Yellow Chamber Journalism

My first NEW piece for the new Chiseler is UP. Deals with master of the locked room mystery John Dickson Carr, AKA Carter Dickson AKA Roger Fairbairn.

Republished at the same site is a piece on the First Mrs Bogart, Maya Methot, written with Phoebe Green.

8 Responses to “Yellow Chamber Journalism”

  1. Very intersting.
    There doesn’t seem to be a way to follow the Chiseler.

    “mysteries almost entirely in dialogue form … with the characters laboriously describing what they were doing.”
    The great George V. Higgins had a similar problem. He moved from depicting characters and their actions through their dialogue to “the characters laboriously describing what they were doing.”

  2. It’s a slippery slope! Bad exposition is a positive plague in British TV these days, American cinema having gotten better at it since they put Harvey Weinstein away.

    I’ll keep you posted on my Chiseler activities here, and otherwise if you just check it weekly there should be something new up each time, or something old being newly imported from the old version.

  3. bensondonald Says:

    Possible #5: An arrangement that enables the murderer to work from outside the room. Recalling a story where the victim seemingly stabbed herself in bed with a big antique blade. The killer, in the room directly above, used an electromagnet to lift the blade from a table where it rested, then cut off the power when it was directly over the victim. Steve Allen wrote a story where a Hollywood producer was driven to suicide by subliminal messages in the films booked for his private screening room. A more common variant is post-hypnotic suggestion, usually with a gimmicky trigger. And leave us not forget the trained, milk-drinking snake.

    The play “Sleuth” opens with the mystery writer reading aloud the solution to his latest, which involves a body found in the middle of a pristine clay tennis court.

    An idea I once toyed with involved a series of victims with tiny bite marks, pointing to a local bat fancier. The killer would turn out to be the village discontent who was always posting angry notices on trees and poles. His weapon was his staple gun, loaded with poison staples. The staples were retrieved, sometimes under the constables’ very noses, with a magnet.

  4. bensondonald Says:

    Incidentally wondering if Chesterton pioneered what became the cliche of “the butler did it”. In various stories killers were seemingly beneath suspicion, effectively invisible to those around them.

  5. Gosford Park reinvigorates that cliche!

    A schoolfriend once jabbed me with a staplegun, assuming that since it was empty of staples I’d just get a surprise. Not so – the damn thing stabbed my hand in two places where the staple would have needed pressing in. A lesson to us all.

    I like Carr’s dialogue, it’s an American’s heightened rendition of posh English speech. His detectives are forever saying things like “It won’t do!”

    Thanks for the Otto, DE!

  6. Daniel Riccuito Says:

    Keep em comin’, Mr. Cairns!

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