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The Burning Court

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  383 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
When the family found an odd piece of string, tied at equal intervals into nine knots, under Miles Despard's pillow, they dismissed this trifle from their minds.

But then the housekeeper, a normally sensible woman, told an incredible story of a beautiful woman in the old man's room - a woman who had "walked through the wall". Who could go through a door which had been brick
Paperback, 224 pages
Published November 1985 by International Polygonics (first published 1937)
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Mar 26, 2008 Frederick rated it really liked it
I read very few mysteries. I can count the ones I have read on one and a half hands. I shall reserve the fourth half-hand for science fiction.
John Dickson Carr was an American mystery writer in the mid-20th-century. THE BURNING COURT is methodical, solid and educational. It is not scandalous, giddy or brutal. I imagine Carr's audience, which was sizeable, was made up of doctors, lawyers and professors. ("Members of the U.M.C.," as Bob Segar might sing.) I don't think such an audience exists toda
Michael Mallory
Apr 21, 2009 Michael Mallory rated it it was amazing
This book has been ranked as one of the 100 top mysteries ever written. I can understand that. A very interesting book about a man who marries a young woman and begins to think she's the incarnation of woman who was burned as a witch in the 17th century. This after some strange goings on at his home. There are two impossible crimes: one in which someone sees the murderer walk through the wall, another where the body is stolen out of a masoleum just after everyone walks out.

The ending is wonderfu
Widely considered to be the best non-series novel Carr ever wrote, this is a curious mixture of horror and intrigue. The scenario is a tantalizing one, having to do with the disappearance of a body from a sealed crypt, but the real hook for many readers (including yours truly) is the suggestion of the diabolical. This turns out to be both a blessing and a bane. On the one hand, Carr keeps a tight lid on the sensational plot, withholding full disclosure until the last possible moment, demonstrati ...more
Sep 04, 2008 Mike rated it it was amazing
This is John Dickson Carr at his puzzling, ingenious, and atmospheric best, with a sensational, stunning ending. The set-up sounds like a standard "golden age" mystery plot: a wealthy man is murdered, apparently by poison in a locked room. Subsequently his body disappears from a seemingly impregnable family crypt. The author, the master of the locked-room mystery genre, surprises us, however, with different characters (his familiar series detectives do not appear), a different setting (rural Pen ...more
Ben Loory
Dec 26, 2015 Ben Loory rated it really liked it
found this on the karl edward wagner 3x13 list:

it's basically a 3-star locked room / impossible crime-type mystery until the epilogue, which explodes the whole thing into something much better. something which will maybe live forever? or not. a long time, anyway. forever is tough.

but it's nice to see someone really nail an ending.
Pietro De Palma
May 14, 2013 Pietro De Palma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The other book Todorov said was
The other book along with "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" by Agatha Christie Todorov said to be the only example of fantastic literature in the literature of the detective genre. Not surprisingly,"The Bourning Court" is truly a masterpiece, one of the greatest of Carr and of every time.
It's a historical mystery, with a Locked Room, a case of reincarnation, and a setting learned in the times of King Louis XIV.
The novel basically talks about the affair of the poisons
John Dickson Carr is a master at creating believable solutions so seemingly impossible crimes that seem to have supernatural causes. One of the things that makes his locked room mysteries page-turners is the frightening atmosphere he creates -- in Burning Court there's witchcraft, a crypt, and a woman who's alive but who was supposedly put to death in the previous century.
Graham Powell
May 28, 2012 Graham Powell rated it really liked it
This book surprised me from the first page, when I discovered that - unlike almost all of Carr's other works - it's set in America and features only Americans. I'm not going to say much about the plot, but the twin impossible crimes featured here are lucidly explained at the end.

I found the writing in this one to be the best of all Carr's books. The tone in the others sometimes seems forced to me, with Carr reaching a bit too far to suggest menace or humor, but there are no wrong notes here. I'm
Isadora Wagner
May 13, 2012 Isadora Wagner rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
An impossible puzzler with a distinctly Daphne du Maurier-esque ending, which is why I picked up the book, having read about it in The Fantastic (Todorov). Carr is a vivid and deft writer; one of the more curious and interesting aspects of his work was seeing the conventions of the British mystery plot (and personages, motifs, right down to use of clothes and stations/relations, town and house as shorthand) portaged over to the U.S. The Burning Court is set in the 1970s somewhere outside New Yor ...more
Daniel Gonçalves
Oct 03, 2014 Daniel Gonçalves rated it liked it
An enjoyable book, old but timeless. This one is considered one of the best mystery novels of all time, and it surely deserves that label. If you're a fan of the genre, this one is a must read.
Nov 10, 2010 Ben rated it really liked it
Almost gave this a 5. This is the first I've read by Carr, a prolific 1930's 'Golden Age' mystery writer, and I really enjoyed the detailed, intricate plotting (which I understand is his trademark). An impossible crime setup with great atmosphere and macabre coincidences. Toss the word 'supernatural' into the description and it becomes a little clearer why this was considered controversial when it was first released. Subverted expectations excellently executed (alliteration FTW).
Oct 24, 2012 Kestrell rated it really liked it
Perhaps the spookiest of Carr's mysteries; highly recommended if you enjoy mysteries with gothic overtones. The usual warning applies, however: Carr's attitudes concerning women and what he would probably have described as the lower classes is quite dated, so you will probably want to skip this if those attitudes make you crazy.
Lynn Joshua
Nov 15, 2014 Lynn Joshua rated it really liked it
It is very well written; unfortunately, he does try to give a supernatural explanation for some mysterious occurrences. It will give you goose-bumps when you are hit with the strange "coincidences" and eerie atmosphere - especially the opening of the crypt in the middle of the night. The ending is completely satisfying.
Aman Kalia
Oct 10, 2011 Aman Kalia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: awesome
After reading Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, Patricia Highsmith , i was in search of an author who was as good. And i found one in Great John Dickson Carr aka Carter Dickson.

