Night at the Mocking Widow, and was written (as about half of Carr's novels were) under the pseudonym of Carter Dickson. The illustration on the left is from the first edition of the book -- my own copy is a later paperback reprint which has a much less dramatic cover! The story is set in the fictional village of Stoke Druid, which is supposed to lie just off the main road between Glastonbury and Wells in Somerset. The most prominent feature of the village is a rocky outcrop called "The Mocking Widow", which is the simulacrum in question. The following description is taken from the caption of a fictional postcard in the novel:
The Mocking Widow, Stoke Druid. This stone figure, forty feet high, thirty-eight feet round the base and eight feet round the head, stands in an open meadow below the High Street. Its name is perhaps early Christian in origin, derived from the Biblical story of the Cities of the Plain: tradition stating that there once lived here a woman so wicked she was turned to stone. The eyes are each large enough to contain a human head. A visitor in the lower High Street, looking north-eastwards, can easily discern that look of mockery and cruelty which has given the figure its name.As usual with the Fortean elements in Carr's work, the simulacrum isn't critical to the central mystery, but just there to add a touch of drama to the story. It's also fair to say that Night at the Mocking Widow isn't one of Carr's best books -- at the latest count, I've read 23 of his novels (either written under his own name or as Carter Dickson) and at least 20 of them are better than this one! On the other hand, none of the others features a simulacrum. Enigmatic stone figures of this type occasionally crop up in science fiction, where they inevitably turn out to be the product of lost civilizations or ancient astronauts, but this is the first time I've ever come across one as background scenery in an ordinary mystery novel.