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The Hollow Man (Dr. Gideon Fell, #6)
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The Hollow Man (Dr. Gideon Fell #6)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,710 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
Professor Charles Grimaud was explaining to some friends the natural causes behind an ancient superstition about men leaving their coffins when a stranger entered and challenged Grimaud's skepticism. The stranger asserted that he had risen from his own coffin and that four walls meant nothing to him. He added, 'My brother can do more... he wants your life and will call on ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 30th 2002 by Orion Publishing Group (first published 1935)
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Nickolas the Kid
Το βιβλίο κυκλοφορεί στην Ελλάδα με τον τίτλο " ο ασώματος άνθρωπος".
Η πλοκή είναι εξαιρετική. Θα θυμίσει σε πολλούς τον Poe. O λεξικογράφος Δρ. Φείλ καλείται να λύσει ένα έγκλημα που εκ πρώτης όψεως φαίνεται ότι είναι πέρα από κάθε λογική. Η συνέχεια είναι πέρα από κάθε αναγνωστική προσδοκία. Κι ωστόσο είναι ταυτόχρονα απόλυτα πειστική, απόλυτα σατανική στη σύλληψή της, καθώς τα επάλληλα γεγονότα εξηγούν αλυσιδωτά το ένα το άλλο μετατρέποντας με πανούργο τρόπο τον αναγνώστη σε αθέατο "συνένοχο
Oct 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Locked room mysteries are just really magic tricks. This book cleverly and overtly acknowledges this fact. The beauty of the book lies in misdirection; it lies in presenting all the facts but conning the reader into following the wrong ones; it lies in creating a design which produces gasps of amazement and then nods of satisfaction. (All mystery stories do that, obviously, but this is a howdunnit wrapped up with a whodunit and so playing at a higher level than your standard mystery.) Of course, ...more
Jan 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
A classic whodunnit and locked room mystery story, with a special chapter 17 that could be re-read frequently explaining the essence of murder mystery fictions.
Apr 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clever locked room mystery. Carr's style when writing Dr. Fell is a bit didatic and may turn off some readers but I loved the (somewhat lengthy) exposition Fell gives about the various types of so-called "locked room" mysteries. As he says himself:

"    "When the cry of 'This-sort-of-thing-wouldn't-happen!' goes up, when you complain about half-faced fiends and hooded phantoms and blond hypnotic sirens, you are merely saying, 'I don't like this sort of story.' That's fair enough. If you do not li
Nancy Oakes
You know pretty much immediately that this is not going to be your average mystery story. A group of friends who meet regularly to discuss odd & diverse supernatural topics such as ghosts & ghost stories are interrupted by a strange man by the name of Pierre Fley who addresses himself to one of the group, a Dr. Charles Grimaud. The stranger discusses a story about three coffins and then tells Grimaud that either Fley or his brother would be calling upon him soon. It is not long afterward ...more
Jul 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Poirot fans, mystery readers, and those who love to play Clue!
Recommended to Dianna by: Wikipedia
I picked The Three Coffins (aka Hollow Man) up when, after I started reading the Poirot mysteries, Adam mentioned the term "Locked Room Mysteries". Having not read many classic mysteries before, I was ignorant of the genre. So, what does any internet-savvy person do when they want a superficial introduction to a subject, of course I Wikipedia-ed it (you can burn me later). Anyway, this book was listed as the epitome of the locked-room mystery.

This book is actually a fantastic way to get acquain
Haven't read the author before and stumbled across this novel on "The Guardian 1000" books to read list. This was a relatively complicated locked room mystery. There's not one but two murders to be solved by Superintendent Hadley and the very clever Dr Gideon Fell. For this reader the highlight of the novel was Dr Fell's dissertation on "murder." Enjoyed the vintage atmosphere and the characters on offer but an overly wordy mystery.
Dec 22, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you like traditional whodunnits, you may well love this book. In my case, The Three Coffins served to remind me why I quit reading traditional whodunnits.

