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Literature / Sir Henry Merrivale

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Sir Henry Merrivale is an Amateur Sleuth who features in numerous novels and short stories by Carter Dickson (pen name of John Dickson Carr).


This series contains examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The Plague Court Murders involved a murder where the victim was shot by a bullet carved from rock salt that dissolved in his body, leaving no trace.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Sir Henry Merrivale.
  • Batter Up!: The killer in The Skeleton in the Clock used a cricket bat.
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  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: The character arc between Monica Stanton and William Cartwright in And So To Murder. Tilly Parsons, the experienced script doctor, can see exactly what's going on.
  • Electrified Bathtub: This is the cause of death/murder method in The Reader is Warned.
  • Fair-Play Whodunnit: Carr's stories always showed you all the clues. The only problem was usually that the murder was impossible to begin with, so you couldn't figure out how, much less who.
  • Home Porn Movie: The Judas Window had a plot point in which a female character was blackmailed using sexual photos of her taken with her consent by an ex-boyfriend.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Used in The Ten Teacups, in which the victim is wrongly assumed to have been shot at close range because he had a powder burn from when the killer "accidentally" shot him with a blank cartridge the previous day.
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  • Locked Room Mystery: Carr, the acknowledged master of this back in the golden age of crime fiction, provided all sorts of different ways to accomplish this. If the detective is Henry Merrivale, there is an excellent chance you've got a locked room or impossible crime on your hands.
  • Mystery Writer Detective: William Cartwright in And So To Murder is a detective novelist who performs the bulk of the investigation, though Sir Henry Merrivale is the one who finally resolves the case.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: The Punch and Judy Murders has a counterfeiter who hid the real money with the fake money.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: Sir Henry Merrivale.
  • Shout-Out: In one story Sir Henry is compared to Mycroft Holmes. Like Mycroft, he's a member of the Diogenes Club.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: In-Universe example in And So To Murder — in a Running Gag, Mr Aaronson's film about the Duke of Wellington continually drifts further and further away from actual history.
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