I am, as my colleagues and friends know, an avid reader of mysteries, especially older books from the Golden Age of crime fiction. I also am fond of the eerie ghost stories of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I also am, of late, very involved with the library’s digital collections. All of these interests came together when I discovered in our ebook collection a crime novel by John Dickson Carr that has not only a fine mystery story, but also a pervading sense of the supernatural that creates a sense of unease throughout the tale.
Publishing executive Edward Stevens is on the train to his weekend cottage outside Philadelphia from the office in New York City when he begins looking over a new manuscript about infamous women criminals. He is disturbed to discover that one of them shares not only his wife’s name, but also apparently must be a distant relative, as he recognizes a piece of jewelry in the accompanying photo of the murderess. The sense that something is seriously wrong grows as Stevens is asked by a friend to look into the recent death of a relative that may or may not be murder. Suffice it to say that it is indeed murder, but there does not seem to be a body to be found in the coffin, and Stevens’s wife seems to hiding some dark secrets from her past. The ending and the epilogue only add to the unusual nature of the story.
Carr is a master of character, and all of his crime novels are worth looking into. But if you are seeking a story that will make you look around on a dark autumn night to make sure you are actually alone in the room, The Burning Court is a great one to try.
This one is only available as an ebook right now, so get out your iPad, NOOK, Kindle or other reader and settle in to enjoy an evening of mystery and chills.
Check the WRL catalog for The Burning Court