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The Witch of the Low Tide

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This murder admits of no solution said Doctor David Garth. "But she was strangled to death. And the murderer had to leave after he had killed. He's not here now. But in some fashion, explain it how you like, he or she or some damnable witch of the low tide managed to leave without a footprint in all that wet sand!" This murder admits of no solution said Doctor David Garth. "But she was strangled to death. And the murderer had to leave after he had killed. He's not here now. But in some fashion, explain it how you like, he or she or some damnable witch of the low tide managed to leave without a footprint in all that wet sand!"


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This murder admits of no solution said Doctor David Garth. "But she was strangled to death. And the murderer had to leave after he had killed. He's not here now. But in some fashion, explain it how you like, he or she or some damnable witch of the low tide managed to leave without a footprint in all that wet sand!" This murder admits of no solution said Doctor David Garth. "But she was strangled to death. And the murderer had to leave after he had killed. He's not here now. But in some fashion, explain it how you like, he or she or some damnable witch of the low tide managed to leave without a footprint in all that wet sand!"

30 review for The Witch of the Low Tide

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dfordoom

    In addition to being the acknowledged master of the “locked-room” mystery story John Dickson Carr also wrote a number of historical detective novels. The most interesting is The Devil in Velvet, a wonderfully entertaining concoction that combines crime fiction, horror and science fiction. He also wrote three more conventional detective novels with period settings, as a kind of tribute to the evolution of the Metropolitan Police. Fire, Burn! was set in 1829 and The Scandal at High Chimneys takes In addition to being the acknowledged master of the “locked-room” mystery story John Dickson Carr also wrote a number of historical detective novels. The most interesting is The Devil in Velvet, a wonderfully entertaining concoction that combines crime fiction, horror and science fiction. He also wrote three more conventional detective novels with period settings, as a kind of tribute to the evolution of the Metropolitan Police. Fire, Burn! was set in 1829 and The Scandal at High Chimneys takes place in 1865. It’s the third and last of these books, set in 1907, with which we are concerned however - The Witch of the Low-Tide. Dr David Garth is a prominent London doctor, a pioneer in the fields of neurosurgery and psychiatry. He’s also a man with a secret. He is in love with a young widow, Betty, and she’s a woman with a secret. In fact everybody in this novel has something they’re trying to hide. Garth’s friends Marion and Vince and Marion’s former guardian Colonel Selby are no exception. These interlocking webs of deception lead to murder, and to a battle of wits that pits amatuer sleuth against professional police detective (in this case the hard-bitten Scotland Yard man Inspector Twigg). Carr manages to insert two locked-room puzzles into the novel, as well as plenty of satisfyingly obscure plot twists. Not everybody enjoys John Dickson Carr’s style, but I find him to be consistently entertaining and I particularly like his historical mysteries, although I’ve yet to track down a copy of Fire, Burn!. Carr wrote The Witch of the Low-Tide in 1961, and it’s a nice combination of Edwardian period detail with juicy sex scandals, which makes it even more fun. I liked this one quite a bit.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Peggy

