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  #1  
Old January 17th, 2001, 10:00 PM
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To Wake the Dead (1937)



Rate this book.

View synopsis of this book at:

www.jdcarr.com/Zoomview/p...r_libr.htm
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  #2  
Old October 25th, 2009, 12:44 AM
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Re: To Wake the Dead (1937)

What's the general consensus on this one? Is it considered to be one of the best, worst, mediocre? I just read it and thought it had one of the most captivating puzzles and fairer solutions.
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Old October 25th, 2009, 04:21 AM
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Re: To Wake the Dead (1937)

TWTD's setup and puzzle are magnificent, although the solution (as I recall) revolves around

Spoiler
the murderer using secret passages


which I found slightly disappointing. From what I remember, though, it is fairly clued.

Overall though, it's still one of my favourite JDCs (and despite the nature of the solution, I have no huge complaints with it - it's still far superior to some of the solutions in the 50s and 60s JDC's I've read). Perhaps it was overshadowed by The Crooked Hinge coming out in the same year?
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Old October 26th, 2009, 02:07 PM
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Re: To Wake the Dead (1937)

I like this book. Great atmosphere, good characters - maybe some of the most realistic JDC's characters. They all act naturally, like probably any group of friends would do were they suddenly to realize that a murderer is among them. The solution is - maybe, just maybe, mind you - a little stretched, but the clues are there for the reader to find. Also,
Spoiler
it is hard not to feel a little sympathy for the criminal. He's been driven to madness and alcohol by a selfish and ruthless woman.

I would not recommend anyone to try and get a breakfast the way Chris Kent does at the beginning of the book, anyway.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 08:37 PM
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Re: To Wake the Dead (1937)

I agree with the sympathy for the criminal.
But, if anything, i find that the characters are the book's weakness. They all fit a certain "murder mystery type" cliche. And even within that type they do very little--we kind of know what they are, because we recognize them.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 09:08 AM
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Re: To Wake the Dead (1937)

Despite
Spoiler
a secret passage being used in the solution
, To Wake the Dead was one of my favourites when I read it (it was probably my 6th or 7th Carr, though). It was ingeniously clued; I found it perfectly fair and 100% satisfying. It was a good read, and didn't commit that "unforgiveable sin of being dull". I also agree that the killer was rather sympathetic.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 10:52 AM
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Re: To Wake the Dead (1937)

Fairness to me depends on the guessability. If half the book the characters talk about twins, it's one thing... When the idea you mentioned in spoiler is revealed, one can not say that there is no hint of it in the book. It is just up to the reader to figure out how the idea may figure in the solution, if at all.
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Old December 7th, 2009, 05:07 PM
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Re: To Wake the Dead (1937)

By coiincidence, I just finished the book, and must say it is typical JD Carr.

A wonderful story, fantastic plot, keeps you continually on the edge of your seat. Carr is obviously a great story teller. I also had high hopes for the book, since it did not involve an impossible situation. The clues were documented more than once and even listed for the reader.

And then -- the solution which was so preposterous as to be ridiculous.
Spoiler
The murder was in jail during one of the crimes - but of course the jail was full of secret passages, so he could come and go at will, and no one ever noticed his absence. Give me a break.

Of course, the main clue was not included in the list. How could Carr write this solution without at least a pang of guilt or two?
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Old December 7th, 2009, 09:46 PM
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Re: To Wake the Dead (1937)

Spoiler
I think that any building in the city could have had secret passages, known to our killer, was VERY fairly clued. You don't think about it, because
a) you don't think he is the killer
and
b) you don't see how it could have helped much


What is the main clue that you speak of? Did anybody else here, who read Harry's post, figure that out right away?
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Old December 8th, 2009, 05:02 AM
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Re: To Wake the Dead (1937)

I thought the main clue was
Spoiler
the secret passage that enabled the killer to commit the crime
.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 04:16 PM
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Re: To Wake the Dead (1937)

Main clue:
Spoiler
The fact that Bellowes father was a builder. That he was fond of tricks and gadgets and ingenious deceptions. He had built "half the houses in the district." Of course, we were supposed to guess that the village jail was a converted house and not originally designed as a jail. And guess that Bellowes father was the builder. And of course guess that he had outfitted it with multiple trap doors and secret passages. And, finally, guess that the prisoners were watched so carelessly that Bellowes could come and go as he pleased!

If we were talking about some medieval prison, I could accept that it had secret passages. But a small village jail? Very weak if you ask me.

However, this is one of the better Carrs. I guess I just have to accept that Carr will do most anything to hoodwink his readers, no matter how outlandish.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 06:27 PM
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Re: To Wake the Dead (1937)

Spoiler
But it's said that he built the house, and more or less donated it as a prison, laughing at something that turns out to be a clue. It's not nearly as vague as all that.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 07:57 AM
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Re: To Wake the Dead (1937)

Yes, I think the idea is quite prominently and fairly clued.

I remembered all those facts once the solution was revealed, which is what's important and is not always true of Carr books.

The criticism in Harry's post seems to be that each of those facts can not be established from the story, but each one can be fairly guessed by an astute reader, and once they are guessed, everything falls into place.
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 01:03 AM
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Re: To Wake the Dead (1937)

Rereading this now and enjoying. A fine collection of colorful clues.
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 01:06 AM
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Re: To Wake the Dead (1937)

This was my final Dr. Gideon Fell novel, and I burned through it fast – too fast, perhaps.

I liked the story; it's a fairly clued and clever little mystery, despite a minor disappointment in the solution.

Spoiler
Bellowes using a secret passage to establish his alibi, but it was fairly clued and therefore hardly a cheat – its just that you expect something better from Carr than trap doors and hidden passageways.
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