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The Plague Court Murders (Sir Henry Merrivale #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  263 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
There had always been whispers of ghosts when people spoke of the deserted and sinister old mansion in Plague Court; and when Chief-Inspector Masters, genial ghost-layer of the London police, broke into the little stone house in the rear court, he found the body of Darworth, the medium, stabbed to death on the floor. The door had been bolted from within and locked from wit ...more
Paperback, 312 pages
Published July 1st 1990 by Intl Polygonics Ltd (first published 1934)
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Rebecca McNutt
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Plague Court Murders is an eerie and intense mystery with a lot of intriguing plot devices. If you love detective fiction, it's definitely one I'd recommend.
Il "mio" Carr. Quello così paurosamente reale, quello che porterei sempre con me per inquietarmi, quello condito da quella particolare atmosfera fascinosa che ai miei occhi lo rende così prezioso. E unico. Già, in quanto ad atmosfera (intesa come la intendo io) qui il maestro non ci risparmia proprio nulla: abbiamo una casa misteriosa teatro di un suicidio del passato, abbiamo un gruppo di personaggi che lì si riunisce, a lume di candela, per fare una seduta spiririca, abbiamo passi furtivi, lam ...more
Nancy Oakes
The Plague Court Murders is the first in a series featuring Sir Henry Merrivale, noted expert on crime, barrister, physician and all around smart guy when it comes to solving the unsolvable. Carter Dickson is one of the pseudonyms of Golden-Age mystery writer John Dickson Carr, and this book definitely falls within at category. The reader is presented with an impossible crime, with several suspects and a number of red herrings. In the introduction to this edition, it is noted that Carr was a fan ...more
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it
The Plague Court Murders is the first Sir Henry Merrivale mystery, by American writer John Dickson Carr, who wrote it under the name of Carter Dickson. This book says it is written by Carter Dickson, but he also used the names Carr Dickson and Roger Fairbairn. I wonder if he ever used his own or if he got confused who was writing what. He was a master of so-called locked room mystery, in which a detective solves apparently impossible crimes. The Dr. Fell mystery The Hollow Man (1935), usually co ...more
Jill Hutchinson
This is the first Sir Henry Merrivale mystery written by John Dickson Carr under his nom de plume of Carter Dickson. The recognized master of the "locked room" story. Carr doesn't cheat the reader by introducing trapdoors, hidden rooms, or other such devices to solve the mystery. Instead he illustrates how the crime could have been committed without resorting to those overworked contrivances, however far-fetched the solution. In this entry, Merrivale is called in to solve the murder of a fake ps ...more
Book #32 for 2017
Follow the Clues: Trail #1, Clue #10
Mt TBR #12
Old Firehouse Books Summer Bingo Square: A Book That Is More Than 10 Years Old
Personal Challenge: A book about a haunted building
PopSugar Challenge (max. 3):
- A book that is a story within a story
- A book by an author who uses a pseudonym
- The first book in a series you haven't read before
Read Harder Challenge: A book published between 1900 & 1950
Better World Books: A book set in a place you want to visit (London)
Vintage Mystery
Jack Chapman
Nov 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, mystery
Like many people I often complain about the unjustifiable price of ebooks compared to paperback prices (even before factoring in the cost of the reading device). This week I came across a good article in The Verge pointing out that price isn't the only scandal. So what do publishers do to make their e-product worth the cost? Nothing it seems. The article is worth a read
The Verge

I bought a Kindle edition of The Plague Court Murders from Amazon's US store, published by Langtail Press. Now to be f
Jul 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This book introduces my favorite fictional detective, "H.M.", aka Sir Henry Merrivale, aka "The Maestro," aka "Mycroft," aka "The Old Man," among other nicknames. This book is the first featuring one of Carter Dickson/ John Dickson Carr's two major detectives (the other being Gideon Fell.) H.M. is cranky, lazy, rude, and brilliant. Often he is extremely funny as well, though more so in the later books in the series. He is like a more aggressive Nero Wolfe, or a fatter and more gregarious Sherloc ...more
J.V. Seem
Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Hmm... This is actually the first John Dickson Carr (or Carter Dickson, as this is published under) novel I haven't instantly taken a liking to.
I'm very surprised at that, and I'm inclined to blame my unstable, unfocusable head for the trouble.

