#197: Spoiler Warning – Coming in April: The Best of Christie vs. The Best of Carr + Your Help Needed


Following the spoiler-filled discussion about John Dickson Carr’s The Ten Teacups last week, I’d like to make a slightly regular feature of that kind of thing because, well, some excellent points were raised and I enjoyed it immensely.  Since my good friend Brad of AhSweetMysteryBlog and I have been throwing about the idea of a Carr vs. Christie post for a while now, that seems like the sensible place to go next.  Not with the intent of picking who is best — that’s Carr, obviously 😉 — but more to compare these two and see where they meet, where they diverge, and what we think can be said about the two finest proponents of the detective novel art.

So, in order to compare these two at their best, we need to identify what their best is.  Thus, by a scientific method too complex and rigorous to go into here, we have compiled a list of the lucky 13 novels widely regarded to be the best of each of them.  In order to help us pick the single novel, you have three votes in each poll for your top Christie and Carr novels.  Brad and I will then go and read these two books — and you are invited, welcomed, and encouraged to do the same — and then throw ideas back and forth and post the resulting thoughts here sometime in April much as Puzzle Doctor and I did before.

One final note: And Then There Were None is excluded not just because it would win outright, but also because it’s not really a novel of detection — there’s no detective, and the solution comes about…well, not by detection, anyway.  Please direct all complaints to that guy over th– oh, he ran away, eh?  Never mind.

Right, to the polls!

Thanks for voting — please spread the word, and results will go up next weekend.

33 thoughts on “#197: Spoiler Warning – Coming in April: The Best of Christie vs. The Best of Carr + Your Help Needed

  1. I voted as well and the three-pick limit was sheer torture. It would have been easier with four picks, because in both polls I hovered between two titles for my last pick.


  2. Very hard deciding on my Christie votes (Carr was much easier). Was surprised and intrigued by some of the choices that got on to the Christie list and some of the omissions. What factors went into a book getting on the list?


    • Oh, man, it was so astonishingly technical and scientific that I’m not sure it’d be able to explain it in a satisfactory manner. In essence there were three steps:
      1) Does this title crop up on a lot of best of lists?
      2) Do we like it?
      3) Alrighty, then.
      I mean, I’m paraphrasing, obviously…

      Liked by 2 people

  3. May I chime in for a minute on how we selected the lists for the best Christie vs. TSBW (The Second Best Writer)? We decided NOT to be subjective . . . up to a point. So I think we each saw one of two of OUR personal favorites that did NOT keep cropping up on a “best of . . . ” list, and we agreed to create a list of 13 for each so that we could toss in our under appreciated faves. If you want to figure out which titles THOSE are, simply read every post JJ and I have ever written, write down your answers, and mail them, along with a check for $100 (or 50 pounds sterling) made out to our subsidiary “Bradco.” If we receive enough entries, I will personally come to England (around the time of the BL conference in June) and deliver the good news to the winner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brad’s request was The Monogram Murders because he loves it so much, but I pointed out that his reputation would never recover. So then he requested the Charles Osborn novelisation of Black Coffee. When I pointed out that this also didn’t qualify he stopped replying to my emails, so I’m not sure what to make of this claim…

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve cast my votes, and am trying not to think of omissions . . . for that way lies madness.

    Of course, my favorite Christie is Endless Night, but again that’s not really a detection.


    • It’s a very good book, and a nice reflection from her in her later career, but, yeah, the lack of detection would preclude it, alas. It was difficult narowing down the Christies, because there’s a lot that occupies a similar level and has much to recommend it…I’m convinced there are a few others that could be on both lists, but, well, it’s not like we’re negotiating for the League of Nations. Only supposed to be a bit of fun, after all!


  5. I’ll admit that I’m the moron who only cast two votes on the Carr poll, as I apparently have poor reading comprehension. This isn’t so bad though, as my two votes really are for Carr’s strongest books, and a third one would have led to an agonizing choice between He Who Whispers and Till Death Do Us Part.

    The only questionable inclusion on the Carr list to me is The Ten Teacups instead of He Wouldn’t Kill Patience. I haven’t read the latter, but it is a common staple on top ten lists. As much as I enjoy the former, I can’t quite say it is as popular. My only explanation is that Brad insisted that The Ten Teacups be included, much to JJ’s violent protests.


        • Well, “loves” is a bit strong now, as I said last week: I still really like it, but I don’t find it as dazzling as I did before the reread and discussion. It’s in the upper-second tier now, rather than the lower-first!


    • Interestingly, Patience vs. Teacups was something I contemplated for the longest time, partly because of the spoiler-filled discussion on the latter that was had here recently. Not sure why I went with Teacups in the end, but I’d probably do it differently if I had my time over. Ah, well…


  6. There were one or two titles I wanted to be able to vote against, rather than for… Like ‘Plague Court Murders’ and ‘Ten Teacups’. *dodges bullets* Looking forward to reading the joint posts! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: TAKING A NEW CARR ROUND THE BLOCK: The Ten Teacups | ahsweetmysteryblog

  8. Pingback: #201: For Carr vs. Christie – Start Your Engines… | The Invisible Event

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