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Man Who Could Not Shudder Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1986

4.0 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 269 pages
  • Publisher: Zebra Books (May 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821717030
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821717035
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 4.3 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,697,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By ealovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on December 17, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Man Who Could Not Shudder" (1940) is a fun read and one of the author's less complicated mysteries--actually one of his few mysteries where the identity of the murderer is obvious before the grand denouement at the end of the story. This book is more of a howdunit than a whodunit. Carr's serial detective, the humungous Dr. Gideon Fell galumphs into view about half way through, after the obnoxious Mr. Logan is already violently deceased. Logan meets his end when a revolver jumps off of a wall display and plugs him. Naturally no one was anywhere near the revolver when it went off.
The plot is one of the more standard for gothics and Golden Age mysteries. A rich man renovates an old mansion, supposedly haunted, then invites his acquaintances over for a week-end of ghost hunting. One of the guests feels something grab her ankle as she walks in the door, and so we're off to a jolly start to the house party. Guests are awakened by a loud thump in the middle of the night and set off in the dark, dressed in jammies and bathrobes to investigate the mysterious noise. Their various nocturnal meetings and accusations complicate at least three love affairs.
One of the most puzzling historical events to occur in the old house was the demise of an old butler, who appeared to have been swinging on a monstrous iron chandelier before it pulled loose from the ceiling and crushed him. When the chandelier incident is repeated with one of the current house guests, Dr. Fell must act quickly to protect the innocent and punish the real murderer.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
John Dickson Carr is one of the five greatest Golden Age mystery writers. I think people who suggest his output is spotty are mistaken. Everything he writes has atmosphere and interest. He can combine spookiness with fast pace, a very difficult trick, knows how to make fun of himself and handles description very well indeed. I was reading a few so-called humdrums, like Freeman Wills Croft, before I came back to Carr, and Carr's writing skill was, by contrast, overwhelming.

Readers have every right to admire what they call his greatest novels, the ones with his most intricate, difficult, and yet satisfying solutions. Yet these great novels rely on such things as a person's wearing a very difficult and painful disguise half his own lifetime, or two professional magicians both planning the perfect murder (of the other magician) at exactly the same moment, or a fully-stage set hoax in a multi-level department store planned to fool one person and somehow coming up with the corpse of someone else.

The solutions are challenging because the situations themselves take page after page of elaborate set-up and explanation. I love Carr's best stuff myself, but after having read four or five of his best books, I rather welcomed the much simpler MAN WHO COULD NOT SHUDDER. The solution here is complicated enough, in all conscience, but the over-arching situation in which the crime occurs is easy to understand and doesn't require all the stage-management of the novels fans like best.

So in a way I liked this one better. Carr doesn't change much from book to book, but no one should be upset about that, if they love series characters and authors who can be depended on to keep amusing them in the same good way they always do.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I have found Mr. Carr's writing to be hit-or-miss. Either I love his books, or I can't get through them. This is one that I loved. It's a classic closed-room mystery (he specialized in them), with a mechanically-driven solution that I actually understood.

The characters are invited to investigate an ancient, reputedly haunted house, by a man who turns out to be creepier than the house. Carr didn't manage to get in any fun/scary scenes with a ghost, and the characters don't really come to life, there is plenty of atmosphere and a very satisfying plot.
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Format: Hardcover
"The Man Who Could Not Shudder" (1940) is a fun read and one of the author's less complicated mysteries--actually one of his few mysteries where the identity of the murderer is obvious before the grand denouement at the end of the story. This book is more of a howdunit than a whodunit. Carr's serial detective, the humungous Dr. Gideon Fell, galumphs into view about half way through, after the obnoxious Mr. Logan is already violently deceased. Logan meets his end when a revolver jumps off of a wall display and plugs him. Naturally no one was anywhere near the revolver when it went off.

The plot is one of the more standard for gothics and Golden Age mysteries. A rich man renovates an old mansion, supposedly haunted, then invites his acquaintances over for a week-end of ghost hunting. One of the guests feels something grab her ankle as she walks in the door, and so we're off to a jolly start to the house party. Guests are awakened by a loud thump in the middle of the night and set off in the dark, dressed in jammies and bathrobes to investigate the mysterious noise. Their various nocturnal meetings and accusations complicate at least three love affairs.

One of the most puzzling historical events to occur in the old house was the demise of an old butler, who appeared to have been swinging on a monstrous iron chandelier before it pulled loose from the ceiling and crushed him. When the chandelier incident is repeated with one of the current house guests, Dr. Fell must act quickly to protect the innocent and punish the real murderer.
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