nine passengers, plus a tenth who turns out to be none other than Sir Henry Merrivale, just when you need someone to solve a mystery, are aboard a ship filled with munitions on its way from the U.S. to England during World War II. Although all Carr mysteries are a bit far fetched, this one suffers from placing these passengers aboard this munitions ship for no apparent reasons. The ship is converted from a passenger liner, with no other passengers allowed to travel on it except for these random individuals. The ship is also fully staffed with, Carr claims, “seven or eight hundred” crew members, including barber, bartenders, and necessary servant. Even though the ship is nearly empty of passengers, and thus seemingly not requiring that much work out of most of the crew, every single crew member has an alibi for the first murder and are neatly eliminated in one sentence. The solution is clever, but seems somewhat unnecessary when a simple act of violence would suffice.

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