The best part of the book is its famous twenty-seventh chapter, "The Locked-Room Lecture." This disquisition could be read with enjoyment apart from the rest of the novel. (Indeed, this is what I wish I had done myself.) Here, John Dickson Carr's detective-hero, Dr. Gideon Fell, gives an entertaining history and theory of locked-room mysteri
Sep 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
In the introduction it's written, "He (John Dickson Carr) liked to present the reader with all the clues needed to solve the mystery," so I went into this with all intentions of unraveling this seemingly impossible murder mystery. But MIss Marple, Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Nancy Drew, Charlie Chan, Columbo and Jim Rockford together wouldn't have figured this out. Still it was fun to read and try to guess who did it. Solid 3 stars.
DeAnna Knippling
Brilliant but exhausting. If you're in for a locked-room mystery, this is gonna be your thing.

This is the book that contains the famous chapter on locked-room mysteries, and it was brilliant, but I also felt a little wounded by it--one of those pull-back-the-curtain moments that shows you how the sausage is made. I wasn't ready for it, and it put me at a distance from the end of the book.
J.V. Seem
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Staying up past your bedtime because you simply *have* to know... Most likely you're reading John Dickson Carr.

A murder is committed by a man in a mask, who leaves no footprints in the newly fallen snow outside, and who, after having done the deed, disappears into thin air in a locked room.

Just writing that sends a shiver up my spine.

I can remember hearing a radio theater version of this when I was a kid. I couldn't remember any details, just that it really creeped me out. And it still does.

Non fatico a credere perchè Le tre bare venga spesso citato come una delle massime opere esemplari di delitto della camera chiusa: racchiude in sè tutto il mistero dell'impossibilità e dell'incredulità di un delitto compiuto in una stanza chiusa dall'interno, senza vie d'uscite, senza tracce, senza nulla di nulla. Un rompicapo, tipicissimo, intricato, da spaccarsi le meningi. Il Dottor Grimaud, chiuso nel suo studio con un macabro quadro rappresentante tre bare, viene ucciso da un uomo con una m ...more
Craig Herbertson
First Carr novel and already addicted.

Professor Charles Grimaud and his circle meet at a tavern. They are interrupted by a mysterious stranger who says that men can rise from their graves. The stranger, an illusionist called Pierre Fley, claims to have this rather natty ability, and couples this with the news that he has an even more dangerous brother who wants to kill Grimaud. He tells Grimaud to choose which of the two brothers he wants to pop round (him or the naughtier one), and Grimaud tel
Robin Stevens
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another one that I'd heard of but never read - and I really enjoyed it. Yes, it's another one that doesn't read well in 2017 for its attitudes to anyone not a white Englishman, in particular some really distressing casual violence towards female characters, BUT it's also a super clever and playful locked room mystery that's going to delight any crime fan. 14+

*Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. Please do not use it in any marketing material, online or in print, wi
Girish Kohli
May 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
'I have committed another crime Hadley' said the detective, 'I have guessed the truth'

This is how the book ends.

The whole problem with this detective story is that the detective 'guesses' the truth and does not deduce it.

This is a closed room murder mystery. The mystery in itself is hardly compelling. The resolution of the mystery is over complicated and totally uninteresting.
The murder may well have happened in a circus and not in a house because too many tricks and illusions and gimmi
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
The Hollow Man was apparently voted the “best locked room mystery of all time”, so it comes as no surprise to discover its one of those completely contrived murder mysteries which are set up in order to make the protagonist – eccentric detective Gideon Fell, who is based on London – appear enormously clever. The Hollow Man is split into three sections. In the first, an emigré professor is threatened in a pub, and then is later murdered in his room after admitting a stranger – but when the locked ...more
Nihal Vrana
Feb 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
I tip my hat to anyone who can figure this one out before the explanation part. As far as mysteries go, this one is really ingeniously designed and deserves its fame as the best locked room mystery. Also, the part towards the end where Gideon Fell deconstructs the Locked Room subgenre in detective stories is interesting too.

These being said, the style of writing was too awkward for me to enjoy it. For a series at its 6th book all the characters lacked depth and were totally inaccessible. And alt
Chris Fowler
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Carr is an acquired taste. His locked-room mysteries are always preposterous and his prose is very much of its era, but if you only read one of his mysteries this is the one to go for. Take two crimes, one in a locked room and one in a snowbound street to which the murderer could not have gained admittance, add a definitive fourth-wall-breaking lecture on the art of the locked room mystery and provide a solution so insane that no murderer would ever attempt it - but who cares when the result is ...more
Jan C
Jan 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jan C by: Kirsti
Shelves: mystery, england, 2015
This one has a different cover.

