Friday, November 29, 2013

Seeing is Believing by Carter Dickson: a review

"One night in midsummer, at Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, Arthur Fane murdered a ninteen-year-old girl named Polly Allen." So goes the opening line of Seeing is Believing which was written by Carter Dickson which is the pen name of John Dickson Carr who is the master of the puzzle mystery.

Two people knew about the murder. Vicky Fane, his wife, who did not tell anyone, and Hubert Fane, his uncle, who began blackmailing Arthur. Vicky was also trying to hide the fact that she was now in love with Captain Frank Sharpless, just as Arthur was growing quite fond of Ann Browning.

Uncle Hubert arranged a dinner party which would include Arthur, Vicky, Frank Sharpless, Ann Browning and himself. He also invited another interesting guest, Dr. Richard Rich, who was a stage hypnotist. After dinner, Dr. Rich hypnotized one of the members of this party, and a murder occured. I will not tell you who was murdered or how they were murdered because this is one the most curious points in the book. Indeed, it was an impossible crime.

Meanwhile, Sir Henry Merrivale is also in Cheltenham, staying with a friend. HM is dictating his rather racy and scandalous autobiography to the ghost writer, Philip Courtney. Philip is a good friend of Frank Sharpless and thus HM is drawn into investigating this crime. While the investigation was going on, other murder attempts were made. These attempts were also very difficult to explain. It took the incredible thinking skills of Sir Henry Merrivale to find the solution to these impossible crimes.

Unfortunately, this book seems to no longer be in print.

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