John Dickson Carr review index

Whenever I finish reading a Carr book and hit “Publish” on my latest post, the hunt begins.  I pull up a browser window and comb through some of my regular haunts, seeing if I can track down other reviews of the same book.  I love seeing how others’ experience compare to mine – did they enjoy the same aspects?  Did they hate it?  Do they have some interesting insights that I hadn’t thought of?  Well, the answer to that last question is always ‘yes’.

My post-read ritual has been fairly clumsy up to now – pull up Google and type in “John Dickson Carr”, the title of the book, and “wordpress” or “blogspot”.  Sure, there are other review sites out there, but I tend to find the best material on these platforms.  As you may expect, my searches lead me down some well tread paths – Beneath the Stains of Time, The Invisible Event, In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, and several others.

So, for my own convenience, I now present a complete index of reviews.  Here you’ll find all Carr books, in chronological order.  In the case I’ve done a review, you can click on the title or the book cover.  I’ve also thrown in reviews from some of my favorite blogs, which should save me some hunting in the future.  The page is fairly amateurish and basic right now, but I hope to keep it up to date and flesh it out further over time.

Here’s the link, in case you didn’t notice it above

Just the basic act of putting this together has been somewhat enlightening.  All of the Carr publication lists that I’ve seen up to now divide his work between those published under his own name and those published as Carter Dickson.  Combining his work together into a comprehensive list reveals some interesting insights:

  • Aside from 1930, when It Walks by Night was published, Carr released at least two books a year up until 1943 – the year She Died a Lady came out.
  • Carr released five books in 1938!  And these aren’t throw aways either – The Four False Weapons, To Wake the Dead, The Crooked Hinge, The Judas Window, and Death in Five Boxes.
  • 1954 is the first year that Carr didn’t release a book.  This year was proceeded by The Cavalier’s Cup in 1953, and followed by Captain Cut Throat in 1955.

Of course, just because a book is released in a particular year doesn’t tell us anything about what Carr may have been working on during that time period.

I was also interested to see which books have been reviewed more than others.  The Ten Teacups is the current champion, most likely because of recent activity by JJ at The Invisible Event.  There are a lot of reviews of the so called classics – She Died a Lady, The Crooked Hinge, The Judas Window, Till Death Do Us Part, The Emperor’s Snuff Box, and The Case of the Constant Suicides.  I was actually surprised that The Hollow Man and The Burning Court are under represented.

Puzzle Doctor over at In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel probably gets the prize for the most varied reviews – touching on all sorts of more obscure books like The Dead Man’s Knock and The Sleeping Sphinx.

It’s interesting to see that there are a number of books with no reviews.  Of course, my current circle of blogs is fairly small, and I’m probably missing a few reliable reviewers.  If you have any suggestions, please post to the comments and I’ll look to add them.

For those of you who enjoy reading others reviews, hopefully this provides you a quicker way to hunt them down.  If you’re a fellow blogger looking to pick up a Carr book, maybe this can give you some consideration for the gaps that remain.

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9 thoughts on “John Dickson Carr review index”

  1. I am honored to have a few of my own entries included in your index! I am in the middle of She Died a Lady right now, so expect a post in the (hopefully) near future! I am enjoying your blog so much and learning much about Carr. I just want to call you something other than “Greenie!”

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  2. I’ll echo Brad and thank you for pointing to my blog posts! Carr also released five novels in 1934. Two as by Carr, two as by Dickson, and the fifth one was “Devil Kinsmere” as by Roger Fairbairn, which apparently had distressingly small sales. It was revised and re-released in the 60s as “Most Secret”. That’s pretty much a book every two months with weekends off … an astonishing feat. I’ll do Carr the credit of using the word “released”; unlike, say, John Rhode or Edgar Wallace, whose prolific writings might be said to have merely “escaped”. 😉

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  3. This is an excellent idea, and I too thank you for including my reviews and ramblings in your summation to date — no doubt we and many others will be able to add to this as the years go, and you’ll end up with quite the exhaustive resourse. Having one place to go for potentially conflicting views on a book is brilliant, especially as it will be easy to see what the same person thinks of a spread of books quite easily (as i, it’ll be clear which ones they’ve reviewed without having to trek through their site). Great work.

    And, yeah, you’ve spotted the omission of The Third Bullet (I did a review of that collection!) which accounts for 1954, but don’t forget that Carr also published the Sherlock Holmes stories he worked on with Adrian Conan Doyle in that year, too. In his entire writing career — from It Walks by Night (1930) to The Hungry Goblin (1971) — the only year he didn’t publish anything was 1967. I have it on good authority that he loved The Doors’ debiut album so much, he spent the entire year listening to that (okay, no, I made that up…). He then had nearly six years of not publishing anything before he died in February 1977 — I wonder how frustrating that was, after so many years of output. Crazy to think what that sort of life must have been like…

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  4. Hello!

    When I set off on my journey through all the JDC novels (a long, long time ago), I found Grobius Shortling’s John Dickson Carr pages useful. They contained the list of works in publication order, plus capsule reviews of each of them. The site’s no longer active but it can be found on the web archive via the ‘External Links’ section of Wikipedia’s JDC page.

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    1. Yes, Grobius Shortling’s page has been really helpful. There are a few similar pages that contain reviews of all Carr’s work, such as the spoiler-heavy page by Don D’Ammassa. Of course, I only check content like this upon completing a book.

      I’m planning to add a section to cover sites like this, I just haven’t figured out how yet.

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