John Dickson Carr
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The son of Wooda Nicholas Carr, a U.S. congressman from Pennsylvania, Carr graduated from The Hill School in Pottstown in 1925 and Haverford College in 1929. Carr lived for a number of years in England beginning around 1930, as his career as a mystery writer began, and he married an English woman. Many of his novels had English settings, his best-known detective characters were English, and he is sometimes loosely grouped among "British-style" mystery writers. He is generally regarded as one of the greatest writers of so-called "Golden Age" mysteries; complex, plot-driven stories in which the puzzle is paramount. He was influenced in this regard by the works of Gaston Leroux and by the Father Brown stories of G. K. Chesterton.
Carr was a master of the locked room mystery, in which a detective solves apparently impossible crimes. The Dr. Fell mystery The Hollow Man (1935), usually considered Carr's masterpiece, was selected in 1981 as the best locked-room mystery of all time by a panel of 17 mystery authors and reviewers.
In 1950, his biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle brought Carr the first of his two Special Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America; the second came in 1970, in recognition of his 40-year career as a mystery writer. He was also presented the MWA's Grand Master award in 1963.
In early spring 1963, while living in Mamaroneck, New York, Carr suffered a stroke, which paralyzed his left side. He continued to write using one hand, and for several years contributed a regular column of mystery and detective book reviews, "The Jury Box", to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. Carr eventually moved to Greenville, South Carolina, and he died there of lung cancer in 1977.