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Death in Five Boxes

Death in Five Boxes

(1938)
(The eighth book in the Sir Henry Merrivale series)
A novel by

 
Carter Dickson (a.k.a. John Dickson Carr) is certainly the master of the locked-room mystery, a category which might as well be named after him. In "Death in Five Boxes," Carr presents not a locked-room mystery but a nonetheless apparently impossible crime. A gathering of five people ends when four of them are found unconscious and nearly dead from atropine poisoning. The fifth faired far less well; he was dead, stabbed. As the room in which the five were found was not locked, the crime should be an easy one. But there's a slight catch; it seems impossible that anyone, whether a member of the group or an outsider, could have put the poison into the drinks. Sir Henry Merrivale, Carr's best character, is determined to solve the crime, though, and he naturally does so. Along the way, we learn that the five people who were at the table have many secrets, all of which only serve to cloud the mystery. "Death in Five Boxes" is an excellent novel for those who would like to be able finally to solve one of Carr's puzzles. The solution is perhaps the most obvious of any of his novels or short stories, though it should be pointed out that "obvious" and Carr's name do not lend themselves to use in the same paragraph. The novel might be better for aspiring mystery novelists. With such a (relatively) obvious solution, the book becomes an exercise in the mastery of hiding the obvious. Though the novel is far from Carr's best, either as a simple story or as an impossible mystery, the way in which this undisputed master goes about hiding the truth while playing entirely by the rules is something to behold.

Genre: Mystery
 
Used availability for Carter Dickson's Death in Five Boxes


See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US
 

Hardback Editions

December 1969 : UK Hardback
Title: Death in Five Boxes
Author(s): Carter Dickson
ISBN: 0-434-19405-0 / 978-0-434-19405-6 (UK edition)
Publisher: William Heinemann Ltd
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

June 1991 : USA Paperback
Title: Death in Five Boxes
Author(s):
ISBN: 0-553-24288-1 / 978-0-553-24288-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: International Polygonics, Ltd.
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   

June 1991 : USA Paperback
Title: Death in Five Boxes (Library of Crime Classics)
Author(s): Carter Dickson
ISBN: 1-55882-098-1 / 978-1-55882-098-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Intl Polygonics Ltd
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

1982 : USA Paperback
Title: Death in Five Boxes
Author(s): Carter Dickson
ISBN: 0-553-20373-8 / 978-0-553-20373-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Bantam Books
Availability: Amazon   

June 1977 : USA Paperback
Title: Death in Five Boxes
Author(s): Carter Dickson
ISBN: 0-505-51203-3 / 978-0-505-51203-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Tower & Leisure Sales Co
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   



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