What a great start to the story: Alan Campbell, a historian, is bested by the a reviewer of his book. The exchange we get to witness between Alan and his nemesis is delightful. It made me chuckle.
What was even better was what happened next on the train from London to Glasgow where Alan is headed after the death of his uncle.
Once in Scotland, we get thrown into a convoluted plot that includes castles, history, Jacobite heroes, claymore swords, and mentions of all things “Scottish” including the myth of the common law spouse, all in the pursuit of finding out what happened to poor Uncle Angus.
One of the attractions of the book was that it was set in a location I know well: Inveraray.
All the way through the book, however, I asked myself the question why the police was not involved if foul play was suspected in the death of Uncle Angus. And where is the police when the body count rises? One suicide may be possible, but two within the same house and within weeks of each other look positively iffy.
I revisited The Case of the Constant Suicides after finishing The Hollow Man (aka The Three Coffins), which gave me pause to think about Carr’s mysteries. I’ve read three mysteries by Carr now (the third being She Died a Lady) and none have impressed me. The stories are too convoluted for my liking and Dr. Gideon Fell is such a bore. I even get the impression that Carr may have included confusion and excessive detail on purpose just to bamboozle the reader so that his crime-solving heroes get their chance to shine.
I’m not sure, but what I do know is that Carr will not make a regular appearance in my reading, except that the sense of Golden Age mystery atmosphere in his books is simply delicious…and sometimes I just need stupid and cozy.
2.5* (out of 5*)