Forgotten Book: Death Whispers by J.B. Carr

“And here’s a book by J.B. Carr.”

“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?

UPDATE: 22/11/2013: Here’s a review of J.B. Carr’s other novel: The Man with Bated Breath @ Beneath the Stains of Time.

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

Pages: 293

Other books read of the same author: None


Submitted for various challenges.


Entry for Friday’s Forgotten Books.

10 thoughts on “Forgotten Book: Death Whispers by J.B. Carr

  1. Wow, never heardof this Carr – dous sound intruguing though – thanks chum – is it easily available? Thanks Neeru, as always.


  2. Neeru – What an interesting book! I've never heard of John B. Carr either.Hmm….fascinating. And the story sounds great. Thanks for sharing.


  3. This sounds like the sort of thing I love to read, Neer. I've never heard of this Carr. (Never heard of the other one for that matter.) But it might be John Dickson Carr who was a sly fox. Anything's possible. Adding the title to my TBR list.


  4. Thanks a lot Sergio. After reading about so many fascinating, albeit unknown to me, authors on your blog, I am happy I could introduce you to one too. I don't think the book is that easily available though a few second-hand copies can be bought on the Net. Best of luck.


  5. Welcome back Yvette. I hope you get the book because I'd love to read your views. I really did hope it was J.D. Carr but then the people at GAD are more knowledgeable than me, so…


  6. Good find, Neer. It sounds like a more sinister version of an Agatha Christie plot. You're right, the author may well be John Dickson Carr. Established writers often wrote a book or two under assumed names, for whatever reason.


  7. I'm somewhat behind on all of my reading and only read this review now, but I was also struck by the similarities with Dr. Gideon Fell when I read The Man With Bated Breath (review here). Douglas Greene does not think Carr was involved, but as I said in that discussion, how funny would it have been if the published messed up Carr's intented penname twice (!) by sticking his actual surname on the cover. One of his publishers did exactly the same, around the same time, with The Bowstring Murders. They had agreed on the name Christopher Wood, but they went with Carr Dickson. And that how we got the Carter Dickson name. The aweful cussedness of things in general, H.M. would've said. 🙂


  8. Thanks for that interesting bit of tid-bit, TomCat. As Yvette mentioned above J.D. Carr was a sly fox and so yes anything is possible. In fact, it'd be fun if J.B really turns out to be J.D.


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