This was my first John Dickson Carr mystery, read as a teenager, and I still remember not being able to sleep at night, thinking, How could it possibly have been done? For, of course, its about an apparently impossible crime, which is Carrs specialty. It is also permeated with the atmosphere of a horror tale, and features one of my favorite fictional detectives, Bencolin, who also cannot sleep until he solves the mystery.My impression is, and I must reread to confirm it, that Carr never surpassed his performance here in regard to the smooth blending of detective story and thriller.
Often it is the case (and I write as an ardent detective story fan) that the mechanics of this genre are clunky, entailing a fair amount of tedium. One must, according to the rules, make sure the reader has access to all the pertinent clues, and the solution must be crystal clear, with no loose ends.
Sometimes you feel youve been through the mill after this has been accomplished.It Walks By Night goes down smoothly, like good neat whiskey.