Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Scavenger Hunt Category: Clock/Timepiece
Date Finished: April 24, 2016
The first in the Henry Merrivale series, this one does not quite yet have the style down. Sir Henry makes a late appearance, as is somewhat typical, but the romance subplot is missing. The stuffy, upper crust types are a bit hard to distinguish from each other and the story drags until Sir Henry arrives with the first interesting and unusual personality. Of course as is the Carr/Dickson tradition, the narration is by someone else so that the detective character is kept at arm’s length. In this story, a mysterious very old house is said to be haunted by the spirit of a notorious hangman. When the psychic is stabbed in a locked room during a seance, it seems impossible that anyone other than the ghost could have killed him. There is much, too much talk in the first half, and while we get some Merrivale backstory, it isn’t enough of a focus.
It is a little difficult to see in the above image, but the corpse is wearing a wrist watch, so we’ll count this as the Clock/Timepiece selection and save the Dead Body for another time.