Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Scavenger Hunt Category: Castle or Ruins
Date Finished: January 29, 2016
Oh, this one was a bit slow going. The detective here is Henri Bencolin, Parisian magistrate, making his second appearance in this early Carr mystery. Here he investigates another impossible murder in a castle on the Rhine. The castle, shaped like a skull, of course, was owned by a famous magician, while across the river is the villa of a famous actor. Friends or rivals? Both supposedly dead, yet are they? The plotting, a Carr strength, is well done. The setting is excellent. The characters, on the other hand, are not memorable, with a few exceptions. I had to keep checking back to remember who some of the bland ones were. Bencolin doesn’t have great characteristics either, so it is not surprising that he was soon retired by Carr. Here he faces his German rival, van Arnheim, who is more interesting, albeit conceited. Good, but not yet up to the greatness that Carr was soon to achieve.