The Hollow Man (1935 novel)


The Hollow Man (1935 novel)

infobox Book |
name = The Hollow Man
title_orig =
translator =


image_caption = Recent UK paperback edition
author = John Dickson Carr
cover_artist =
country = United Kingdom
language = English
series = Gideon Fell
genre = Mystery, Detective, Novel
publisher = Hamish Hamilton (UK) & Harper (USA)
release_date = 1935
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)
pages =
isbn = NA
preceded_by = Death-Watch (1935)
followed_by = The Arabian Nights Murder (1936)

"The Hollow Man" is a famous locked room mystery novel by the American writer John Dickson Carr (1906-1977), published in 1935. It was published in the USA under the title "The Three Coffins" and has frequently been hailed as the best of all locked room mysteries. Fact|date=April 2007

Plot summary

One wintry night in London, two murders are committed in quick succession. In both cases, the murderer has seemingly vanished into thin air.

In the first case, he has disappeared from Professor Grimaud's study after shooting the professor -- without leaving a trace, with the only door to the room locked from the inside, and with people present in the hall outside the room. Both the ground below the window and the roof above it are covered with unbroken snow.

In the second case, a man walking in the middle of a deserted cul-de-sac at about the same time is evidently shot at close range, with the same revolver that killed Grimaud and only minutes afterward, but there is no one else near the man; this is witnessed from some distance by three passersby -- two tourists and a police constable -- who happen to be walking on the pavement. It takes Dr Gideon Fell, scholar and "a pompous pain in the neck," who keeps hinting at the solution without giving it away, some 200 pages to finally condescend and minutely reconstruct the two crimes and thus solve the mystery.

Literary significance & criticism

This novel is especially famous for the "locked room lecture", Dr. Fell's explanation of the various ways a person can commit a near-perfect murder in an apparently locked-room or otherwise impossible-crime situation. Thus, it became one kind of a "textbook for crime writers." In the course of his discourse, Dr. Fell states, off-handedly, that he and his listeners are, of course, characters in a book.

"The lecture is very good indeed -- some 20 pages of sound reasoning and fine imagination in lively words. For the lecture alone "The Three Coffins" deserves a place on the shelf. As for the story, it is ingenious, to be sure, but three problems in impossibility is two too many. We are asked to believe in one hairline adjustment after another -- time, place, angles of vision, behavior, and so on. ... the characters are not even credible puppets, for they behave not in keeping with their feelings or situation, but only for temporary excitement. And Dr. Fell is a dull dog, in spite of his tricks."Barzun, Jacques and Taylor, Wendell Hertig. "A Catalogue of Crime". New York: Harper & Row. 1971, revised and enlarged edition 1989. ISBN 0-06-015796-8]

Trivia

The hypothetical third brother of Grimaud and Fley is nicknamed Brother Henri. This is a reference to a skit by J. M. Barrie, in which a conversation saddled him with a brother named Henry who did not exist; rather than correct the error, the timid Mr. Barrie was burdened with this error afterwards. The incident was also referred to by G. K. Chesterton, the model for Dr. Fell.

References

External links

* [http://www.mysterylist.com/hollow.htm review] criticizing the novel's plot construction
* [http://avenarius.sk/Quotations:The_Hollow_Man wiki collection of quotations] from "The Hollow Man"


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Hollow Man — can refer to*The Hollow Men is a British comedy troupe.in Literature * The Hollow Man (1992 novel) is a science fiction novel by the US writer Dan Simmons, published in 1992. The title is from the Eliot poem. * The Hollow Man (1935 novel) is a… …   Wikipedia

  • The Gilded Man — (also published as Death and the Gilded Man) …   Wikipedia

  • The Invisible Man (film) — The Invisible Man Theatrical poster Directed by James Whale Produced by …   Wikipedia

  • The Hollow — This article is about the book. For the song, see Mer De Noms. For the film, see The Hollow (2004 film). For the album, see The Hollow (album). The Hollow   …   Wikipedia

  • The Arabian Nights Murder — infobox Book | name = The Arabian Nights Murder title orig = translator = image caption = author = John Dickson Carr cover artist = country = United Kingdom language = English series = Gideon Fell genre = Mystery, Detective novel publisher =… …   Wikipedia

  • 1935 in literature — The year 1935 in literature involved some significant events and new books.Events*Penguin Books publishes the first paperback book. *W. H. Auden enters a marriage of convenience with Erika Mann.New books*Maxwell Anderson Winterset *Enid Bagnold… …   Wikipedia

  • The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion —   …   Wikipedia

  • The Mystery of the Yellow Room — infobox Book | name = The Mystery of the Yellow Room title orig = Le mystère de la chambre jaune translator = image caption = Cover of the 1908 first edition author = Gaston Leroux illustrator = cover artist = country = France language = French… …   Wikipedia

  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles —   …   Wikipedia

  • The Last Puritan — The Last Puritan: A Memoir in the Form of a Novel was written by the American philosopher George Santayana. The novel is set largely in the fictional town of Great Falls, Connecticut; Boston; and England, in and around Oxford. It relates the life …   Wikipedia