    This was a solid historical puzzler, set in the early 1900’s. The cars had to be started with handles and cranked, the homes had gas lights. Betty Calder wore a wool bathing suit! Can you imagine how heavy that must have been wet! Quite atmospheric. Carr did a nice job of describing the clothes the ladies were wearing and the houses, put you right there. There were two puzzling crimes to solve. Attempted murder with the classic all doors and windows locked from inside and a murder on the sea shor This was a solid historical puzzler, set in the early 1900’s. The cars had to be started with handles and cranked, the homes had gas lights. Betty Calder wore a wool bathing suit! Can you imagine how heavy that must have been wet! Quite atmospheric. Carr did a nice job of describing the clothes the ladies were wearing and the houses, put you right there. There were two puzzling crimes to solve. Attempted murder with the classic all doors and windows locked from inside and a murder on the sea shore with no footprints in the wet sand. “Oh, yes. It doesn’t matter who made the tea or who drank it or who didn’t drink it. But at any time that woman could possibly have been killed, at any time within any medical limits, the tide was almost as far out as it is at this minute. Now look round you. Look back up the beach. Look out towards the sea. Look down under the piles of the pavilion.” ‘The inshore breeze, further ruffling Betty’s hair, smoothed at her skirt as well. She glanced quickly over her shoulder, looking round her, and then just as quickly back again. “There are your footprints,” Garth continued, “coming out here from the grass slope where you left the bicycle. There are my footprints,” he moved his arm to point, “coming out here from the back of the cottage. There’s not another mark anywhere. You see that?” Two old mystery novels were brought into the conversation when speaking of clues. I always love it when they do that! The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux and The Thinking Machine by Jacques Futrelle. I have The Mystery of the Yellow Room and have heard a lot about on blogs, but Jacques Futrelle (not a Frenchmen but an American!) is new to me. Of course like all Dickson Carr mysteries it was excellently plotted and well characterized. A good read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Good, but not the best Dickson Carr. For me, it was "cinematic" in the sense that as I read I could see the action and characters as if in a film. Dickson Carr's descriptions of settings and locales are vivid. The dialogue seems odd at times, perhaps because the author is trying to present speech of the early 1900s with a 1950s ear. The plot was convoluted, but no more so than some of Agatha Christie's. Good, but not the best Dickson Carr. For me, it was "cinematic" in the sense that as I read I could see the action and characters as if in a film. Dickson Carr's descriptions of settings and locales are vivid. The dialogue seems odd at times, perhaps because the author is trying to present speech of the early 1900s with a 1950s ear. The plot was convoluted, but no more so than some of Agatha Christie's.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Johnny

    Ah, John Dickson Carr! Even when the master of closed room mysteries takes the reader to a different era (in this case, the post-Victorian but still repressed Edwardian era), the mystery will turn on what is, in effect, a closed room mystery. And, in the style of Hamlet’s play-within-a play, there is a mystery-within-a mystery in The Witch of the Low-Tide. Indeed, there is more than one and most of them turn on the “closed room” designation. Clues to the “actual” murder in The Witch of the Low-Ti Ah, John Dickson Carr! Even when the master of closed room mysteries takes the reader to a different era (in this case, the post-Victorian but still repressed Edwardian era), the mystery will turn on what is, in effect, a closed room mystery. And, in the style of Hamlet’s play-within-a play, there is a mystery-within-a mystery in The Witch of the Low-Tide. Indeed, there is more than one and most of them turn on the “closed room” designation. Clues to the “actual” murder in The Witch of the Low-Tide are to be found in novels presented in the story in which the murders appear to be committed by supernatural elements but, of course, in Carr’s usual vein, prove to be clever but mundane. In The Witch of the Low-Tide, the non-existence of footprints leading away from the scene of the crime makes one think of a supernatural force doing the impossible. Yet, matters are entirely possible according to the astute investigators of the crime. In this case, two competing sleuths—a lower-class version of Sherlock Holmes’ Inspector Lestrade and an upper-class quasi-professional amateur who is suspect vie to determine the guilty culprit(s). The former is determined to pin the blame on the suspect and another of whom he cares much while the latter is determined to protect that other (and others). It is a matter of probability versus propriety and the resolution where both are only partially correct is rather interesting (even if the epilogue takes as many pages as the most annoying Agatha Christie wrap-up). The Witch of the Low-Tide is billed in its subtitle as “An Edwardian Melodrama” and melodrama it is. It is the peculiar Edwardian setting and some of the rather, dare I say, Freudian proclivities of some of the characters which makes this fascinating. Characters deny what they know essentially to be true. Characters assume the pompous facades and privileges of their class in order to avoid unpleasantness. And the actual motivation for the murder is as real as today’s headlines and the #MeToo movement. Yes, horrible things happened back then, too. Carr touches on nearly every possibility of Edwardian social deviance except for drug abuse in the course of this story and these vivid, but oh so imperfect characters (including the rival protagonists as I prefer to think of them) are the better for them. I have to confess that, in the midst of the melodramatic perambulations, I was so far away from the correct solution to the mystery that I’m ashamed to call myself a mystery reader. On the other hand, I am delighted that the warp and woof of such a story can force me to filet and barbeque a host of “red herrings.” Have an Edwardian fish fry anyone? The Witch of the Low-Tide may need to be placed on your mystery menu.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jiří Pavlovský