However, I found it confusing from the word go.
Naturally, and true to form, John Dickson Carr's murder plots are about as intricate and complicated as they come, but for some reason, I found it hard to keep the characters apart, which muddled the whole th
Jan C
Nov 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england, mystery
This was about 3 1/2 stars.

It took too long to wrap up. It seemed to take forever for Merrivale to explain the whole thing.

I certainly didn't get it.

Carter Dickson a/k/a John Dickson Carr is the master of the closed room murder.
Tim Deforest
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very good Locked Room murder mystery with a fun lead character.
Martina Sartor
Il debutto di Sir Henry Merrivale, detto il Vecchio, in un mistero della camera chiusa perfetto. L'atmosfera soprannaturale è costruita molto meticolosamente con effetti suggestivi sul lettore, utilizzando medium, maledizioni, figure spettrali come il boia di Plague Court. Ma, come sempre in Carr, la Verità non è mai quella che appare all'inizio e l'entrata in scena del Vecchio ci conduce per mano alla soluzione finale, inaspettata sotto molti punti di vista, ma molto molto poco soprannaturale.
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
With a very Conan Doyle-ish plot, the book is rife with digs at the Victorian spiritualism that Conan Doyle engrossed himself with through the voice of the "lovable" (?) socialist, Henry Merrivale (HM).

A knotty, not-so-good first outing for HM, you fatheads!
Jul 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, series
This was my first time reading a book featuring Sir Henry Merrivale. I have a suspicion, I have read short-stories with him before because the name and description was very, very familiar. I thought starting by the first book written with him was the right place to begin my exploration.

I thought the mystery took a little time setting up. I guess the first chapters before the first murder (I think with the title being what it is this is not a spoiler!), where there's a lot of set-up which pays of
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
There is something about this book that kept me unwilling to keep reading it. All the explanations and descriptions were more like "hiding"&"confusing" than "revealing". All the characters were often named by their first name that wasn't mentioned before that, so I kept being confused about who is who. The "main" character, according to the text on the back, appeared long after I have lost hope and thought that maybe there was some mistake with the name. All the detective's names were starti ...more
Feb 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure about this book at the start. The backstory about the history of the house (Plague Court is the name of a house) was a bit too old-fashioned and gothic for me. Once H.M. comes into it the pace picked up considerably and once the mystery of the locked room started to unravel I couldn't put it down.
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This classic locked room mystery combines elements of gothicism with the things fans of golden age mysteries except. The combination of a slightly more cerebral detection paired with moody gothic atmospherics is delightful, if a bit dated. Fun.
Ken Bates has been invited by his friend Dean Halliday out to the family estate. It seems that one Louis Playge, an infamous murderer, is haunting the family. When a famous psychic is killed in a locked room with police right outside the door, they have to call in the famous Sir Merivale for help.
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't guess the murderer because a few things weren't clear to me. It would have helped if I was familiar with the role of Viola in Twelfth Night. Still, I don't think this was Carr's best effort. His later works were better, IMO. Interesting how even in 1934 "clue" was spelled "clew."
A Rajan
Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Full of atmosphere, intricately plotted, and with well drawn characters, this is the first in the Merrivale series, and although not the best, it's quite a fun read. It's primary problem to my mind is the somewhat contrived solution.
Pietro De Palma
May 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A debut with a bang. Beautiful novel with a exceptional Locked Room
Mastugae Kiyoaki
Feb 09, 2014 rated it liked it
sad to realize that i have seen the trick before
Jul 01, 2016 rated it liked it
The first of Sir Henry Merrivale novels, a haunted castle mystery, still a bit rough around the edges.
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best books i have ever read. It's 100% captivating, and full of deduction. A "must read" for Locked Room Mysteries fans if you ask me
rated it it was amazing
Mar 06, 2016
Les Wilson
rated it liked it
Sep 18, 2014
Betsy Wiley
rated it it was amazing
Jan 07, 2017
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Dec 20, 2010
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Mar 06, 2018
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Nov 30, 2015
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Carter Dickson is a pen name of writer John Dickson Carr.
More about Carter Dickson

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