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The Devil in Velvet (1994 Ed)
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The Devil in Velvet (1994 Ed)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  197 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Professor Nicholas Fenton enters a pact with Satan and goes back in time to bawdy, turbulent Restoration London to prevent a murder that is about to take place. But he falls in love with the intended victim and resolves to alter the course of history. Breathless pace and ingenious plotting.--New York Times.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 1st 1994 by Carroll & Graf Publishers (first published 1951)
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Lynne King
I wrote this review in December and never put a rating on it and so it has just been sitting in the "ether" in Goodreads. It has now seen the light of day!

My husband John recommended this book to me and because I loved it so much, as a result I think I now have all the John Dickson Carr (AKA Carter Dickson) books; over eighty in total. These are wonderful mysteries and quite a few from the Golden Age in the 30s/40s.

I’ve often wondered why this incredible book by John Dickson Carr has never been
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Marina by: Lynne King
I had no idea what I was getting into when my friend Lynne recommended this to me (see her review here).

My copy is a green penguin from the 1950s so I was expecting a crime novel. And so it is. There’s a murder mystery but there’s also time travel and a pact (or two) with the devil. Add a little romance, a generous dose of intrigue and plenty of swordplay and it all adds up to a lot of fun! I think John Dickson Carr was enjoying himself when he wrote this and that certainly comes through. This d
DeAnna Knippling
No objectivity here: I did not like this book and found it a drag. I feel the author, instead of writing the clever alternate history mystery that he intended (and which you can see in the events of the book), wrote a confusuing, inharmonious mess. I kept finding myself muttering at the book, " What does that even have to do with anything?" and, "You TOLD us who the murderer is, now staaahp with the b.s." The novel has three different whodunnit reveals, blows the real one early on, then muddies ...more
May 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: birthday-books, owned
What a book. An very intricate mystery wrapped up in detailed historical fiction with romance and time travel to boot. Oh yeah. And a pact with Satan.

Nicholas Fenton, a Cambridge professor of history, makes a deal with Satan to travel back to the Restoration--an era of British history that fascinates him. As part of the transaction, he will be transported into the body of wealthy swashbuckling younger man; a man whose wife is destined for a murder Fenton feels he could prevent. Pretty much a dr
Apr 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A deal with the devil, time travel, body-switching, mystery and witchery and a late 17th century setting. I expected horror but it's more mystery and a little romance. This book really struck a note with me and is one of the few that I've taken the time to reread. It was part of a series of JD Carr reprints of historical mysteries (others were BRIDE OF NEWGATE and FIRE, BURN) but this was head and shoulders above the rest. I tracked down a hardcover copy a few years ago and added it to my perman ...more
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it

The Devil in Velvet is a historical novel/mystery with a touch of the paranormal thrown in to keep it interesting. Oh, and did I mention time travel?

Author John Dickson Carr first published it in 1951 and it was published again in 2014 as an eBook by Open Road Integrated Media. Carr made a career of writing crime and detective novels and won prestigious awards in both Great Britain and the USA. I came upon this novel courtesy of Early Bird Books, which is a great way to see the good stuff that's
Robin Winter
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For my vote, this is John Dickson Carr's finest hour. A breathless romp of a book full of a darkness that shrouds motive, thanks to a beautifully constrained element of the supernatural. Talk about not giving the reader what she or he wants-- Carr is the master of this trick, and he manages it without cheating-- he told you up front what he was about to do and then like the best of magicians, he diverts you and does exactly what he said he would. With history peeking through the doors and window ...more
Jul 02, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shira Glassman
Here we have a middle-aged nerd from 1920's Cambridge traveling back in time via Satanic pact to the Restoration period, of which he's been the world's biggest fanboy his entire life, in order to star in what I can only describe as seventeenth-century noir complete with femme fatales, impromptu duels, and sinister plots.

