The Plague Court Murders (Sir Henry Merrivale, Book 1)
John Dickson Carr
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
THE FIRST SIR HENRY MERRIVALE MYSTERY. When Dean Halliday becomes convinced that the malevolent ghost of Louis Playge is haunting his family estate in London, he invites Ken Bates and Detective-Inspector Masters along to Plague Court to investigate. Arriving at night, they find his aunt and fiancée preparing to exorcise the spirit in a séance run by psychic Roger Darworth. While Darworth locks himself in a stone house behind Plague Court, the séance proceeds, and at the end he is found gruesomely murdered. But who, or what, could have killed him? All the windows and doors were bolted and locked, and no one could have gotten inside. The only one who can solve the crime in this bizarre and chilling tale is locked-room expert Sir Henry Merrivale.
time collecting Darworth information, looking over the house, and even asking for leads from people–people I used to know. But they couldn’t help me. Darworth would open his mouth about psychical research only to a small, closed circle. They were all filthily rich people, by the way. And several friends of mine, who knew him and said he was a poisonous blighter, didn’t even know he was interested in spiritualism. Well, you can see how it was. … “I’d almost forgotten the business when I
reason given by your Lordship’s father, and his father, is this: viz., That the house was built by mischance above a cesspool, and that all things sicken there. To maintain this which is untrue, they had not perforce to pull it down, lest the cesspool should poison us all; and nothing of provisions could be stored there save straw, grain, oats, or the like. We had then in our service a young man, Wilbert Hawks by name, an ill-faced fellow employed as porter, who got on so ill with the other
Giles) took so long a time to reach us that people said it would not come at all; and it was mayhap to my father’s forethought that we owed our lives. For my father took thought to GOD’s signs and omens, like others less fortunate. When the great comet appeared, and burned dull and sluggish in the sky, he went to Sir Richard—as he was then, your Lordship’s grandfather—and told him what it was. (This was in the month of April.) Now Sir Richard’s own room of business, set apart from his
hangman. He didn’t have the courage to be—although I believe he did seize their legs sometimes, at the hangman’s command, when they’d been twirling too long on the rope. He was a sort of hangman’s toady; and held the—the instruments when there was a drawing-and-quartering case; and washed up the refuse afterwards.” My throat felt a little dry. Halliday turned to me. “You were wrong about the dagger. It wasn’t exactly a dagger, you see; at least, it wasn’t used for that purpose until the last.
besides herself.” Stale smoke hung about the lamp. I felt unutterably weary. “You haven’t yet said,” Halliday told him harshly, “what you did about McDonnell. ‘His innocence!’ Damned rot! I’ll bet he was as guilty as she was. … Look here, you didn’t let him get away?” H.M. stared down into the dying fire. His back jerked a little, and he blinked round uncompre-hendingly. “Let him—? Son, didn’t you know?” “Know what?” “No, of course,” said H.M. dully. “We didn’t stay in that infernal