Carr, John Dickson

John Dickson CarrJohn Dickson Carr was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in 1906. His father, Wooda Nicholas Carr, was a congressman and a lawyer specialized in criminal law, which probably had an influence on a young John; he would go on to publish his first short story at the tender age of fifteen. After poor school performance, Carr wrote his first novel It Walks by Night in 1930, with Henri Bencolin as the main detective. He would later drop Bencolin in favour of his two more famous sleuths, Dr Gideon Fell and Sir Henry Merrivale, who were inspired by fellow author of detective stories C. K. Chesterton and Winston Churchill, respectively. In 1949, he was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America, while receiving the same year his first Edgar Award for his biography on Arthur Conan Doyle; the second one was awarded in recognition of his writing career in 1970. Having moved to Greenville, South Carolina, he died there of lung cancer February 27 1977, at the age of 70.

A prolific author, Carr has published over 70 novels, many short stories and a few plays in his career, both under his real name and the assumed pseudonym Carter Dickson. While several of his works have included fantasy elements (see The Burning Court), he has established himself as one of the key writers of locked-room mysteries. His mastery of the genre earned him critical acclaim from his peers, including from the Queen of Crime herself, Agatha Christie. And while Carr was American, many of his stories were transposed in an English setting, most probably a nod to the fact that the crime genre of the Golden Era had been chiefly the work of British authors.



1930 – It Walks By Night
1931 – The Lost Gallows
1931 – Castle Skull
1932 – The Waxworks Murder (US title: The Corpse in the Waxworks)
1932 – Poison in Jest
1933 – Hag’s Nook
1933 – The Mad Hatter Mystery
1933 – The Bowstring Murders [as Carter Dickson]
1934 – The Eight of Swords
1934 – The Blind Barber
1934 – The Plague Court Murders [as Carter Dickson]
1934 – The White Priory Murders [as Carter Dickson]
1935 – Death-Watch
1935 – The Hollow Man (US title: The Three Coffins)
1935 – The Red Widow Murders [as Carter Dickson]
1935 – The Unicorn Murders [as Carter Dickson]
1936 – The Arabian Nights Murder
1936 – The Punch and Judy Murders [as Carter Dickson] (UK title: The Magic Lantern Murders)
1937 – The Burning Court
1937 – The Ten Teacups [as Carter Dickson]
1937 – The Third Bullet [as Carter Dickson]
1938 – The Four False Weapons
1938 – To Wake the Dead
1938 – The Crooked Hinge
1938 – The Judas Window [as Carter Dickson]
1938 – Death in Five Boxes [as Carter Dickson]
1939 – The Black Spectacles (US: The Problem of the Green Capsule)
1939 – The Problem of the Wire Cage
1939 – Drop to His Death [as Carter Dickson] (US title: Fatal Descent)
1939 – The Reader is Warned [as Carter Dickson]
1940 – The Man Who Could Not Shudder
1940 – And So To Murder [as Carter Dickson]
1940 – Murder in The Submarine Zone [as Carter Dickson] (US title: Murder in the Atlantic)
1941 – The Case of the Constant Suicides
1941 – Death Turns the Tables (UK title: The Seat of the Scornful)
1941 – Seeing is Believing [as Carter Dickson] (Alternate UK title: Cross of Murder)
1942 – The Emperor’s Snuff-Box
1942 – The Gilded Man [as Carter Dickson] (Alternate US title: Death and The Gilded Man)
1943 – She Died A Lady [as Carter Dickson]
1944 – Till Death Do Us Part
1944 – He Wouldn’t Kill Patience [as Carter Dickson]
1945 – The Curse of the Bronze Lamp [as Carter Dickson] (UK title: Lord of the Sorcerers)
1946 – He Who Whispers
1946 – My Late Wives [as Carter Dickson]
1947 – The Sleeping Sphinx
1948 – The Skeleton in the Clock [as Carter Dickson]
1949 – Below Suspicion
1949 – A Graveyard To Let [as Carter Dickson]
1950 – The Bride of Newgate
1950 – Night at the Mocking Widow [as Carter Dickson]
1951 – The Devil in Velvet
1952 – The Nine Wrong Answers
1952 – Behind the Crimson Blind [as Carter Dickson]
1953 – The Cavalier’s Cup [as Carter Dickson]
1955 – Captain Cut-Throat
1956 – Patrick Butler for the Defence
1956 – Fear Is the Same [as Carter Dickson]
1957 – Fire, Burn!
1958 – The Dead Man’s Knock
1959 – Scandal at High Chimneys
1960 – In Spite of Thunder
1961 – The Witch of the Low Tide
1962 – The Demoniacs
1964 – Most Secret
1965 – The House at Satan’s Elbow
1966 – Panic in Box C
1968 – Dark of the Moon
1968 – Papa Là-Bas
1970 – The Ghosts’ High Noon
1971 – Deadly Hall
1972 – The Hungry Goblin

Short Story Collections

1940 – The Department of Queer Complaints
1947 – Dr Fell, Detective, and Other Stories
1954 – The Third Bullet and Other Stories of Detection
1954 – The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes, with Adrian Conan Doyle
1963 – The Men Who Explained Miracles
1980 – The Door to Doom and Other Detections
1983 – The Dead Sleep Lightly
1991 – Fell and Foul Play
1991 – Merrivale, March and Murder


1936 – The Murder of Sir Edmund Godfrey
1949 – The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle