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The Red Widow Murders: A Sir Henry Merrivale Mystery (Hardcover)
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In this baffling whodunnit from the master of the locked-room mystery, a man falls dead in a guarded room, and Sir Henry Merrivale searches for a devilishly-clever killer.
They say that Lord Mantling’s mansion is haunted — at least, one room of it is. Known as the Red Widow’s Chamber, the now-sealed quarters once housed the wife of a guillotine operator in the French Revolution, and, since her passing, have been host to a century of unsolved horrors, including the death of a man in 1802, the death of a child in 1895, and a number of mysterious mortalities in the years in between.
Now, in 1935, eight men and women join at the manor for a sinister experiment to determine the truth behind the haunting once and for all: they each draw a card, and whoever pulls the Ace of Spades must spend a night in that terrifying room. But the challenge turns fatal when the man selected for the task is found poisoned the next morning when the doors are opened. The locked room was guarded all night, so nobody could have entered or escaped; what’s more, the deadly toxin could only have entered through a break in the skin, but no wounds were discovered on the body.
Is this evidence, at last, of a nefarious spirit at work, or of a diabolical and ingenious killer? Only Sir Henry Merrivale, called in to take note of the night’s proceedings, will be able to examine the clues and deduce the truth.
About the Author
John Dickson Carr (1906-1977) was one of the greatest writers of the American Golden Age mystery, and one of the only American authors to be included in England’s legendary Detection Club. Though he was born and died in the United States, Carr began his writing career while living in England, where he remained for nearly twenty years. Under his own name and various pseudonyms, he wrote more than seventy novels and numerous short stories, and is best known today for his locked-room mysteries. His beloved series character, Dr. Gideon Fell, was based on author G. K. Chesterton and appeared in twenty-four novels.
Tom Mead is a UK-based author specializing in crime fiction. His stories have appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Litro Online, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Lighthouse, Mystery Scene and Mystery Weekly (among others). Several of his pieces have also been anthologized, most recently “Heatwave” in The Best Mystery Stories of the Year 2021 (ed. Lee Child).
His stories are superbly constructed.
— The Times
Very few detective stories baffle me nowadays, but Mr. Carr’s always do.
— Agatha Christie
Carr provides vital clues in plain view that will elude most readers. Fair-play fans will be eager for more reissues in the American Mystery Classics series from this master of the impossible crime.
— Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW
Carr's talent is on full display in this entry in Otto Penzler’s American Mystery Classics, which includes an outstanding introduction in which Tom Mead praises Carr’s “effortlessly readable prose” and his Poe-like tendency to revel in the macabre…. A classic, indeed.