The Case of the Constant Suicides by John Dickson Carr (Dell)

Originally published in 1941, The Case of the Constant Suicides is a detective novel by John Dickson Carr. Like many of Carr’s stories, this novel involves a locked-room mystery, a seemingly impossible crime that took place in a locked room. This is the 13th Carr story to feature Dr. Gideon Fell, medical doctor and amateur sleuth.

In spite of its dire name, this book is fairly comedic in nature. Set in a Scottish castle, the novel is both a whodunit and a comedy of manners. Packed with suspicious events, strange characters, and silly hijinks, this novel is widely considered to be one of Carr’s best.

The edition of the novel was published by Dell in 1945. Like many of Dell’s old mystery novels, this book features a “mapback,” a map on the back of the book that is designed to make the mystery easier to solve.

Both the cover and the map are the work of artist Gerald Gregg. Gregg was an employee of Dell from 1943 to 1950, providing a number of illustrations for Dell Mysteries during that time. He also worked with the Western Printing and Lithographing Company, where he provided illustrations for Little Golden Books.

Gregg almost exclusively worked with an airbrush, giving his covers an unusual appearance that stood out from other covers of the time. Many of his covers are fairly simple in nature, consisting of strong shapes and distinctive colors. Gregg once described his style as “a cominbation of graphic design and stylized realism.”