“You mean J.D. Carr.”
“J.D? No, it’s J.B.”
“Are you sure?”
“Well, have a look yourself.”
“Gosh. it’s true. Joseph B. Carr. Now who can this be?”
Indeed, who can this Joseph B. Carr, whose book Death Whispers I picked up from the library, be? More than the story (which is a pretty decent mystery), I was intrigued by the identity of the author. There was no Wiki entry and the only thing that I found on the Net was that he was the author of another book, The Man With Bated Breath; and this interesting discussion at GAD arguing against the notion that this might be J(ohn) D(ickson) Carr assuming another pseudonym.
Now for the story. Nurse Jennifer Crump alights at Salem Rocks eager to reach Lichen Hall where the millionaire Mr. Myncheon lies in coma after having met with an accident. Right from the beginning, her professional visit is a little unsettling. The house is cluttered with artifacts and the occupants too behave in a strange manner. The nurse finds an eccentric aunt who was abducted in her young days by pirates, a butler with an interest in fire-arms and who directs the muzzle of the gun at his unconscious employer; a cook who might have laden the food with sedatives, a daughter who is ready to inject her dying father with a fatal injection; a cousin and business partner who might be embezzling funds; a chauffeur who might have had a hand in the accident, a son-in-law who claims to have slipped in the shower in a hotel room where there is no shower…all in all too many shady people who might want to kill Myncheon.
And then there is the man who bursts upon them all.. His card reads Oceola Archer, Interior Decorator but he claims to be a detective:
.. a huge figure loomed up in the doorway behind him…
“Who the devil,” began Cunningham, staring in amazement t the tremendous bulk of the man who had just entered. The newcomer indeed seemed Gargantuan….
Dr. Gideon Fell, anyone?
First Line: SALEM ROCKS is less than three centuries old; but from its rotting timbers and moldering stones it might be more ancient than Rome.
Title: Death Whispers
Author: Joseph B. Carr
Publication Details: London: Cassell and Company, 1933
First Published: 1933
Other books read of the same author: None
Submitted for various challenges.
Entry for Friday’s Forgotten Books.