Bizarre. One of the classics. A bag of magic tricks. Dr. Fell advises that the resolution was determined by the weight of a picture.

John Dickson Carr is the master of the locked room mystery. This was the sixth in the series.

Peter Lovesey pays homage in Bloodhounds.
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting tale, it was interesting the way the story was integrated with the atmosphere of magic and illusions. I also liked very much Dr Gideon Fell and the fact that contrary to detectives of this era he is not infallible and he confesses it. I also liked the lecture about the locked room mysteries even though it contained spoilers. Fortunatelly I have already read the yellow room by Leroux that is considered the best one.
Jun 17, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although this is considered one of the best locked room mysteries, it wasn't that interesting. Not very much happened after the initial crimes; you had to wait for Dr. Gideon Fell to figure out what happened. It had a very slow pace. The ending, while unexpected, was a little too fantastic to be realistic. I had to skip a page or two in chapter 27 because Dr. Fell kept referencing the solutions of other famous mysteries that I want to read later. 2.5 stars.
May 14, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A Grand Master of Mystery...a classic example of the locked room mystery....
Apparently back in the '30's, mystery readers were smarter, had longer attention spans, and were easily duped into believing anything.
I just don't get it.
There is mention of another Locked Room mystery-The Problem of Cell 13-read it many years ago and it was excellent. Definitely better than this one.
Apr 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense-mystery
Short and stimulating. The meta fiction part about the locked room discussion is brilliant. There is no such thing as 'improbable', indeed.
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Most famous for Chapter 17: The Locked Room Lecture--go ahead and read this chapter (warning: contains spoilers for other 80 to 100 year old books) & skip the rest.
Practically perfect in every way.
Aug 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was regarded by many as the greatest locked room mystery and I can see why it was. John Dickson Carr was a master at making the atmosphere scary and the master of the impossible crime and he really did a great job here

He started the book by telling us that the witnesses all told the truth as they saw it leading the reader to believe there will be a misdirection and what they think is true would necessarily not be the case. That was proved by the ending when the killer was revealed

I never
Warren Gossett
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This classic 1935 murder mystery is so different to action heavy blockbusters of the 21st century. It features murder in a staid Victorian style house in central London the 1930's. Not only protagonist Dr. Fell and his foil Superintendent Hadley, but every character, even minor ones, spin elaborate theories or confusions till the very last sentence. I could collapse in mental exhaustion.
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
May 09, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I was disappointed, John Dickson Carr comes from the Golden Age of Crime writing and was the master of the locked room mystery. Because there are so many puzzles surrounding the mystery, it makes the novel a stitled read.
Dal grande John Dickson Carr AKA Carter Dickson una delle più geniali interpretazioni dell'enigma della camera chiusa. Una lettura irrinunciabile per gli amanti del giallo classico, bella della stessa bellezza di un'equazione e quasi altrettanto astratta.
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The best "locked room" mystery? 10 78 Jul 12, 2013 08:24AM  
  • The Poisoned Chocolates Case (Roger Sheringham Cases, #5)
  • Malice Aforethought
  • The Beast Must Die (Nigel Strangeways, #4)
  • The Thinking Machine
  • The Red Widow Murders (Sir Henry Merrivale, #3)
  • Smallbone Deceased (Inspector Hazelrigg, #4)
  • Trent's Last Case (Philip Trent, #1)
  • The Four Just Men  (The Four Just Men #1)
  • Hamlet, Revenge! (Sir John Appleby, #2)
  • The Egyptian Cross Mystery (Ellery Queen Detective, #5)
  • The Moving Toyshop (Gervase Fen, #3)
  • Beast In View
  • The Madman of Bergerac: Inspector Maigret #16
  • Bertie And The Tinman (Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, #1)
  • Poetic Justice (A Kate Fansler Mystery #3)
  • The Labyrinth Makers
  • The Benson Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #1)
  • A Rich Full Death
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 Mad Hatter Mystery (Dr. Gideon Fell, #2)
  • The Eight of Swords (Dr. Gideon Fell, #3)
  • The Blind Barber (Dr. Gideon Fell, #4)
  • Death-Watch (Dr. Gideon Fell, #5)
  • 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)
“I am a mathematician, sir. I never permit myself to think.” 13 likes
“I have committed another crime, Hadley,' he said. 'I have guessed the truth again.” 3 likes
More quotes…