    Trojrecenze na věci vyšlé v knize 3x Záhady starého Londýna Tři klasické kriminálky… a z toho vlastně jedna dobrá. Ohni, hoř mě v mládí bralo, protože to je v podstatě fantastika alá Life on Mars. Hlavní hrdina se ze „současnosti“ přesune do roku 1825, kde sir Robert Peel zakládá policejní sbor, jemuž se posměšně říká „peelicajti“. A samozřejmě, dojde tam i na neproveditelnou vraždu. Tady je řešení poměrně laciné a příběh stojí spíš na atmosféře. Druhý příběh, Démon odlivu, má zajímavější zápletk Trojrecenze na věci vyšlé v knize 3x Záhady starého Londýna Tři klasické kriminálky… a z toho vlastně jedna dobrá. Ohni, hoř mě v mládí bralo, protože to je v podstatě fantastika alá Life on Mars. Hlavní hrdina se ze „současnosti“ přesune do roku 1825, kde sir Robert Peel zakládá policejní sbor, jemuž se posměšně říká „peelicajti“. A samozřejmě, dojde tam i na neproveditelnou vraždu. Tady je řešení poměrně laciné a příběh stojí spíš na atmosféře. Druhý příběh, Démon odlivu, má zajímavější zápletku, ale je to označené jako melodram – což znamená, že se všechny ženské postavy chovají tak hystericky, že by to zasloužilo návštěvu u doktora Freuda. Díky tomu je čtené téměř nesnesitelné. Zábavné je, že jen tak mimo hlavní zápletku je tam zmíněný sex starého lorda s čtrnáctiletou dívkou… a je to branné jako něco lehce nezdvořilého, co se gentlemanovi nesluší dělat, ale proti gustu… Případ se točí kolem pláže a absence stop vraha. Záhada zajímavá, řešení spíš neuspokojivé. A pak je tu třetí věc, Tři rakve, se kterou přichází na scénu Gideon Fell. Tenhle román mě v mládí uchvátil tím, že hlavní postava na férovku přiznává, že jsou v románu, a že pokud čtenáře téma debaty nezajímá, ať klidně přeskočí na další kapitolu. Ostatně ústy hrdiny promlouvá sám autor, když celou jednu kapitolu věnuje záhadám zamčeného pokoje a jejich řešení. A v další se pak tak trochu obhajuje, když popisuje kouzelnické triky a to, jak jsou lidi zklamaní z řešení… i když přece museli vědět, že je to podfuk. Myslím, že hlavní fór je v tom, že lidem nevadí být podfouknutí, když je to uděláno zajímavě. Což tady je. Máte tu hned dva neřešitelné zločiny navíc odehrávající se téměř zároveň. Autor se tu mnohem víc baví a hned na začátku nastaví pravidla a řekne vám, kdo určitě mluví pravdu. On tenhle skoro akademický přístup je asi taky jediná možnost, protože se tu hodně pracuje s náhodami a šílenými triky, které by v životě nemohly fungovat. Ovšem Carr ani nepředstírá, že by mu šlo o zachycení reality. Jeho knížky jsou prostě kouzelnický výstup… a ty nejlepší vás dodnes dokážou překvapit.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Hansen

    This is the second of Carr's i've read and I will definitely continue to read more. His style is a little different than i'm used too - so much of it taking place with dialogue and euphemisms and nuances I don't always pick up on because of when it was written (and taking place - early 1900's). Speaking of which the setting felt more 30's or 40's despite the fact the author made a point to emphasize the time period... Anyway the mystery - a double take on the locked room variety - was particularl This is the second of Carr's i've read and I will definitely continue to read more. His style is a little different than i'm used too - so much of it taking place with dialogue and euphemisms and nuances I don't always pick up on because of when it was written (and taking place - early 1900's). Speaking of which the setting felt more 30's or 40's despite the fact the author made a point to emphasize the time period... Anyway the mystery - a double take on the locked room variety - was particularly good and I really enjoyed the complexity of the characters in this one. This was the sort of story and plot line, along with good characters, that I could have done with at least another 100 pages flushing it all out. All in all great murder mystery/detective fiction.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jean Guarr

