#177: Spoiler Warning – Coming in January: The Ten Teacups, a.k.a. The Peacock Feather Murders (1937) by Carter Dickson


Given that so much time spent discussing mystery fiction is devoted to edging carefully around the precise plot points on which such enterprises are founded, I thought I’d give you fair warning that Puzzle Doctor and I are going to be abandoning this approach next month in looking at the 1937 impossible crime novel The Ten Teacups/The Peacock Feather Murders by John Dickson Carr, published under his Carter Dickson secret identity.

As it currently stands, the Doc and I are on different sides of the fence where this book is concerned — but, hey, part of the fun is that this may change — so we’re going to read it, pass some ideas back and forth in looking at it, and then publish the results — including, I have no doubt, all manner of very specific spoilers and details and twists and everything — here some time in January.

It would be lovely to have as many of you involved in the ensuing discussion as possible, so if you haven’t read it and wish to, or if you think you’d like to have another look at it, here’s your chance.Β  I have no idea when in January it’ll go up, but you have at least a month, I’d say, and we’ll do our best to let you know when we have a timeline in mind.

I look forward to picking this apart with you all!

25 thoughts on “#177: Spoiler Warning – Coming in January: The Ten Teacups, a.k.a. The Peacock Feather Murders (1937) by Carter Dickson

  1. I’m characteristically on both sides of the fence on this one — I like the novel a lot but dislike the ending. So I’ll be looking in to support both of you!
    Can’t wait to see what you make of An Old-Fashioned Mystery; the author was a friend at the time when it was written, and the dedication in my copy says the book wouldn’t have been possible without me. I’ve never been 100% sure if that was a compliment or not!! LOL


  2. I can’t wait for this. Like Noah, I can see both sides of the fence, but I find myself on the “I love the book side.” I’m curious to see if your admiration for the work holds, and I wonder if Puzzle Doctor might reconsider.
    I’m sure I’ll get into this further with my comments when you release the piece, but for me:
    1. The impossible crime is a classic. As you finish those early chapters, all you can think is “how on earth could this happen?”. In terms of premise, I place it alongside The Red Widow Murders and The Judas Window.
    2. The ending is an absolute barnstormer. I can understand if you don’t like the actual solution, but the sequence of events that plays out at the end of the story is thrilling.
    3. Like The White Priory Murders, the story definitely suffers from pacing in the midsection.


    • Haha, well here’s hoping it lives up to the anticipation — I think both the Doc and I are open to the idea that we could be wrong, so there may be all manner of revelations in our own reading…let’s wait and see, eh?


  3. I have just reread The Ten Teacups.
    When I read it long back, I considered both impossible murders as far-fetched, but now on reconsideration, I have no problem with the first impossible murder. However, the second impossible murder still annoys me.I will elaborate when you discuss the issue.
    There is another impossibility which is a logical impossibility and hence has no solution. The first Teacups incident takes place on April 30 which is a Monday. The second incident takes place two years later on July 31 which is stated to be a Wednesday. This is not possible. It is possible only if the second incident took place 1 year later and not 2.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hm.

    On the one hand, I could snag it at Christmas and finally join in on these things.

    On the other hand, I’d break my reading order because I have a TBR list, and I want to save Carr’s best for last! I’ll muse on it. πŸ˜›


    • Bah! Do it! How often do we as a community get to be all spoiler heavy? C’mon, that’s the point of telling people, after all…

      Though I do admire your diligence in picking a reading order and sticking to it no matter what. I lack that much…well, anything, actually πŸ™‚


      • I like to read my books in roughly the order I get them, trying to save what I think I’ll enjoy the most for last. Same with authors, I’ve been grabbed lesser-known/mediocre Christe’s instead of hitting her best. I want something to look forward too!


    • I’m going to read it myself in the next week or so, the Doc and I will exchange some views over a week or two, I’d reckon, so probably the end of January, say? Second half of Jan, certainly…


      • Done. Thought you were going to have it done earlier. No matter,

        In short: I liked. Atmosphere is good. Dialog is horrible. I think that the part people debate about the impossibility is fine by me, it’s what comes before I don’t like. Solid on the whole, will discuss when you do it or via e-mail. πŸ˜›


  5. Super excited for this. Read Ten Tea Cups a few months back, after wanting to read it for a long time, and it left me both happy/frustrated, as seems to be the trend. Can’t wait for you guys to take this apart. And what a refreshment it will be to see a spoiler focussed post!


  6. Pingback: #194: Spoiler Warning 1 – The Ten Teacups, a.k.a. The Peacock Feather Murders (1937) by Carter Dickson | The Invisible Event

  7. Pingback: John Dickson Carr review index – The Green Capsule

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