Monday, November 23, 2015

"Golden Age" murder

Suzannah Rowntree at Vintage Novels likes The Floating Admiral, a project of the Detection Club:
I thought The Detection Club was the best thing ever when I first heard of it—a club of Golden Age mystery authors that included Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers? with GK Chesterton himself as the president? but I had never heard of The Floating Admiral, which was a simply terrific idea: a detective novel written round-robin style by the entire Club, each member in turn being required to provide the next chapter of the story along with a sealed solution explaining the solution to the whole mystery. As an entertainment for the Club itself, it must have been pretty terrific. As a curiosity of detective fiction for the Golden-Age detective fan, it's also a great read.

The plot is pretty similar to every other detective story, with the exception that the last chapter goes on and on (and on) as the last poor author attempts to tie up all the loose ends. .... [more]
Years ago I acquired a copy of The Floating Admiral. In addition to Christie and Sayers, among the other members who contributed chapters were John Rhode, Ronald Knox, F. Wills Croft and Anthony Berkeley.

Another collaboration of the Detection Club in my library is Six Against Scotland Yard for which Margery Allingham, Anthony Berkeley, Freeman Wills Croft, Ronald Knox, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Russell Thorndike contributed short stories each describing a "perfect murder" after which former Scotland Yard Superintendent Cornish describes how he would solve the crime.

Yesterday a friend referred me to the third episode of a BBC documentary being played on my local PBS station: "A Very British Murder: The Golden Age." I have discovered that this program, along with Parts 1&2, is available on YouTube. "The Golden Age" covers the period when The Floating Admiral was published. Although that book isn't mentioned and Christie and Sayers are the only members who are discussed, there is an interesting segment about the the Detection Club including a reenactment of the ceremony for induction of members. Here it is:


Vintage Novels: The Detection Club by Dorothy Sayers