    This is another of Carter Dickson/John Dickson Carr's historicals. Not nearly as bad (bombastic, repetitive, insulting to women and decent men) as The Burning Court, but I still don't recommend it. He did write some pretty good stuff, but this is not it. I first read it when I was in Jr. High and thought I might like it better now, but vain hope. I don't think I can force myself to read any more of his historicals but will move on to the Gideon Fell mysteries. I remember them as being less silly This is another of Carter Dickson/John Dickson Carr's historicals. Not nearly as bad (bombastic, repetitive, insulting to women and decent men) as The Burning Court, but I still don't recommend it. He did write some pretty good stuff, but this is not it. I first read it when I was in Jr. High and thought I might like it better now, but vain hope. I don't think I can force myself to read any more of his historicals but will move on to the Gideon Fell mysteries. I remember them as being less silly.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Baker

    This one was let down by some stock JDC characters written a bit too broadly, too melodramatically. The effect being that four of the main characters were annoying as hell. I also wished the titular witch and the haunted house played a greater role, especially in the way of atmosphere. Same goes for the main character being a writer of impossible crime novels. These things weren’t maximized. Setting this in the Edwardian era didn’t really do much except add a little color. Still, a mediocre JDC This one was let down by some stock JDC characters written a bit too broadly, too melodramatically. The effect being that four of the main characters were annoying as hell. I also wished the titular witch and the haunted house played a greater role, especially in the way of atmosphere. Same goes for the main character being a writer of impossible crime novels. These things weren’t maximized. Setting this in the Edwardian era didn’t really do much except add a little color. Still, a mediocre JDC is still very much worth reading. [Residence Inn, Miami, 12/29/20)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Davidson

    My first exposure to this writer, except for the Holmes pastiches Densely plotted period piece in an Edwardian setting. Lots of psychology involved. Good story with lots of period detail showing.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gabriele

    Romanzo affascinante di Carr. Mi è piaciuto molto, soprattutto per la presenza (insolita in Carr) dell'approfondimento psicologico dei personaggi. Bellissima la camera chiusa atipica, ovvero una spiaggia su cui non ci sono le impronte dell'assassino. Assolutamente consigliato. Romanzo affascinante di Carr. Mi è piaciuto molto, soprattutto per la presenza (insolita in Carr) dell'approfondimento psicologico dei personaggi. Bellissima la camera chiusa atipica, ovvero una spiaggia su cui non ci sono le impronte dell'assassino. Assolutamente consigliato.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Keith Boynton

    A pleasurable read for its prose and atmosphere, but containing too much veiled and cryptic conversation (what Dr. Fell might call "mystification") – and almost as confusing once everything has been "cleared up." A pleasurable read for its prose and atmosphere, but containing too much veiled and cryptic conversation (what Dr. Fell might call "mystification") – and almost as confusing once everything has been "cleared up."

  12. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Dated, dialogue was hard to follow, but an interesting enough puzzle. Not much else around it of interest.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gary Allen, PhD

    A successful author in his day but the writing style is not to my taste.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Colin

    Enjoyable later standalone novel from Carr,no Merrivale or Fell appear in this one. This is a variation on the superior White Priory Murders,sand replacing the snow this time. So we have lots of red herrings,people leading double lives and 2 impossible crimes. First 2/3 of the book are excellent but it starts to get dragged down in the final 1/3. Also if you intend reading The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux,read that first,as one of the characters here gives away the ending to it!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gregory

