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The Judas Window: A Sir Henry Merrivale Locked Room Mystery (A Rue Morgue Vintage Mystery) Paperback – April 1, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
Book 7 of 22 in the Sir Henry Merrivale Series

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Rue Morgue Press; Reprint edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601870213
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601870216
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,008,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Jimmy Answell is summoned for an audience with Avory Hume. The two men are later discovered after witnesses break into Hume's study - a room with bolted steel shutters and a heavy door locked on the inside. Answell is found lying unconscious and Hume stabbed to death with an arrow. How can young Answell but be guilty? How could Sir Henry Merrivale (H.M.!) be foolhardy enough to undertake his defence at the Old Bailey? And what is the `Judas Window' to which H.M. keeps alluding?
This is John Dickson Carr (aka Carter Dickson), the acknowledged master of the locked room mystery, in top form. The quality of the puzzle in The Judas Window is superior to that in The Three Coffins (popularly regarded as Carr's best book and the most famous locked room murder mystery). The case unfolds through the medium of a riveting courtroom drama that simply ought to have been filmed. The comic touches provided by H.M. as defence counsel are terrific. And the modus operandi of the crime is stunning in its simplicity and the conviction it carries. Less convincing however (and this is what makes the book stop just short of perfection) is the murderer's motive. But this flaw makes only a ripple in the overall masterly construction of the mystery.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the finest mystery novels ever written, and I am more than a bit disappointed not to see more rave reviews of it on this page. It is arguably the high point of the brilliant career of John Dickson Carr (alias Carter Dickson), the greatest writer of "locked room" mysteries and in many people's opinion the greatest writer of the "Golden Age" of mystery novels (the 1930s and 40s). It features the detective H.M. (Sir Henry Merrivale), my personal favorite fictional detective of them all. His brilliance and irascibility is only exceeded by his basic good-heartedness and desire to see the innocent protected. Oh, he is wildly funny, as well.

This novel features an unsurpassably brilliant and baffling crime, and a fantastic assortment of 'red herrings' in the form of untrustworthy potential murderers. Carr/ Dickson really did virtually perfect the form of the mystery novel, and in an era when mystery novels are so popular it is a shame that his contributions to the genre are not more widely recognized, if not worshipped!
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Format: Paperback
This is, without a doubt, one of the finest mysteries ever written (and after devouring Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Ruth Rendell, and Colin Dexter, I should know!). THE JUDAS WINDOW is John Dickson Carr's masterpiece. From the very first page he plunges the reader into one of his most elaborate deceptions ever. In addition to a superbly constructed plot, THE JUDAS WINDOW delivers a wonderfully authentic courtroom drama at the Old Bailey, and plenty of delightful humor (courtesy of Merrivale, of course).
Every strand of the plot is in place; every clue is carefully laid right in front of the reader. But the central mystery is still completely baffling: how did the victim end up dead in a locked room? What exactly is a Judas window? To spoil the secret would be cruelly unfair, suffice it to say that the solution is so ingenious, and yet so simple, that you will hate yourself for not realizing it sooner. This book is excellent--not even THE THREE COFFINS can compare with this.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My exposure to Golden Age mystery writer John Dickson Carr has been through his mysteries featuring Doctor Gideon Fell. This summer, I thought I would tackle some of the better novels featuring his other sleuth, Sir Henry Merrivale.

As most people perusing this page must know, Carr's specialty was the locked room murder/impossible crime. I confess that this has never been my favorite type of mystery, as the emphasis is on the howdunnit rather than the who, or even the why. The mechanics of the crime don't interest me as much as the interactions between the victim, the suspects and the detective. That said, nobody does impossible crimes like Carr. He also brings a sense of humor to his books, (which sometimes threatens to veer toward utter lunacy!) If you accept this going in, you should have a grand old time.

I think The Judas Window deserves its reputation as one of Carr's best. The initial premise is straightforward: a wealthy young man goes to meet his beloved's father to confirm that they will get married. The father-in-law is oddly cold to him but approves the wedding and offers him a cocktail. He drinks it and realizes almost immediately that he has been drugged. He passes out, and when he awakens, the older man is lying dead on the ground, and the door and windows are bolted and sealed with no possible access from the outside. If the young man is innocent, who killed the victim, and how could it have been done?

The great joy for me of this novel is that it is told primarily through the transcript of the young man's trial for murder, where sleuth Sir Henry Merrivale acts as a most unconventional defense attorney.
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Format: Paperback
The "Locked Box" mystery genre confounded mystery lovers for generations, and Carter Dickson was a master of the craft. For more than forty years Mr. Dickson delighted readers with the magician-like plots. Beginning in 1930, Dickson Carr, aka Carter Dickson began his run with IT WALKS BY NIGHT, followed by HAG'S NOOK in 1933. Dickson trotted out Sir Henry Merrivale in THE PLAGUE COURT MURDERS a year later. Merrivale, or H.M., is sleuth with a medical degree and a law degree. He also holds one of the oldest baronetcies in England. He is a socialist, which is intended to be amusing. Carr himself was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania on November 30, 1906. He graduated from Haverford College in Pennsylvania, but resisted his family's desire that he attend law school. He also wrote a biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame.

Young James Answell makes a trip to London to meet his future father-in-law, who greets him well enough, if not exactly enthusiastically. They meet in a room with locked windows; a collection of arrows on the wall; and a sideboard with a decanter of whiskey. Answell has a drink, passes out from an unknown mickey in his drink; and when he comes to his host has been murdered. Enter H.M. Merrivale, barrister extraordinaire. Even as the prosecution smugly presents an apparently unassailable case, Merrivale is working to discover actual events from the night of the murder:

"'Me lord; members of the jury. You're probably wonderin' what sort of defense we're here to offer. Well, I'll tell you,' said H.M. magnanimously.

'First of all, we'll try to show that not one single one of the statements made by the prosecution could possibly be true.'

Sir Walter Storm rose with a dry cough.
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