Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Cabin B-13 - John Dickson Carr
Theme for the Week: Murder on The Seas
Name of the story: Cabin B-13
Author: John Dickson Carr
Source: The Door to Doom and Other Detections
Story Number: 52
This is one of Carr's very popular radio mysteries; it was adapted as a television drama; and in 1953 the script became the basis for a feature-length movie, Dangerous Crossing. Richard and Anne Brewster, married a few hours earlier are leaving for Europe on their 3 month honeymoon on board the ocean liner 'Maurevania'.
When they check in to Cabin B-13, Anne somehow recollects the old Paris Exposition story - where a mother and daughter duo check in to a hotel, the daughter goes out and when she returns, the mother has disappeared from the face of the earth and the proprietor of the hotel swears that she came alone! Little does Anne know that she is gone be in exactly the same situation just a few minutes later! Richard goes away to hand over the money to the purser, Anne goes to the upper deck and waits for Richard. The first person she meets there is Dr. Hardwick - who gives her the first shock that there is no cabin in that ship with number 13. When they go to B deck to investigate, they don't find Cabin B-13. The stewardess confirms that in all her eight years of service there never was a cabin with number 13.
Anne's luggage is found in B-16 but there's no sign of Richard or his luggage. Hardwick escorts her to Mr. Marshall, the second officer who was standing guard when the passengers entered the ship. He swears that Anne entered alone and no one was with her. The captain of the ship agrees to searching the whole ship but there's still no sign of Richard. Later in the night, Anne gets a call in her cabin from Richard; who says someone has been trying to kill him and he has been thwarting those attempts by hiding from them. He asks her to meet him in the upper deck immediately - where the climax is played out with Dr. Hardwick coming to the rescue of the intended victim to reveal a diabolical plot hatched out by the criminal. As in most of Carr's tales, the clues are fairly presented to the reader for him to identify the solution and the guilty party.