cover image The Corpse in the Waxworks: A Paris Mystery

The Corpse in the Waxworks: A Paris Mystery

John Dickson Carr. Poisoned Pen, $14.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-4642-1543-8

In this superior British Library Crime Classics reissue from Carr (1906–1977), first published in 1932, Paris examining magistrate Henri Bencolin investigates the murder of Odette Duchêne, a former cabinet minister’s daughter, whose bruised and stabbed body was found floating in the Seine. Odette was last seen entering the Musée Augustin, which displays waxworks. Her murder may be part of a pattern linked to the sparsely attended museum, as another young woman seen there disappeared six months earlier. That theory’s strengthened after Bencolin and his sidekick, Jeff Marle, visit the Musée Augustin, where what Marle took to be an effigy in the arms of a wax satyr is actually the stabbed corpse of Claudine Martel, Odette’s best friend, also a retired cabinet minister’s daughter. Carr matches the creepy Grand Guignol atmosphere with an utterly fair solution that reinforces the importance of reading every word. Though the Bencolin tales lack the humor of Carr’s Gideon Fell and Henry Merrivale impossible crime novels, golden age fans who haven’t encountered them are in for a treat. (Nov.)