4 thoughts on “Castle Skull by John Dickson Carr (1929)

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed Bencolin — he’s very much not in the style of your typical 1930s sleuth (either avuncular and homesy or tic-ridden and apparently deserving only scorn) given how abrasive he is…though Carr clearly tired of this approach and mellowed him out when bringing him back for a final case in the Four False Weapons. And, having read FFW first, I think I’d’ve preferred Early Bencolin to the faded image we get in that book — he’s a bit too bland, a bit too passive, and the mystery of that book is spectacular and deserves something to force the reader out of any complacency.

    But, well, that’s a discussion for another time. I’m just pleased you liked M. Henri at your first encounter. The books are a little weak, but that’s perhaps not unexpected — they show Carr’s potential and the excitement he could bring to hoary tropes, and I’m delighted the BL is reprinting them.

    1. I was surprised by M. Bencolin, as I expected more of the Mephistophelian, and that was not at all present. I’ll be reading IWBN and then the rest of the series so will see how he transitions.

      1. Oh, he doesn’t really transition — he’s blunt and abrupt for four books, disappears for 7 years, and then is very different when he reappears 🙂

      2. I went back to Greene’s bio where he discusses Carr’s plan to resurrect Bencolin. He had “tired of the sadistic personality he had given the Frenchman” and consequently went back to writing him as he had been in the Haverfordian stories. I guess he may have been better of leaving him I resurrected…

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