cover image The Mad Hatter Mystery

The Mad Hatter Mystery

John Dickson Carr. Penzler, $25.95 (312p) ISBN 978-1-613161-33-3

Carr’s series sleuth, Dr. Gideon Fell, shows off his brilliance in this sterling entry in the American Mystery Classics series, originally published in 1933. Chief Inspector Hadley consults Fell on the case of Sir William Bitton, a book collector who stumbled on the find of a lifetime, the manuscript of a lost Edgar Allan Poe story, believed to have been the first the author wrote. Someone has stolen the document from Bitton’s London study, but before Fell and Hadley can investigate, they learn that one of the possible suspects has been found murdered at the Tower of London, killed with a crossbow bolt. The body was adorned with an opera hat that was stolen from Bitton previously, the second hat that had been stolen from him in a week. The hat robberies were part of a series of thefts committed by the person dubbed the Mad Hatter by Bitton’s journalist nephew. Could the Mad Hatter also be the thief who stole the Poe manuscript? Readers may be moved to reread the book to note how artfully Carr (1906–1977) plants the clues to the killer’s identity in plain sight. (May)