One of the five best locked room mysteries, as selected by 14 established mystery authors and critics (All But Impossible!, 1981. ed. E. Hoch).
The Case: Avory Hume is found dead with an arrow through his heart--in a study with bolted steel shutters and a heavy door locked from the inside. In the same room James Caplon Answell lies unconscious, his clothes disordered as though from a struggle.
The Attorney for the Defense: That gruff and grumbling old sleuth, Sir Henry Merrivale, who proves himself superb in court--even though his gown does tear with a rending noise as he rises majestically to open the case.
The Action: Before H.M. can begin his defense, Answell, his client, rises and cries out that he is guilty. Sir Henry doesn't believe it. But proof, circumstantial evidence, and the man's own confession point to his guilt. So the great, explosive detective gets down to serious sleuthing and at last startles the crowd in the Old Bailey with a reconstruction of the crime along logical, convincing lines.
The Judas Window. Also published as The Crossbow Murder.
Included is the floor plan found in the print version, redrawn for better legibility specifically for this edition.
DEATH RIDES THE TUBE...
The speaking-tube whistled. Monica flew at it. “Who are you? What do you want?”
She bent her cheek to the mouth of the tube to listen for an answer. Something was happening inside the tube. She jumped back. Something which looked like water, but was not water, spurted in a jet from the mouth of the tube. It splashed across the linoleum.
There was a hissing, sizzling noise as half a pint of vitriol began to eat into the surface of the floor.
The footsteps in the room above began to run.
Monica Stanton has written a saucy best-seller that has landed her her dream job, scriptwriting for a movie studio. Things turn sour quickly as she's saddled with a mentor she despises After someone makes a gruesome attempt on her life, however, her feelings begin to change about him as they are forced together during the investigation.
Theories of Nazi “heiling enthusiasts” and espionage soon take form, leading to the entrance of Sir Henry Merrivale, who now works for Britain's Military Intelligence division. Only Sir Henry can wade through the “fat-heads” and schemers to get to the bottom of this amusing and clever mystery.
“London publisher shot in automatic elevator. Dr. Horatio Glass and Insp. Hornbeam pool wits—and humor—to spot the killer. Neat variation of good old ‘hermetically sealed room’ problem, with two authors—and their sleuths—working beautifully in harness. Verdict: Top Drawer”—The Saturday Review
A seemingly impossible murder in a private elevator draws two sleuths to the case. Inspector Hornbeam and Dr. Horatio Glass are at odds from the beginning, each dismissive of the other’s theories, thus creating an atmosphere as much of competition as cooperation.
From the novel:
The elevator was perhaps six feet square by eight feet high, with steel walls painted to imitate bronze. Sir Ernest Tallant sat very quietly in the rear right-hand corner. His legs were outthrust stiffly, his back bent a little forward; and the brim of the rakish gray hat shaded his face. He might have been a grotesque parody of Little Jack Horner, if it had not been for the widening bloodstains on the left breast of his jacket. His umbrella lay beside him, also looking oddly childish like his posture. Under each roof corner of the elevator there was a tiny electric light; these four little lights illumined even the wrinkles on the backs of the man’s hands, and glittered on the pieces of broken glass.
Published in the United Kingdom as Drop to His Death
Donald Sinden stars as eccentric amateur sleuth Gideon Fell in these two full-cast BBC radio dramatisations of stories by John Dickson Carr.
One of the pre-eminent detectives of crime fiction’s Golden Age, Dr Gideon Fell is stout, jovial and fond of beer and band music. However, he also possesses a razor-sharp mind and extraordinary powers of deduction, which are frequently put to the test as he is called upon to solve seemingly impossible crimes. Created by the master of the locked-room mystery, John Dickson Carr, Dr Fell appeared in 23 novels, several short stories and plays, and numerous radio adaptations. These two dramas, first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1997, see him embroiled in two inexplicable cases that have the police baffled.
In The Hollow Man, two murders are committed by someone who appears to be both invisible and lighter than air; while in The House in Gallows Lane, the peaceful English countryside of 1936 is disrupted by an alarming fortune-teller – and a mysterious death. These thrilling dramatisations star Donald Sinden as Gideon Fell with John Hartley as Hadley.
Classic Radio Crime: presenting vintage detectives for your investigation!