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John Dickson Carr (1907-1977) was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. His father was a lawyer and politician. So the family was somewhat well off. Which provided a stable home life for Carr and it appears he had a very happy childhood. His many hours spent reading books from his fathers extensive library helped him develope his interest in history and literature. Carr’s love for history is obvious especially taking into consideration the historical novels he wrote.
In 1930 he met and later married Clarice Cleaves. They would stay married for more then 40 years until his death. She was English by birth her family was from an village near Bristol. Carr and his wife and their children lived in England off and on from the 1930’s until the 1960’s. They also lived for a time in Mamoroneck, New York. In 1965 Carr and his wife moved to Greenville, South Carolina. This is where Carr would spend the final years of his life. That was also the year Carr visited England for the last time. John Dickson Carr lived another twelve years and finally passed away February 27, 1977 and was buried at the Springwood Cemetary in downtown Greenville.
His first detective novel, It Walks By Night was published in 1930. The ficitional detective in this novel was French Police Magistrate Henri Bencolin. Carr would go on and write four more novels with this character. But his most popular detective he created was Dr. Gideon Fell who first appeared in Nag’s Crook (1933). Dr. Fell would go on to appear in twenty-three novels and numerous short stories. The last book with Dr. Gideon Fell was Dark Moon published in 1967. Carr’s other famous detective is Sir Henry Merrivale. Who some argue is a pale imitation of the great man “Dr. Gideon Fell”. Sir Henry first appeared in The Plague Court Murders which was published in 1934. The latter was published under the name Carter Dickson. Sir Henry would be featured in twenty-one more novels. The last novel was The Cavalier’s Cup published in 1953. Most would agree Carr is the master of the “locked room mystery”. And is praised for his ability to create such a creepy and gloomy atmosphere in his books. He loved to mix the supernatural in with an almost impossible crime. Later in life he would devote more of his time to writing historical novels that contain the mystery element. You might be wondering why Carr wrote under so many names the reason was financial and had to do with book contracts He wrote under the names John Dickson Carr, Carter Dickson, Carr Dickson and Roger Fairbairn.Information source: wikipedia