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READ PDF Ä Captain Cut-Throat ⛈ When someone begins a killing spree on Napoleon s personal sentries, captured British agent Alan Hepburn finds himself forced not only to assist with the investigation but also to match wits with the Emperor and his chief of police, the wily Fouche In Captain Cut Throat Carr s trademark combination of sudden death and captivating historical re creation is at its best Carr is one of the hugely prolific Golden Age mystery writers whom I d never sampled until this book This story a bit of an outlier in his work, in that it sof a swashbuckling, historic espionage caper, than a classic murder mystery It s set in France in 1805, as Napoleon gathers his troops on the northern coast for an invasion of England However, someone an English agent, presumably is skulking around the camp of the Grand Armee, murdering soldiers in the dead of night Napoleo Carr is one of the hugely prolific Golden Age mystery writers whom I d never sampled until this book This story a bit of an outlier in his work, in that it sof a swashbuckling, historic espionage caper, than a classic murder mystery It s set in France in 1805, as Napoleon gathers his troops on the northern coast for an invasion of England However, someone an English agent, presumably is skulking around the camp of the Grand Armee, murdering soldiers in the dead of night Napoleon demands that his Minister of Police, Joseph Fouche a real and fascinating personality unmask the killer, and so Fouche weaves an exceedingly tangled web that includes one of his own honey trap agents, an English spy, and the estranged wife of the spy There s endless rounds of intrigue and counter intrigue tables are not turned so much as they are spent spinning off into the night There s a room with secret spyholes, a smuggler s inn, disguises, carriages and horses, swordplay, a great chase scene involving exploding gas balloons, and a venomous German officer to top it all off I suppose there s a certain zany charm to it all but it sof the two reeler adventure tale side of the spectrum, as opposed to a crime mystery story I will say that the twist at the end, when the true identity of Captain Cut Throat is revealed is one of the better surprise endings I can recall Still, probably of limited interest to modern readers Uno dei tanti pregi del grande John Dickson Carr, maestro del giallo della camera chiusa, l indiscussa capacit di creare, con le poche parole di una semplice narrazione, un atmosfera affascinante in contesti e ambientazioni fra le pi disparate E Capitan Tagliagola ne l ennesima dimostrazione Stavolta non respiriamo quell atmosfera paurosamente affascinante e orientale del museo d arte di Delitti da mille e una notte , n tantomeno quella sinistra della Londra nebbiosa di L arte di u Uno dei tanti pregi del grande John Dickson Carr, maestro del giallo della camera chiusa, l indiscussa capacit di creare, con le poche parole di una semplice narrazione, un atmosfera affascinante in contesti e ambientazioni fra le pi disparate E Capitan Tagliagola ne l ennesima dimostrazione Stavolta non respiriamo quell atmosfera paurosamente affascinante e orientale del museo d arte di Delitti da mille e una notte , n tantomeno quella sinistra della Londra nebbiosa di L arte di uccidere o quella vivacemente borghese di La tabacchiera dell imperatore siamo a inizio Ottocento, fra gli accampamenti militari della Grande Arm e di Napoleone, decisa a invadere l Inghilterra di Nelson qui si aggira un misterioso assassino, chiamato Capitan Tagliagola, che colpisce con la sua daga soldati semplici lasciando accanto ai loro corpi dei messaggi come segno distintivo Il ministro di polizia di Napoleone, Joseph Fouch , brancola talmente nel buio da decidere di affidare l incarico a un sagace agente inglese appena catturato dai francesi, Alan Hepburn Il clima militaresco, teso, confuso, agitato, l azione esplosiva cova sotto a ogni situazione apparentemente calma e l intrigo dietro l angolo, fino al punto in cui nessuno si pu pi fidare di nessuno, Fouch e Hepburn compresi Ma chi Capitan Tagliagola Tra cavalieri in agguato, accampamenti agitati da mongolfiere in fiamme e tuoni che squarciano il cielo, la soluzione arriver all ultima paginae ci accorgeremo che ce l avevamo sotto al naso fin dall inizio Pi che per l indagine poliziesca, in realt assente nel romanzo, Capitan Tagliagola colpisce per la cornice cos insolita e originale per un giallo classico e per la ricostruzione del clima di un epoca storica cos lontana, nella quale Carr ci trasporta con assoluta semplicit Mai nessuno in grado come lui di rapire il lettore e di trascinarlo nell atmosfera delle sua pagine in maniera cos magica Captain Cut throat The title might lead you to believe this is a pirate adventure, but it s not.The author, John Dickson Carr, might lead you to expect a murder mystery, but it is not quite that, either Carr wrote many good old fashioned detective stories, many