The Witch of the Low Tide

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The Witch of the Low Tide
First edition (US)
Author John Dickson Carr
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Mystery, Detective novel, Historical novel
Publisher Hamish Hamilton (UK) & Harper (USA)
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 186 pp (Bantam #H3639, paperback edition, 1964)

The Witch of the Low Tide, first published in 1961, is a detective story/historical novel by John Dickson Carr set in the England of 1907. This novel is a mystery of the type known as a locked room mystery (or a subset of that type called an "impossible mystery") as well as being a historical novel.

Plot summary[edit]

David Garth, M.D., has fallen in love with the beautiful widow Betty, Lady Calder. Detective-Inspector Twigg of Scotland Yard tries to warn Dr. Garth about the chequered past of Lady Calder, but it takes all the nerve of Garth's friend Cullingford Abbot, assistant to the Commissioner of Scotland Yard, to state that, among other things, Betty danced for three seasons at the Moulin Rouge and is thought to have joined a Satanist group in Paris. She is also reputed to be a blackmailer responsible for at least two suicides. However, Betty herself raises the possibility that she is being mistaken for the machinations of her sister Glynis. When Glynis is found dead on the beach near a bathing-pavilion, in the middle of a stretch of unmarked sand, Betty is suspected of arranging the death (although no one can suggest how it might have happened). It takes Dr. Garth's special knowledge of both medicine (the new science of "psychanalysis") and literature like Gaston Leroux's The Mystery of the Yellow Room to solve the impossible crime and reveal the criminal.

The book is interesting from a modern point of view because it deals with the sexual abuse of a child by her guardian where the sympathy of the writer is with the adult man and not with the underage girl.