The Three Coffins
Why this book?
The Three Coffins is legendary among traditional mystery fans for its “locked room” lecture in Chapter Seventeen, in which the detective, Dr. Gideon Fell announces, “We're in a detective story, and we don't fool the reader by pretending we're not. Let's not invent elaborate excuses to drag in a discussion of detective stories. Let's candidly glory in the noblest pursuits possible to characters in a book." He then goes on to enumerate and classify the possible solutions to an impossible crime. What I love about this chapter is that Carr unapologetically defends escapist stories that depend upon style, wit, and an intelligent puzzle, rather than grimly realistic depictions of everyday life.