10 June 2010

Forgotten Book: ASK A POLICEMAN, Detection Club

This week's contribution to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books

What an intriguing title to discover in my little green book.
I read ASK A POLICEMAN in 1988. No author it seems, but "The Detection Club".

I'm assuming that the one I read was the title written in 1934 (which this cover seems to belong to). Fantastic Fiction says "A collection of stories by Anthony Berkeley, Milward Kennedy and Dorothy L Sayers". It is described elsewhere as a "round robin" novel.

Martin Edwards tells us The book opens with an exchange of letters between Milward Kennedy and John Rhode, in which Kennedy proposes the title Ask a Policeman and Rhode offers a plot with ‘a choice of many Policemen to interrogate as to its solution.’ He adds that ‘writing detective stories is just like any other vice. The deed is done without one’s having any clear knowledge of the temptation which led up to it.’ more

Wikipedia tells me the Detection Club  was formed in 1930 by a group of British mystery writers including Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Freeman Wills Crofts, Arthur Morrison, John Rhode, Jessie Rickard, Baroness Emma Orczy, R. Austin Freeman, G. D. H. Cole, Margaret Cole, E.C. Bentley and H. C. Bailey. Anthony Berkeley was instrumental in setting up the Club and the first president was G. K. Chesterton. There was a fanciful initiation ritual, with an oath, probably written by either Chesterton or Dorothy L. Sayers, and the Club held regular dinner meetings in London.

The club members listed here reads like a who's who of British crime fiction, the current president is Simon Brett, and Martin Edwards was elected to membership in 2008.


Anonymous said...

Kerrie - Thanks for this. It sounds like a fun book. I have to admit I haven't read this one, but I wish I had. It looks good.

Kerrie said...

It was fun doing my research for this post Margot - particularly as I thought Martin Edwards had mentioned The Detection Club in some blog posts. There really are some eminent authors among the members

Bernadette said...

That does sound rather intriguing...never know what I might find at the giant North Adelaide library book sale this weekend (they tend to have lots of goog SH crime fiction)

Richard R. said...

I've read this, and a couple other books written by the "club". It's entertaining if not riveting, and personally I find he anachronisms fun instead of distracting. Good stuff, thanks for the review!

Evan Lewis said...

Sounds like a hoot!


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