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Download The mad hatter mystery epub

by John Dickson Carr

286 page paperback mystery.
Download The mad hatter mystery epub
ISBN: 002018820X
ISBN13: 978-0020188209
Category: Mystery
Subcategory: Thrillers & Suspense
Author: John Dickson Carr
Language: English
Publisher: Collier Books (1984)
ePUB size: 1779 kb
FB2 size: 1796 kb
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 119
Other Formats: rtf mobi lit lrf

"The Mad Hatter Mystery" has nothing to do with Alice's Mad Hatter, although it takes place in a locale almost as English as Wonderland, i.e. the Tower of London. As may be guessed from the murder site, Carr relies heavily on atmospherics: shrouds of fog; a corpse with a crossbow bolt through its heart; an unpublished story by Edgar Allen Poe; and above all a mad prankster who steals the headgear of London's elite (everyone wore hats in 1933) and displays his prizes in the most unlikely locations.
When a corpse shows up near Traitor's Gate with a stolen top hat jammed on its head, Scotland Yard automatically enlists Dr. Gideon Fell to solve the bizarre murder.

He solves it of course--but not before an army of suspects each takes his or her turn in the spotlight. Although Carr is most famously known for his locked -room mysteries and 'impossible' crimes, he was also a master of the eerie atmosphere. "The Mad Hatter Mystery" has both in great quantity: lots of macabre touches; and the solution will surprise even the keenest mystery buff. Dr. Fell's tics and grotesqueries aren't as intrusive as in some of Carr's other mysteries starring his massive, eccentrically-dressed detective. The doctor also shows a great deal of restraint (for him) in dropping hints that he already knows the identity of the murderer, even though it's only page forty-five and the reader has two-hundred-and-forty-one pages to go before he or she figures out whodunit.

Supposedly modeled after Carr's idol, G.K. Chesterton, Dr. Fell also resembles a jovial Father Christmas or a President Chester A. Arthur, resting comfortably after a vast meal that was consumed with countless pints of beer. He's not my favorite fictional detective, although he appeared in twenty-three novels culminating in "Dark of the Moon" (1967). However, I do like Carr's atmospheric mysteries so I'll probably end up reading all twenty-three of 'em. This is one of the best, so far.
Great company. I recieved it in the space of a week. The book is a bit worn, but that is to be expected since this book has been out of print for quite some time.
I paid 15 dollars for a paperback book that is ripped, torn and mutilated. Ick.
London is in the grip of an absurd crime wave. No gentleman's hat (or barrister's wig) is safe. Some deranged fiend, or undergraduate prankster, known fondly in the press as the Mad Hatter, is systematically twitching headgear off the heads of its owners and onto those of cab horses, statuary, lamp posts and other unsuspecting recipients. For Detective Inspector Hadley of the C.I.D. it's a nightmare. For Dr. Gideon Fell, his own distinctive shovel hat still safely in his possession, it's hilarious.

But it's on another case that Hadley is consulting his scholarly, eccentric sometime partner in crime-solving. Dr. Fell's expertise is just what's needed to ferret out a valuable Edgar Allan Poe manuscript stolen from the collection of retired politician Sir William Bitton. Sir William is supposed to meet with them to discuss the theft, but he arrives late -- and hatless. He's already missed three meetings because he wouldn't be seen without his hat, but after losing two hats in three days, he's not buying another one, just to have it stolen too.

Sir William doesn't want Scotland Yard officially involved in the case of the purloined manuscript, because he is trying to keep his ownership of it, if indeed he does own it, a secret. On a visit to Philadelphia he had gone to look at a house where Poe once lived, and found it under renovation. Stepping inside just as workmen were pulling a cupboard out of the wall, he spotted a paper packet stuck behind it and bribed the workmen $20 to let him take it. Now it has mysteriously disappeared from his own house in London.

In return for the unofficial help with the manuscript theft, Hadley had planned to ask a favor of Sir William. It is Sir William's young nephew, Philip Driscoll, a freelance journalist, who has written the articles that have kept the Mad Hatter on everyone's mind, and Hadley would like his uncle to try to convince him to stop. But Hadley has just brought up the subject when he receives an urgent telephone call. The murdered body of Philip Driscoll has been found at the Tower of London, wearing his uncle's hat.

Sir William is devastated; he was very fond of his nephew, though they sometimes quarreled about money; now he wishes he had been more generous. The very professional guardians of the Tower have left the body as it was found. Driscoll was dressed for golf, except for the top hat, and the cause of death was a crossbow bolt through the heart. It's a foggy, rainy day, and the Tower looms grim and forbidding.

A mildly diverting mystery with moody Tower atmosphere, though, for me, far too messy and, ultimately, unconvincing and unsatisfying, without a single sympathetic character. Best quote from Dr. Fell: "I am the walrus." Maybe so, but no Sherlock Holmes.
I read the previous Dr. Fell years ago but I seem to recall it was more enjoyable that this one. I didn't find the supporting cast all that interesting here and Fell himself seems rather subdued, much less memorable than in his debut, (Hags Nook). The first two thirds of Mad Hatter are too dry and wordy although the book is somewhat redeemed by the ending. That, and the little hints of Fell's unique character that shine through in places, will keep me reading on through the series. Slowly.
Billy Granson
This is the second Dr.Fell mystery and unlike the first which is set in the country this one is set in and around the "Towers of London" and the family of a post-WWI nobleman. A body is found below the 'Bloody Tower' with a steel crossbow bolt through the heart. The dead man is also wearing a Top Hat. Like the US at this time, no man or woman went out without a head covering. The rich still wore top-hats as part of their formal day wear, while working men wore caps or homburgs. But no one wore a top-hat with plus-fours (golfing dress) as did the corpse.

How Gideon Fell (and his American assistant) get involved in the case is to complicated to explain, but it's all in aiding Inspector Hadley of Scotland Yard in pursuing the murderer. The case involves stolen hats, infidelity, drinking to excess, a stolen Edgar Allen Poe manuscript, playacting on many sides, true confession and selfless acts of kindness. But, because the story is so old (that it creaks) its hard to fathom (unless you have a good understanding of the interwar years in Britain) what all the fuss is about and that includes the murder.

Read it for its' historical value as to the sociology of the times.

Zeb Kantrowitz