He spends a lot of the book internally squeeing his head off about finally getting to see this gone-by-his-lifetime building, or that famous person, or being able to use period-a
Aug 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 100-fant-list
The Devil in Velvet by John Dickson Carr, is combination fantasy, crime and historical novel. The premise is that Nicholas Fenton sells his soul to the Devil (the fantasy) in order to travel back in time to Restoration England (the history) to solve and prevent a murder before it happens (the crime). I have to confess, I found the first part of the novel tough going. In fact I put it down for a few months before trying again. It does pick up and the story provides a wealth of interesting detail ...more
Diana Sandberg
Jun 21, 2009 rated it liked it
This is apparently a classic and I did rather enjoy it. Carr completely circumvented my usual objections to time-travel stories – there are no pseudo-scientific explanations, the hero travelled back to the Restoration via a deal with the devil. So there. Somehow, I find that less problematic. Anyhow, it was kind of fun; I liked the device of the main character struggling over possession of his 17th-century body with the original inhabitant. I found the love story angle unconvincing, however. Ah ...more
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Excellent, but I had two knock it a star for two reasons. 1.) Sometimes JDC overdoes the historical details, which go past creating a believable world and become, at times, painstaking. I loved the first few sword fights, but by the end I was done--although the latter was more due to the pacing. Unlike most JDCs, this one's ending is poorly paced. 2.) Yep, the pace. It takes a while to pick up and then the last 50 pages are a little rocky. Overall, a great read, don't get me wrong.

For a more tr
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: time-travel
The first 10 to 20 pages seemed quite slow, but I am glad I did not put this book down. Once the protagonist traveled into the past I found the book to be compelling. Carr is known for his mysteries, and for extensive research into the time period for which his novels take place. The book was worth reading simply for the latter reason. My only quibble with the story is that it does not have any clear mechanism for time travel; if you put that aside, which is easily done, the story and characteri ...more
Thomas Burchfield
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"The results are tremendously entertaining, written with precise and vivid color, narrative dash, and great humor. The Devil in Velvet never ceases to enthrall and delight. (It’s one of those books I’d throw at Nabokov and Edmund Wilson when they start carping against genre fiction)."

More of my review of this delightful uproarious tale at:
Dec 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, mystery
I'd heard about this book for years but somehow hadn't come across it until recently. The writing is superb, as are the details of life under Charles II. The characters came to life, as did the location of London. In fact, I enjoyed the story more as an historical romance than as a mystery, although the mystery is an intriguing one. The fantasy elements blend well with the rest of the plot. Nice to find the book lives up to its reputation.
Melissa Mackenzie
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fast-paced Restoration romp! Dickson Carr absolutely transports his reader (not to mention his main characters!) back in time to the bawdy times of the 1670's to prevent a murder! The author includes lots of fascinating historically accurate details of the sights, sounds, etc (and even some true historical figures!) of London at the time without taking away from the story which is always full of action and intrigue!
Sheri South
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow! A totally unexpected plot twist just past the 2/3 point (when our hero Professor Fenton, aka Sir Nick, is told who is behind several attempts to kill him) and another right before the end (when the true poisoner of Lady Fenton is revealed) compelled me to stay awake until 2:30 am to finish this time-travel thriller set (mostly) in Restoration England.
William Bibliomane
Nicholas Fenton's pact with the Devil lands him in 1675, during the Restoration, just in time for political intrigue, poisoning, and murder. Another fantastic historical adventure from Carr.

Full review here.
Catherine Hill
Sep 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
This is a time travel mystery. A man of the 1930s has become so fascinated with an unfinished Restoration England journal that he makes a pact with the Devil to go back and find out what actually happened. One of the really interesting things is his reaction to the reality of everyday life (even royal life) in the 1660s. ...more
Norman Howe
May 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A professor makes a deal with the devil to travel back to the seventeenth century and solve a murder. But will Nick Fenton save his wife's life"," or lose his soul? Mystery"," fantasy"," and history combine.
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. About to read 'Most Secret' which was difficult to get, then 'The Bride of Newgate' which is set in 16th Century, as this one is. A good historical novel, well-researched.
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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
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