John Dickson Carr’s novel, The Crooked Hinge, begins with a complicated situation. A man has just turned up in town claiming to be the real heir to the local baronetcy—a baronetcy that is currently occupied by the man everyone believes is the heir. From there, things manage to get even more complicated. Thankfully, Dr. Gideon Fell is on hand to straighten out all of the tangled threads.
Fell, however, does not appear on stage for a few chapters into the action. The Crooked Hinge opens with a meeting between a lawyer and a man the lawyer wants to have as a witness for a confrontation. The lawyer explains the business with the heirs and invites the man along to what will be the most awkward dinner in the history of English country houses. Just when the business with the heirs is about to be definitively cleared up, one of the claimants is murdered.
I requested to review this book because the description from the publisher sounded as though it was inspired by the actual historical case of the Tichborne claimant. Once the plot wandered away from that—with the automaton in the attic, possible coven, and slurs about the Romany—I…just wanted the book to be over. It didn’t matter to me how clever Dr. Fell was, it just got too weird.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss for review consideration.