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Q: Demonstrate that John Dickson Carr joined the CPGB and worked as an MI5 Agent ( No Answer,   7 Comments )
Question  
Subject: Demonstrate that John Dickson Carr joined the CPGB and worked as an MI5 Agent
Category: Relationships and Society > Government
Asked by: probonopublico-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 09 Aug 2006 04:18 PDT
Expires: 28 Aug 2006 21:43 PDT
Question ID: 754177
There's a stack of innuendo (that I believe to be true) that says that
John Dickson Carr (1905-1977) - the famous detective story writer -
joined the CPGB (the Communist Party of Great Britain) and reported on
them as an undercover agent for MI5.

I would like convincing documentary proof that both propositions are true.

Please don't confuse Dickson Carr with J.G. Dickson (an MI5 officer)
as some writers have done.

A tough assignment?

Yes but not impossible. Or is it?

Many thanks in anticipation of an amazing Answer.

Bryan

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 09 Aug 2006 05:02 PDT
Not much out there that I can see, but I did find two nibbles in Questia:


Journeys in Shadows
Book by P. D. Jackson, L. V. Scott; Routledge, 2004 

...Most of the books to be considered in this paper are written by
authors with intelligence experience and who have drawn on this
experience when writing espionage fiction. The cast of characters is
rich, and includes Graham Greene, Compton Mackenzie, Somerset Maugham,
Ian Fleming, Malcolm Muggeridge, Alec Waugh, Valentine Williams,
Kenneth Benton, Geoffrey Household and David Cornwell, all of whom
served in the Secret Intelligence Service, and John Bingham, Maxwell
Knight, Derek Tangye and John Dickson Carr, who worked for the wartime
Security Service.



The Guy Liddell Diaries: Mi5's Director of Counter-Espionage in World War II
Book by Nigel West; Frank Cass, 2005 

10 August [1940]...John Dickson Carr has done a very good report on
the funds of the British Union of Fascists which have been invested in
a number of trust companies. A great deal of trouble had been taken by
the party to cover up the origin as far as possible. So far
investigations disclose that there is a balance of some 11,637.


I'll certainly let you know if anything more turns up.

paf

Clarification of Question by probonopublico-ga on 09 Aug 2006 06:09 PDT
Hi Dave

Many thanks!

I'm very pleased that you are on the case.

The unedited version of the Guy Liddell Diaries actually only mentions
'Dickson' and the editor wrongly assumed that this was a reference to
John Dickson Carr.

Actually J.G. (Jimmy) Dickson was the man in question.

Please don't believe everything that you read in books (or newspapers).

All the Best

Bryan

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 09 Aug 2006 12:06 PDT
Not much to report, but if you haven't seen this book yet (but of
course, you have!), it might be worth a look:


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1883402476/ref=nosim/102-0724807-4061705?camp=2025&dev-t=D26XECQVNV6NDQ&link%5Fcode=xm2&n=283155

John Dickson Carr: The Man Who Explained Miracles 
by Douglas G. Greene 

"...Greene spends much more time in describing Carr's stories than in
describing his life; Carr's alcoholism is dismissed in a few pages,
and the supposition that he worked for British intelligence before and
during World War II is relegated to an appendix..."


Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find an online version of the book


dave

Clarification of Question by probonopublico-ga on 09 Aug 2006 12:31 PDT
Dave

Many thanks for your further endeavours.

I'll see if I can get a copy of Greene's book through the library (the
British Library has a copy).

The cheapest copy on Amazon.com (for shipment to the UK) was $35 but -
get this - copies from Amazon.co.uk were listed from 44,69 to 83.92!

However, I am not optimistic that this will necessarily add anything new.

So the BIG CHALLENGE still awaits!

Are you going to rise to the occasion yet again?

On this I am VERY OPTIMISTIC!

All the Best

Bryan

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 09 Aug 2006 17:45 PDT
Don't get overly optimistic...not much is turning up.  But I have an
email out on this, so give things a day or two to see if anything
develops, or if any other researcher or peanut-gallery'er turns up
something of interest.

Meantime, I've learned that one of Carr's detectives went by the title
of Colonel March of Scotland Yard's Department of Queer Complaints...

Shades of Monty Python!

Clarification of Question by probonopublico-ga on 09 Aug 2006 22:04 PDT
Thanks, Dave ...

For the progress report.

