#835: The Island of Coffins and Other Mysteries from the Casebook of Cabin B-13 (2020) by John Dickson Carr [ed. Tony Medawar and Douglas G. Greene] – Series 1, Episodes 1-6

It is perhaps unsurprising, given the impact of John Dickson Carr’s radio play ‘Cabin B-13’ (1945) from the series Suspense, that a series of mystery and suspense plays should take that title when Carr returned to radio work. Unrelated to that original beyond apparently using the same ship — the Maurevania — as a framing device, the two series of Cabin B-13 (1948-49) nevertheless comprised half-hour problem-of-the-week plays in the same vein, related by ship’s surgeon Dr. John Fabian from his eponymous quarters

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#833: Murder on the Way! (1935) by Theodore Roscoe

Murder on the Way

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Approximately five years ago, powered by a combination of ego and ignorance, I set about trying get Murder on the Way! (1935) by Theodore Roscoe reprinted, based on its reputation as a cracker and its infuriating unavailability. To my frank surprise I succeeded, and it — and Roscoe’s Second World War-predicting I’ll Grind Their Bones (1936) — was republished by Bold Venture Press in 2017. Rereading it recently, it seemed due a reappraisal — well, an appraisal, really — since I edited the book without any notion of whether it was any good, and was too fixated on matters typographical to focus all that intently on, like, the plot and stuff.

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#831: “As you know, an unusual crime has a deep interest for me…” – Bodies from the Library 4 [ss] (2021) ed. Tony Medawar

I can’t believe that there is a GAD enthusiast who doesn’t look forward to the annual Bodies from the Library collections so expertly curated by Tony Medawar. In bringing to public awareness some of the forgotten, neglected, or simply unknown stories that the great and the good of the form produced, these collections have become a source of great excitement, and a must-read for even the most ardent student of the Golden Age.

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#827: Dead Man’s Gift (1941) by Zelda Popkin

Dead Man's Gift

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Elderly mining magnate Michael Carmichael has died, leaving behind one of the great Terrible Wills of Fiction in which money is bequeathed to various relatives in reparation for indignities endured on his behalf or at his hands. But the heirs so-named, gathered in Carmichael’s home as directed in his will, not only deny these claims but also can’t seem to agree on who the man was to each of them — uncle, great-uncle, maybe a cousin of some hue or stripe — and investigator Mary Carner, brought along by pulchitrudinous shopgirl Veronica Carmichael, suspects that something fishy is going on. And then rising flood waters force everyone to stay the night. Cue chaos.

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#824: The Crime Conductor (1932) by Philip MacDonald

Crime Conductor

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“In all the cases I’ve been mixed up in,” muses Colonel Anthony Gethryn early on in The Crime Conductor (1932), “I can only remember two which I was pulled into from the outside. All the others I seemed to fall into”. Cue a knock at the door from a constable because the celebrated theatrical impressario Willington Sigsbee has been found drowned in his bathtub over the road, and Gethryn falls into yet another murder investigation. Locked bathroom door notwithstanding, Gethryn is suspicious partly on account of “why a bath was wanted at all” in the middle of the “slightly orgiastic party” Sigsbee was hosting, and so the household comes under suspicion. Cue The Yard…

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#819: A Little Help for My Friends – Finding a Modern Locked Room Mystery for TomCat Attempt #17: The Knight’s Tale (2021) by M.J. Trow

The last time I checked out a modern impossible crime novel on the increasingly-tenuous pretence that this is being done exclusively for the beneft of TomCat, I took a swing at something that turned out to (maybe?) contain no impossibility at all. Thankfully that won’t happen again. Right?

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