15 September 2011


This contribution to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books is from my records for 1989.

I had recorded this book as being written by John Dickson Carr but those details were not quite correct.

As you can see from the cover, the book was apparently published by The Detection Club with the principal authors shown as Dorothy L. Sayers and John Dickson Carr.

No Flowers by Request was originally published in 1953, and Crime on the Coast in 1954.
The Detection Club re-published both in 1984 and 1987.

Good Reads tells us "Crime On the Coast brings murder and intrigue to a raucous seaside resort in this classic mystery with a strange twist, a mistaken victim, and an elusive heroine.

-written with Detection Club members: Valerie White, Laurence Meynell, Joan Fleming, Michael Cronin, and Elizabeth Ferrrars."

Crime on the Coast at least was a round-robin novel, but not sponsored by The Detection Club.

One review labelled Crime on the Coast as an "Unremarkable group-authored English murder mystery"
The story actually has six authors, John Dickson Carr and five other members of "the Detection Club". They wrote a pair of chapters each, in order, and I think the game was that each author received the story as it had been written so far, without any previous consultations on plot or anything, and had to continue it into their two chapters. The result starts out promising (John Dickson Carr wrote the first two chapters, and he's good) but rather fragments after that, due to the underlying game and perhaps the fact that the other authors weren't John Dickson Carr.

The same reviewer says that No Flowers By Request suffered even more in terms of reading enjoyment from the sudden shifts in authorial style and tone.

1 comment:

William I. Lengeman III said...

I read this one a while back. It was nothing to write home about but it was an interesting curiosity piece. I guess writing books by committee is a delicate art.


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