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The Mad Hatter Mystery (Dr. Gideon Fell #2)

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  274 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
The newspapers dubbed the thief the 'Mad Hatter,' and his outrageous pranks amused all London. but the laughter turned to horror when a corpse with a crossbow through the heart was found at the Tower of London in a top hat.

As Dr. Gideon Fell was to discover, the whole case turned on the matter of hats-- in fact, threatened to become a nightmare of hats. For the victim was
Paperback, 188 pages
Published 1945 by Popular Library (first published 1933)
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May 21, 2015 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, british
This Golden Age mystery not only involves a "mad hatter" (someone stealing hats off people's heads and then leaving them prominently displayed elsewhere) but also a murdered man at the Tower of London who is wearing one of these stolen hats.

I enjoyed this very much and found Dr. Fell less bombastic than usual. However, it struck me as an atypical Carr mystery since it wasn't a true locked room or impossible mystery. Everyone was prevented from leaving the Tower once the body was found but there
Benjamin Thomas
I'm continuing my survey of "Golden Age" mystery writers and so I come to John Dickson Carr. He's an intriguing author because he is fairly well known as one of the great British mystery writers even though he happens to be an American. He did live and write in England for quite a long time so his settings and ambience certainly ring authentic. He is also known as a master of the "puzzle" mystery, meaning his plots are usually quite complex and convoluted. One of his novels was even voted the be ...more
Nancy Oakes
This book has been widely praised (at least on the Internet) as being one of John Dickson Carr's best. I remember reading somewhere that Dorothy Sayers gave this book rave reviews. So once again I swim upstream against the tide of great reviews because this was one of those books where by the end I just didn't care about who the killer was -- I just wanted to finish the book so I could move on to the next one.

As the story opens, it seems that one Sir William Bitton has been a victim of "the Mad
Mar 08, 2015 Jean-Luke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The touch of humanity at the end bumped it from four stars to five for me. And I loved that it all took place within twenty-four hours.
Dr. Gideon Fell is supposed to be one of the great detectives (OK, second-level below Holmes, Poroit, Wimsey, etc.) of the golden age. Carr is famous for his locked-room mysteries. This book shows neither of those traits, but it was interesting nonetheless.

Murder is committed inside the Tower of London and much of the interrogation goes on here. The whole book takes place in just under one day which makes the detective process that much more interesting. Yes, there are some clues which would he
Janne Varvára
Oct 16, 2012 Janne Varvára rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Another home run.

This book begins quite hilariously with a hat-stealing London thief, but quickly turns sinister with an apparently related murder at the Tower of London.

It's a confusing yet gratifying plot with lots of twists, and some very surprising turns at the end. A real whodunnit with a number of suspects up until the very end.
Elizabeth Hunter
This is another nicely twisted mystery. Carr's formula makes it fairly easy to guess the murderer here, but if you can take the back-and-forth between Hadley and Fell, it's a fun read. Sticking Rampole into the mix feels extraneous, but not fatally so.
Mar 24, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
A lovely old fashioned murder mystery. I loved the small twists and turns and generally the old style writing. Its a simple story so don't expect something like a modern day crime story.
Barry Cunningham
Dec 15, 2012 Barry Cunningham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another Carr puzzler.
Starts out very humorously. After the dead body appears, you'd think the humor would evaporate, but the memorable characters and suspects take up the slack.
Rob Bliss
I didn't like this. I was bored by it.

But on pg. 199, we read this line of dialogue:

' "And I, ma'am," said Dr. Fell, "am the walrus, you see...." '

published in 1933. Wonder if John Lennon read this book. Though the character was referring to the Lewis Carroll poem, 'The Walrus and The Carpenter', so I wonder if that's what Lennon was referring to too.

And my copy was falling apart as I read it, so that didn't make me happy either. Used books, whadda ya gonna do?
Feb 21, 2015 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There are two mysteries to be solved in this story--who is stealing hats and who murdered Philip Driscoll. The Mad Hatter has been stealing the hats off of men in London and leaving them in ridiculous places. Chief Inspector Hadley of Scotland Yard is discussing the crimes with Dr. Fell when they learn of the murder of Driscoll. He was found dead from a crossbow through his heart in the Tower of London on a very foggy day. The men work their way through all of the clues but the story seems to ge ...more
Mar 31, 2016 Colin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A straightforward whodunit from Carr this time.No locked rooms or impossible crimes,just a standard murder with plenty of red herrings and a great finale.
May 25, 2016 Ronald rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
read some time in 1988
Dec 26, 2014 NancyHelen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nodding to the tradition of Agatha Christie, this is the second in the Dr Gideon Fell series of mysteries. It was a good fun read, with a murder occurring and being solved in the space of a day by the rotund but sharp Dr Fell and his colleagues. I have never read any of this series before but I really enjoyed it. This one was written in 1933, but it was an easy read and, although it differs greatly from today's crime fiction, it kept me guessing.
May 24, 2015 Ankur rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you've read Dr. Fell mysteries before, you'll know what I mean when I say that I feel like Hadley for most of the book. In this one too, I thought I'd understood what had happened and yet, at the end, I was far from the truth. The clues are all there - I'm just not Dr. Fell ;)
Sep 29, 2015 Shivam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This was my fourth Carr book and seeing the amazing skill of the writer to weave a perfect mystery i wish to continue the Carr books with pleasure.
As far as this book is concerned..i can only highly recommend it. Rest is for you to explore. All the best.
Jun 09, 2013 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A rather enjoyable read, and full of intrigue. Doctor Fell is a good detective character, and as this was my first John Dickson Carr I look forward to reading the next one.
Richard Ward
Oct 24, 2013 Richard Ward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good vintage "whodunit?" from 1933, set in London at and near the Tower. Not John Dickson Carr's best work by any means, yet well worth reading for fans of the genre.
Ian Durham
Another classic Fell mystery, though I wish there had been more Fell!
Nov 19, 2015 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
read in 2014, forgot to rate.
Julie Ann
Mar 03, 2013 Julie Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great whodunnit!
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AKA Carter Dickson, Carr Dickson and Roger Fairbairn.

John Dickson Carr was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in 1906. It Walks by Night, his first published detective novel, featuring the Frenchman Henri Bencolin, was published in 1930. Apart from Dr Fell, whose first appearance was in Hag's Nook in 1933, Carr's other series detectives (published under the nom de plume of Carter Dickson) were the b
More about John Dickson Carr...

Other Books in the Series

Dr. Gideon Fell (1 - 10 of 23 books)
  • Hag's Nook (Dr. Gideon Fell, #1)
  • The Eight of Swords (Dr. Gideon Fell, #3)
  • The Blind Barber (Dr. Gideon Fell, #4)
  • Death-Watch (Dr. Gideon Fell, #5)
  • The Three Coffins (Dr. Gideon Fell, #6)
  • The Arabian Nights Murder (Dr. Gideon Fell, #7)
  • The Crooked Hinge (Dr. Gideon Fell, #8)
  • To Wake the Dead (Dr. Gideon Fell, #9)
  • The Problem of the Green Capsule (Dr. Gideon Fell, #10)
  • The Problem of the Wire Cage (Dr. Gideon Fell, #11)

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