of the locked room variety, but there really is not much of that in this novel Captain Cut throat is a novel of spies and intrigue during the heyday of Napoleon Bonaparte It is not a particularly realistic novel The titular cha Captain Cut throat The title might lead you to believe this is a pirate adventure, but it s not.The author, John Dickson Carr, might lead you to expect a murder mystery, but it is not quite that, either Carr wrote many good old fashioned detective stories, many of the locked room variety, but there really is not much of that in this novel Captain Cut throat is a novel of spies and intrigue during the heyday of Napoleon Bonaparte It is not a particularly realistic novel The titular character is a mysterious assassin, striking down sentries at an encampment of French soldiers preparing for an apparent invasion of England, spreading panic and mistrust among the emperor s men The protagonist is an English spy trying to discern what Bonaparte is up to and send word to his superiors in time And the main foil for the protagonist is Joseph Fouche, the crafty minister of police serving under Napoleon Fouche is a wily fellow with a network of spies and a penchant for making others, including Napoleon, mistrust him As portrayed here, he is perceived as so devilishly clever that no matter how unlikely his schemes seem and no matter how nonsensical his moves seem, people assume it all makes sense somehow but that only Fouche can weave it all together That is a convenient thing for an author, of course if your plot depends on Fouche making decisions that seem so awkwardly wrong that even other characters in the book notice his moves don t make sense, a bit of authorial misdirection can solve the problem Just have a character point out that Fouche s moves are always part of some grand, secret scheme that we lesser mortals can not hope to divine Fouche, like God, moves in mysterious ways Normally, such tactics on the part of a writer annoy the hell out of me, but I forgave Carr on this instance because, frankly, the story was a lot of fun Events move swiftly, and there is plenty of cloak and dagger and swashbuckling Captain Cut throat seems to employ ninja skills, or perhaps supernatural ones The plot writhes, tables get turned, secret agendas are revealed Implausibility is one issue The hero s means of reaching the heart of Bonaparte s encampment to do his spying is unnecessarily risky and based on the premise that Fouche will do something highly unlikely himself The hero s plan does not deserve to work, but then again, Fouche makes sure it works anyway and everyone just assumes Fouche acted in a way that was convenient for our hero for some inscrutable reason of his own A careful reader will groan a few times, wondering why the hell this or that character did this or that dumb thing Despite all that, the book had a lot of upside for me It reads a bit like an old fashioned Errol Flynn movie I could not help but envision Errol and Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone and Maureen O Hara in key roles My mental supporting cast included Vincent Price and Christopher Lee The prose and pace made me think of Captain Blood and Jamaica Inn and similar old movies I can watch again and again This novel, published in 1955, hit the nostalgia chord The book also managed to pull me along at a rapid clip, so that most of its shortcomings became apparent later, after I was done reading When reading, I really just wanted to plunge along and find out what would happen next And the book is quite short, meaning I ran out of pages to read before I became too impatient with characters behaving in weird ways Despite its shortcomings, I enjoyed Captain Cut throat quite a bit, and I will be on the lookout forof Carr s historical mystery thrillers Oh, John Dickson Carr, there is so much to like about you I love your scene painting, I love the way you plunge your mysteries deeply into your historical settings, I love your bravado and the clues and red herrings you embed on every page I love that you can swashbuckle like Sabatini and tell a joke like he couldn t There s just this one thing women Why does there have to be two of them for each of your heroes Why do they have to look like Venus It s just a soup on de sleaze, so slight a Oh, John Dickson Carr, there is so much to like about you I love your scene painting, I love the way you plunge your mysteries deeply into your historical settings, I love your bravado and the clues and red herrings you embed on every page I love that you can swashbuckle like Sabatini and tell a joke like he couldn t There s just this one thing women Why does there have to be two of them for each of your heroes Why do they have to look like Venus It s just a soup on de sleaze, so slight and retro that I feel silly noticing, but it would be nice to have some sensible women who aren t constantly draping themselves on the hero like heavy curtains Thank you P.S Loved what you did with Napolean