Appointment With Agatha discussion

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Archive - 2020 side reads > September locked room mystery: The Hollow Man (spoiler-free)

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message 1: by Christine PNW, Agathyte (last edited Aug 31, 2020 07:47AM) (new)

Christine PNW (moonlight_reader) | 922 comments According to Wikipedia:

The Hollow Man (The Three Coffins in the US) is a 1935 locked room mystery novel set in London by the American writer John Dickson Carr, and featuring his recurring investigator Gideon Fell. It contains in chapter 17 the often-reprinted "locked room lecture" in which Dr Fell speaks directly to the reader, setting out the various ways in which murder can be committed in an apparently locked room or otherwise impossible situation.

The book has received high praise from many critics, and in 1981 was selected as the best locked room mystery of all time by a panel of 17 mystery authors and reviewers.


The thread is now open!


message 2: by Brenda (new)

Brenda (gd2brivard) | 120 comments This is a different type of story than I’ve been reading lately, and how fun that it holds such acclaim. I’ll be starting this in a few days. Should be thrilling!


message 3: by BrokenTune (last edited Sep 01, 2020 03:26AM) (new)

BrokenTune | 348 comments Hooray! I think I'll start on this later today. I've been meaning to read this book for such a long time and now there is nothing in the way of making a start on it. :)


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (themis-athena) | 471 comments BrokenTune wrote: "Hooray! I think I'll start on this later today. I've been meaning to read this book for such a long time and now there is nothing in the way of making a start on it. :)"

I hope you're going to enjoy it! I liked (though not loved) it on my first read; on my second read it grew on me considerably more. I'll be curious what your -- and everybody's -- experience is going to be.


message 5: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 193 comments I have a copy from the library and am ready to read.


message 6: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckydc) | 2 comments Just sent it to my kindle. Let the mystery begin!


message 7: by Lillelara (new)

Lillelara | 65 comments Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) wrote: "BrokenTune wrote: "Hooray! I think I'll start on this later today. I've been meaning to read this book for such a long time and now there is nothing in the way of making a start on it. :)"

I hope ..."


I wasn´t especially keen on it either, Themis, when I first read it. I wonder if I´m going to like it more on my reread.


message 8: by Christine PNW, Agathyte (new)

Christine PNW (moonlight_reader) | 922 comments Lillelara wrote: "Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) wrote: "BrokenTune wrote: "Hooray! I think I'll start on this later today. I've been meaning to read this book for such a long time and now there is nothing in the ..."

I loved it the first time I read it. I'm also curious to see how I feel about it second time around.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (themis-athena) | 471 comments Lillelara wrote: "I wasn´t especially keen on it either, Themis, when I first read it. I wonder if I´m going to like it more on my reread."

Oh, I did like it -- there was just so much going on (not least an absolutely twisted impossible crime scenario -- or two of them, even) that I wasn't able to really pick up on the little things, and as so often is the case, being able to do that on the reread made the difference. (I also found it quite a bit more atmospheric as a result the second time around.)


message 10: by Christine PNW, Agathyte (new)

Christine PNW (moonlight_reader) | 922 comments I've started my reread of this one and the first "impossible" crime has just happened. I really don't remember the solution, so it's sort of like reading it for the first time.

I know that the first time I read it I was surprised by the tone. For some reason I had Carr pegged as noir, which he is definitely not. This book feels positively ornate to me.


message 11: by BrokenTune (new)

BrokenTune | 348 comments Christine PNW wrote: "I've started my reread of this one and the first "impossible" crime has just happened. I really don't remember the solution, so it's sort of like reading it for the first time.

I know that the fir..."


"Ornate" is a good word for this.


message 12: by Tania (new)

Tania | 53 comments I'm looking forward to join in on this one, it has come in to the library and I can pick it up on Wednesday. Should be able to start it then.


message 13: by Christine PNW, Agathyte (new)

Christine PNW (moonlight_reader) | 922 comments I finished! I still really liked it, although it is a very convoluted tale indeed. The locked room element of it is well done and I can understand why people admire the cleverness of the plotting. I do feel like the middle dragged a bit. I loved the atmosphere of a dark, snowy London.

This is the only Gideon Fell that I've read and I am definitely going to read more. I am most interested in The Mad Hatter Mystery because the Tower of London tie in looks excellent.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (themis-athena) | 471 comments Christine PNW wrote: "I am most interested in The Mad Hatter Mystery because the Tower of London tie in looks excellent."

That one is also on my TBR. I've read a few other Fell books, but none of the recent republications.


message 15: by Marie (new)

Marie | 77 comments Christine PNW wrote: "I finished! I still really liked it, although it is a very convoluted tale indeed. The locked room element of it is well done and I can understand why people admire the cleverness of the plotting. ..."
Your comment is perfectly timed to re-energize my reading; I was foundering a bit in the middle chapters. I do love Dr. Fell’s quirks and verbal tics, as well as the tensions among the occupants of Grimaud’s house.


message 16: by Deborah (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 140 comments This is a first time read for me, and I started it today. It’s been hard for me to focus as I downloaded it into my kindle and it’s a very poor copy. Odd punctuation, font changing from tiny to large and from light to date. A weird web site smack dab in the middle of the page. Very distracting. I will keep going as I am enjoying the story so far.


message 17: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 193 comments I've read about a third and am getting used to the style-and agree that "ornate" is a good way to describe it. It's a different kind of mystery.


message 18: by Brenda (new)

Brenda (gd2brivard) | 120 comments I’ve just finished and for the most part enjoyed the book. I was clueless as to the mystery.

I do agree with Christine, sometimes it felt a little slow going in places.

And I agree with Marie, Dr Fell’s character is entertaining. He breaks up some of the seriousness of the other characters. The book is rather dark and heavy (from the scenes in the house to a snowy London) and he does provide a good contrast.


message 19: by Lillelara (new)

Lillelara | 65 comments I´m a bit late to the party but I´m about 100 pages into The Hollow Man and while I can´t stop reading it, I have the same problem I had when I´ve read this book for the first time a couple of years ago. I´m a bit confused.
Fortunately, I can´t remember anything else about this book, so I´m curious how I will feel about it at the end.


message 20: by Christine PNW, Agathyte (new)

Christine PNW (moonlight_reader) | 922 comments Lillelara wrote: "I´m a bit late to the party but I´m about 100 pages into The Hollow Man and while I can´t stop reading it, I have the same problem I had when I´ve read this book for the first time ..."

It is confusing, Lillelara. It's not you - it's the book. Either that or it's both of us.


message 21: by BrokenTune (new)

BrokenTune | 348 comments Christine PNW wrote: "Lillelara wrote: "I´m a bit late to the party but I´m about 100 pages into The Hollow Man and while I can´t stop reading it, I have the same problem I had when I´ve read this book f..."

Three of us. I think he did this on purpose, in a (view spoiler)way.


message 22: by Lillelara (last edited Sep 20, 2020 11:17AM) (new)

Lillelara | 65 comments I´m so glad both of you have been confused by it, too :D. Not that being confused is a good thing. But it´s nice not being alone about it.


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