The Lost Gallows (1931). IMO the best of the Bencolins. Early, over the top Carr with brilliant atmosphere.
The Three Coffins (1935). Perhaps his most accomplished "complex" impossible crime novel and his best novel at the date it was published.
The Burning Court (1937).. Unique novel. Explicit intrusion of the supernatural. Carr as a ghost writer. Unforgettable characters.
The Reader is Warned (1938). Brilliant tour-de-force. Contemporarily relevant metaphor for the dangers of irrational fear. Remarkable male protagonist.
He Who Whispers (1946). Perhaps his most accomplished "simple" impossible crime novel. Post-war Carr, more interested in human relationships. Remarkable female protagonist. Untypical and humane ending.
These are not necessarily among my five favorite Carrs but I believe they are representative of his evolution. The omission of the historical novels is deliberate. Carr was a precursor of the nowadays trendy historical mystery, but I cannot help to feel the historical novels as a step down in his own writing carreer. If I had to include one it would be Captain Cut Throat.
I would actually pick the same books chosen by Nick, with the exception of And Then There Were None. I've always thought of Ackroyd, None and Orient Express as belonging to the same group of idiosyncratic, envelope pushing novels, and therefore would not include both in a list of five. Instead, I would chose Death on the Nile. IMO it is the most perfect example of the Poirot formula. It would be interesting to compare Styles and Nile.
I'm not a great fan of Marsh or Stout. My pick of their books would mainly include the ones that have properties I find untypical of their authors and would therefore be distorted.
From: Jon <jonjermey@...
Sent: Saturday, January 31, 2009 11:31:32 PM
Subject: [GAdetection] Five Christies for discussion group
I am about to try and set up some more GAD fiction discussion groups for
WEA Sydney (http://www.weasydne
y.nsw.edu. au) and I thought a nice
simple one would involve a chronological look at Christie's development
over time. So I am looking for suggestions for five Christie books that
in some way represent milestones or stereotypical stages in her career.
I'm not a Christie expert and I thought it might be time to pick some
brains. Five is the limit and I will need some sort of justification for
If you are feeling generous you could do the same for Ngaio Marsh, Rex
Stout and/or John Dickson Carr, who are also candidates for courses,
although this will also depend on the availability of the books.
Thanks and regards,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]