    John Dickson Carr crafts an astonishing and masterful tale of mystery and deception. Before this, I hadn't read any mysteries, nor had I even heard of Carr. It is unbelievable that he isn't more popular because he certainly deserves more praise. He can be somewhat didactic at times, but I feel that is common within his superb Edwardian melodrama. Every chapter ends with a wonderfully designed cliffhanger, which are some of the best I have ever read. The dialogue is fascinating; conversations int John Dickson Carr crafts an astonishing and masterful tale of mystery and deception. Before this, I hadn't read any mysteries, nor had I even heard of Carr. It is unbelievable that he isn't more popular because he certainly deserves more praise. He can be somewhat didactic at times, but I feel that is common within his superb Edwardian melodrama. Every chapter ends with a wonderfully designed cliffhanger, which are some of the best I have ever read. The dialogue is fascinating; conversations introduce new facets of each character and do exactly what they are supposed to do: force the story along at a reasonable pace. The protagonist, David Garth, follows the mystery detective archetype and yet is not a detective in a strict sense. He is Doctor, and an author - possibly a form of the Carr himself guiding his readers along.

  16. 4 out of 5

    William Bibliomane

    Although disappointingly lacking in any sort of proper witch, John Dickson Carr's 1961 novel (subtitled "An Edwardian Melodrama") is set in the first decade of the 20th century, against a backdrop of respectability and restraint. Dr David Garth is confronted with strange happenings surrounding his immediate circle, including the woman with whom he has fallen in love, Lady Betty Calder. Unsavory realities lie just beneath the surface, though, when a dead woman is found in Lady Calder's bathing pa Although disappointingly lacking in any sort of proper witch, John Dickson Carr's 1961 novel (subtitled "An Edwardian Melodrama") is set in the first decade of the 20th century, against a backdrop of respectability and restraint. Dr David Garth is confronted with strange happenings surrounding his immediate circle, including the woman with whom he has fallen in love, Lady Betty Calder. Unsavory realities lie just beneath the surface, though, when a dead woman is found in Lady Calder's bathing pavilion, and Dr Garth must overcome the suspicion of the unpleasant Inspector Twigg that the doctor himself played a role in the body's appearance... A solid pseudo-historical romance from Carr, but sadly, with only the vaguest hints of supernatural agencies. Full review here.

  17. 4 out of 5

    March

    Impossible murder involving strangled woman, footprints, and wet sand. Variation on Carr's superior The White Priory Murders (published under the pseudonym Carter Dickson, and with snow instead of sand) but this time weighed down by some only slightly convincing Edwardian period trappings & the leering misogyny typical of late Carr--you feel like you are being close-talked to by a dirty old man. Murky prose -- I had to read the explanation of the footprints trick three times before it sort of ma Impossible murder involving strangled woman, footprints, and wet sand. Variation on Carr's superior The White Priory Murders (published under the pseudonym Carter Dickson, and with snow instead of sand) but this time weighed down by some only slightly convincing Edwardian period trappings & the leering misogyny typical of late Carr--you feel like you are being close-talked to by a dirty old man. Murky prose -- I had to read the explanation of the footprints trick three times before it sort of made sense. Pass.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I didn't hate it; I just didn't find it particularly memorable. Observation: it takes more to create authenticity in a novel set during the Victorian/Edwardian age than just throwing in a reference to a hansom cab every few pages. I didn't hate it; I just didn't find it particularly memorable. Observation: it takes more to create authenticity in a novel set during the Victorian/Edwardian age than just throwing in a reference to a hansom cab every few pages.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Pietro De Palma

    Marvelous novel, with a locked room at a pavilion on the sea; around, the sand, which are only visible fingerprints of the victim and of his discoverer If you want know more and more, read my article about, to: http://deathcanread.blogspot.it/2014/... Marvelous novel, with a locked room at a pavilion on the sea; around, the sand, which are only visible fingerprints of the victim and of his discoverer If you want know more and more, read my article about, to: http://deathcanread.blogspot.it/2014/...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Loz

    Strong impossible puzzle, lack of investment in characters.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Robyn

    Kindle Unlimited Free Trial | packed with awful people, an absolutely disgusting dated acceptance of a crime against a child, difficult to read but I'll give the author another try. Kindle Unlimited Free Trial | packed with awful people, an absolutely disgusting dated acceptance of a crime against a child, difficult to read but I'll give the author another try.

  22. 4 out of 5

    John

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mrs PA Rumfeld

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mrssupervisorrat

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lynda J. deVries

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  29. 4 out of 5

    Daniele

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jay

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