Awesome story, gripping, unputdownable & last 3 pages sent a chill through my bones.

One of the best i have read till date.
Jun 09, 2008 George rated it really liked it
Mystery filled with supernatural and witchcraft references and a ton of red herrings with some historical references thrown in. The first about 90% of the story is filled with information and explanations as to what happened and then things are made clear with the final explanation.
Janne Varvára
Feb 11, 2010 Janne Varvára rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
Sort messe, or "The Burning Court" is a novel (and radio play) I've gone through many times through the years, but I never seem to tire of it. Part murder mystery, part ghostly thriller, it's my favorite John Dickson Carr.
Joyce McKune
May 19, 2013 Joyce McKune rated it really liked it
Except for some words that don't exist in todays vocabulary, this was a great mystery. Didn't know they talked about paranormal back in 1937 when this was written.
Jon McDonald
Aug 18, 2008 Jon McDonald rated it liked it
This is a good tale for someone that enjoys clever writing. The ending is either a big disappointment or really awesome.
Jul 26, 2013 Vazzy added it
Excellent.. was this written so early in the century. Ending blew me away
Jeffrey Marks
Apr 02, 2012 Jeffrey Marks rated it really liked it
Great book. Enjoyed it very much with the twist at the end.
To hell with synopsis. You can find it easily on wikipedia.

Damn! What a book!

Carr memang ahli dalam meracik misteri yang kompleks sekaligus menyuguhkan penjelasan yang memuaskan. Tak hanya itu, atmosfer dalam ceritanya begitu.. begitu.. ah, i can't find a word to describe it.. Yang jelas Carr bisa menciptakan atmosfer yang membuat adegan dalam cerita begitu hidup (now i found the word, even though that wasn't really describe it)

Anyway, misteri yang disuguhkan mencakup kematian Miles Despard yan
Dec 21, 2015 E rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very readable JD Carr mystery; I preferred it to the one I read a month or so ago. The plot flows well with an appropriate level of intrigue. One interesting trait of this book is that it lacks a detective in the classic sense. You're basically reading a mystery in which the clues are produced via conversations and discoveries between the characters. A detective does appear near in the end in a bit of a deus ex machina letdown, but still a solid 1930s mystery that I can recommend.
Matti Karjalainen
Kustannustoimittaja Edward Stevens saapuu pieneen Crispenin kylään ja saa kuulla paikallista kartanoa isännöineen Miles Despardin kuolleen. Kuolinyönä on tapahtunut outoja; taloudenhoitajan mukaan vanhahtavaan pukuun sonnustautunut nainen on vieraillut Milesin huoneessa ja poistunut sieltä kävelemällä seinän lävitse.

Despardin kuolema paljastuu arsenikilla tehdyksi murhaksi, ja pian Stevens saa uutta kummasteltavaa.Onko hänen vaimonsa Marien ja 1800-luvulla giljotiinilla teloitetun myrkyttäjän vä
Amazing is the only word to describe it. At this point of time, my favourite mystery of all-time.

More here:
Mar 27, 2016 Colin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another riveting read from JDC.Keeps up the elements of creepiness and supernatural shenanigans right to the very end.The climax is worth the wait.Recommended.
Jennifer Martin
Fine, although implausible, until the epilogue, which ruins the whole thing.
Aug 22, 2015 Rama rated it liked it
A bewitching tale of medieval, 17th and 19th century sensibilities resulting in a murder. For all the fantastic elements thrown in, thankfully, but also unfortunately, the resolution is very straightforward by the author's standards.

Only for the epilogue to muddy the waters a bit...with smoke and mirrors.
Peter di Lorenzi
Apr 10, 2013 Peter di Lorenzi rated it really liked it
Carr/Dickson beginning to decline.....strong atmosphere but straining for focus....attempt to use slightly erotic theme as, I suspect, a crutch
Aug 12, 2011 Vanji rated it it was amazing
My favorite...

Read only its translation in french.
May 03, 2016 Ronald rated it really liked it
read SOMETIME in 2003
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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...

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