The creators of Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Lord Peter Wimsey, and Father Brown collaborate on one mystery, all applying their unique expertise to solve the same case. Reprint. NYT. This description may be from another edition of this product.
As a charity effort, the authors of THE FLOATING ADMIRAL must have had a whale of a time, but as a detective novel, it's strangely overdone. Well, no wonder, each writer wrote a chapter apiece, and after the first two chapters, each continuer had to supply his or her own solution in a sealed envelope to guarantee that they were actually going somewhere towards a solution. I knew I was in for trouble as soon as Chapter One, by Canon Victor Whitechurch (once apparently a shining star of UK detective writing) set the admiral afloat in some sort of rowboat with a "painter" on it and started talking about how the River Whyn was a tidal river, whatever that was, and thus effected by tides that would take a boat this way or that, depending. And this was on the word of hardened seaman Neddy Ware, now a villager, the man who discovered the corpse. Adniral Penistone has led a checkered life himself, and has been living secretively with his extremely strange niece Elma Fitzgerald, and her French maid Celie, who has now disappeared, On the other side of the river lives the Vicar with his two adorable little boys, whose antics remind me of Lord Peter Wimsey's boys in the final Wimsey stories. Their mother, Mrs. Mount, is not referred to--but you don't have to be Herodotus to know that her history will become the subject of the rest of the novel. As writer upon writer adds more and more complications, it just gets worse and worse for whoever's picking up the pen next; by the time the book gets around to Dorothy L. Sayers, she has to write an epic solution that involves, apparently, every single character in the book and all of them are guilty. After that, the funniest contribution is by the under-rated Clemence Dane, who announces in her solution that she has no idea who did the murder, and that all she's trying to do is write a chapter in which anyone who succeeds her will be able to prove or disprove anything they want to. My hat is off to Anthony Berkeley, whose contribution is the finale, and who has so many loose ends to tie together he calls his chapter "Cleaning Up the Mess." His solution isn't great, but it's OK. The second murder is horribly brutal and because it results in a tragedy for innocent children it seems seedy, grisly in a way I would have thought outside the purlieux of the Detection Club.
A Mysterious Smorgasbord
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 14 years ago
As a fan of writers Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, I was intrigued by this book, which includes other authors such as G.K. Chesterton and their fellow members of the Detection Club. This club is a private society made up of British mystery writers. Together, this club decided to try their hand at writing a communal mystery: each author would write a chapter and supply their own solution to the crimes committed. The result is "The Floating Admiral", a mystery which is surprisingly well-paced and just as an ingenius a tale as one would expect from the authors connected with it. Early one morning, the body of Admiral Penistone is found floating in a boat adrift on the river, a stab wound clear in his chest. Inspector Rudge arrives on the scene to begin his investigation and immediately meets with several obstacles: most importantly that several people who may be involved with the case act in an extremely suspicious manner. The Admiral's niece, who needed her uncle's approval for her marriage, runs off to London after learning of his death. The vicar, with whom the Admiral dined, is certainly withholding information; after all, it was the vicar's boat that the body was found in. Inspector Rudge knows that there is more than meets the eye, and is also convinced that some incident in the Admiral's past is connected to his murder. But how can he prove it when nothing is as it seems? He even begins to wonder if the dead man was the real Admiral Penistone - stranger things had happened. "The Floating Admiral" is a novelty among mystery stories. The prologue written by G.K. Chesterton seems extremely obtuse until the entire plot is explained at the end. The story coheres well and the events are sustained, in spite of the fourteen authors' hands that stirred the pot. At times, with each proceeding chapter, one can tell that an author is trying to change the course of the story a little unsuccessfully, which can make the characterization uneven. But all in all, each chapter builds to a satisfying climax. There is an appendix provided at the end, in which the authors gave their solution to the mystery: Agatha Christie's solution is most funny, but the real solution worked out by Anthony Berkeley, with all its twists and turns, is icing on the cake. While definitely a bit dated in places (especially with the Admiral's past in China) the nature of the crime and the solution of it stand the test of time.
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 19 years ago
Eventhough Christie only wrote one chapter here, this reads and feels exactly like one of her own books. The set up is quite impressive, with the floating admiral of the title found sailing along in an abandonned boat with a dagger in him, which is all explained away by the clever and quite natural conclusion. Despite going on about tide flows and boat paintings and rope cuttings, the characters to this crafty piece are all quite believable, considering several writers made them move and speak. All is well by the end and a satisfying summary to the events beforehand is smoothly explained, so you can skip past the silly alternate outcomes the authors each come up with in an unneccessary, sort of epilogue. They add nothing to the main story but a lot of what ifs. (That said, Christie's solution of the murderer in drag is hilarious...) P.S. Some rather foolish stereotypes can be found in the narrative which doesn't distract from the story. They're just there, like a disturbing sign of the times.
Murder Meets Improv
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 22 years ago
The Detection Club books are unlike any other ever created. Basically, Agatha Christie and ten other authors (for The Floating Admiral) contribute pieces of a murder mystery without sharing what solutions they were leaning towards until the APPENDIX at the very end. Each author has their own solution and has to work within the framework of all the other clues contributed by the others. More of a game than a murder mystery, it's a fascinating read, but you shouldn't try to read too much of it at one sitting.
a good brain workout
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 25 years ago
This book is written by more than Agatha Christie. So those expecting to read another Agatha Christie Mystery Sorry! But you won't be disappointed. The Floating Admirmal is very interesting in that each chapter is written by an author of mystery in one form or another. This is fun as you see the writings of others. It is cool how each author gets their chapter to flow with the chapter before and after it. Chapter 8 is the hardest chapter to get through and a little boring as it is in list format Where as I feel it would have been more interesting if the inspector was talking to someone. Otherwise smooth sailing afterwards. The story ends with finding out the killer or is he/she really the killer Read on and you decide who the real killer is maybe you have your own ideas as to who killed the admiral and why. A good workout for the brain. Have fun reading and solving this unique mystery
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