cover image The Crooked Hinge

The Crooked Hinge

John Dickson Carr. Penzler, $25.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-61316-130-2

Carr (1906–1977) is at his best in this creepy and baffling entry in the American Mystery Classics series, originally published in 1938. The lives of Sir John Farnleigh and his wife are upended when a stranger using the name Patrick Gore appears at their Kent estate and claims that he’s the real Sir John. Gore alleges that as a child he was on the Titanic with another boy, who used the ocean liner’s sinking as a cover to attack him and steal his identity. Gore later believed his assailant and fellow survivor was dead, until learning that the imposter was posing as Sir John. Sir John’s tutor, Kennet Murray, who knew him well as a boy, quizzes Gore, but before Murray can give his opinion as to the man’s veracity, someone’s throat is slashed. Gideon Fell, Carr’s series detective, investigates the murder, the related question of who is the real Sir John, and allegations of witchcraft at the estate. This is an all-time classic by an author scrupulous about playing fair with his readers. Golden age fans won’t want to miss it. [em](Oct.) [/em]