If one thing could be said about John Dickson Carr it was his love for England. It was prevalent in the mysteries he created, because the “blessed plot, this earth, this realm” of his writings was England. His character detectives had to use the logic of the English mind to solve the riddle set before them…when it seemed impervious to the radio listener to try and conquest.
One of John Dickson Carr‘s most beloved of characters was Dr Fell. This paunchy purveyor of impossibility seemed to circuit the storyline of mystery with impossible grace. The listener to the program would get the facts, as convoluted as they may seem, and end up equally at a loss to figuring out the answer. Yet Dr Fell, who could not do much physical because of grandiose size, brought a conclusion to each mystery without breaking much of a sweat…unless you count moving his fork hand to his mouth as great feats of endurance. Dr Fell could see what most people could not even imagine. This was character was indicative of Carr’s resolve to offer detective stories that used the off-beat to control the outcome. Dr Fell may have had obese issues, he also had a heart for civility. His character never treated people with anything less than true gentlemanly discourse.
In contrast to the grace and sensitivity of Dr Fell is Carr‘s other detective…Sir Henry Merrivale. This large man (Carr seemed to be fascinated by the “fat” of society) was always impatient and in a snit about something. If his temper did not get the best of him, his boisterous presence created an environment of “egg-shell” walkers. yet, as with Dr Fell, Merrivale brought out the only possible solution from an otherwise impossible case.
Whether it was for America’s radio broadcast of “Suspense” or the equal, “Appointment with Fear”, Carr created many radio plays that courted lovers of mystery and resolution. The radio audience could not get enough of Carr’s works and always contacted the radio studio for more.
England may have been carr’s place of preference, but America loved his offerings with almost relatable insistence.