If anybody can do it, you can!

All the Best

Bryan

Clarification of Question by probonopublico-ga on 10 Aug 2006 07:37 PDT
Many thanks, Answerfinder ...

I'm surprised that your friends at you-know-where haven't got a file on him.

Bryan

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 14 Aug 2006 16:13 PDT
bryan,

No response yet on that email...it went out to an academic who wrote
an extensive bio of Carr, but I fear he may be out of pocket for the
summer.

I'm not giving up, but it's not looking promising, either.

dave

Clarification of Question by probonopublico-ga on 14 Aug 2006 21:02 PDT
Many thanks, Dave, for the (lack of) progress report.

I expected it to be difficult but I have also come to expect you to
deliver miracles.

Me? i haven't given up hoping ...

Yet.

Bryan

Clarification of Question by probonopublico-ga on 28 Aug 2006 21:43 PDT
I'm going to kill this because I guess it's going nowhere.

My thanks to one and all, especially Paf.
Answer  
There is no answer at this time.

Comments  
Subject: Re: Demonstrate that John Dickson Carr joined the CPGB and worked as an MI5 Agent
From: fp-ga on 09 Aug 2006 11:03 PDT
 
Not an attempt to answer your question, Bryan. Just wondering if he
was born in 1905 or in 1906.

According to Wikipedia in 1906:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dickson_Carr

I suppose that this is the John Carr you are referring to:
http://www.familysearch.org/eng/Search/ssdi/individual_record.asp?recid=063206957
Subject: Re: Demonstrate that John Dickson Carr joined the CPGB and worked as an MI5 Agent
From: probonopublico-ga on 09 Aug 2006 11:29 PDT
 
Hi Freddy

Many thanks for your Comment.

I have just Googled his name with 'born' and 1905 popped up as a
Wikipedia reference.

However, the link then took me to the 1906 page!

I'm now sure that 1906 is correct.

All the Best

Bryan
Subject: Re: Demonstrate that John Dickson Carr joined the CPGB and worked as an MI5 Agent
From: fp-ga on 10 Aug 2006 00:41 PDT
 
Some more biographical details:
http://www.pabook.libraries.psu.edu/LitMap/bios/Carr__John_Dickson.html

This webpage being part of the "Literary and Cultural Heritage Map of
Pennsylvania Biographers":
http://www.pabook.libraries.psu.edu/credits/biogscredits.html
Subject: Re: Demonstrate that John Dickson Carr joined the CPGB and worked as an MI5 Agent
From: fp-ga on 10 Aug 2006 01:45 PDT
 
Apparently, his wife "Clarice M. Carr" died in 1993:
http://www.familysearch.org/eng/Search/ssdi/individual_record.asp?recid=112360837
("Clarice CARR")
http://www.newenglandancestors.org/research/database/ss/default.asp
("Clarice M CARR")

Presumably identical with "CLEAVES  Clarice May N A" as mentioned in FreeBMD
http://freebmd.rootsweb.com/cgi/search.pl (Apr Jun 1909)

Well, not really contributing to your question.
Subject: Re: Demonstrate that John Dickson Carr joined the CPGB and worked as an MI5 Agent
From: answerfinder-ga on 10 Aug 2006 04:27 PDT
 
No mention in his Times obituary 02.03.77. Gives his year of birth as
1906, Union Town, Pennsylvania.
answerfinder-ga
Subject: Re: Demonstrate that John Dickson Carr joined the CPGB and worked as an MI5 Agent
From: fp-ga on 10 Aug 2006 11:44 PDT
 
Well, I'm not sure how detailed the information as given in "Lobster" is:

"CARR, JOHN DICKSON WELL KNOWN THRILLER WRITER CP WORKER-MI5 AGENT 1930-40's"
http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/intro/search.cgi?zoom_query=%22john+dickson%22&zoom_and=1
Subject: Re: Demonstrate that John Dickson Carr joined the CPGB and worked as an MI5 Agent
From: probonopublico-ga on 10 Aug 2006 12:11 PDT
 
Hi, Again, Freddy

Lobster is pretty good!

I've had contact with both the founders; now reduced to one.

And they did an excellent review of my book.

However, they've not put any meat on the bones of the Carr story!

Just you wait until you see what Paf turns up ...

He is very well 'connected' ... You know what I mean?

All the Best

Bryan

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