Detection Club Books

Behind The Screen
Behind The Screen first appeared as a serial in ‘The Listener’ in 1930, and was eventually published in hard covers, together with The Scoop, in 1983, when it was described as ‘a more domestic drama, of murder within a family [which] develops into a problem of meticulous timing’.
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The Scoop
The Scoop first appeared as a serial in ‘The Listener’ in 1931.The story was planned in outline by all its authors in committee, before the writing began, and thereafter Dorothy L. Sayers acted as co-ordinating editor. The story is set in a newspaper office, with the murder of a reporter who is himself investigating for his paper a seemingly unrelated murder committed in a remote Sussex bungalow.
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The Floating Admiral
The Floating Admiral, probably the most celebrated ‘round-robin’ novel by multiple contributors, was first published in 1932. In her Introduction, Dorothy L. Sayers explained the conditions under which the book was written.
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Ask A Policeman
The success of The Floating Admiral encouraged Detection Club members to produce a follow-up, and Ask a Policeman duly appeared in 1934. 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.’
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The Anatomy of Murder
This book was published in the UK in 1936, and the American edition whose dust wrapper is pictured appeared the following year. The jacket copy gives a comprehensive explanation of what the book is about.
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Six Against The Yard
First published in 1936, Six Against the Yard was an ingenious, and perhaps unique, variation on the conventional detective fiction anthology. The book contains half a dozen stories by members of the Club featuring potentially foolproof murders, but each is followed by an analysis undertaken by former Superintendent Cornish of Scotland Yard, in which the flaws in the criminal scheme are exposed.
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Detection Medley
Detection Medley was published in the UK in 1939; it appeared the following year in the US under the title Line Up. John Rhode edited the book and supplied a foreword, while A.A. Milne, himself a member of the Club, contributed a short introduction. Although most of the contributions – a number of which had been published previously - were short stories, there were also articles by G.K. Chesterton, J.J. Connington, R.Austin Freeman and Milward Kennedy.
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No Flowers By Request
No Flowers By Request was a story produced under the aegis of the Detection Club which first appeared as a serial in ‘The Daily Sketch’ in 1953. Because of its brevity, it did not appear in book form until 1984, when Victor Gollancz published the story together with Crime on the Coast, which had originally appeared in serial form in ‘The News Chronicle’ in 1954. However, Crime on the Coast (like Double Death earlier) was not a Detection Club publication: the contributors included writers who were not members of the Club.
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The Verdict of 13
In 1979, the then President of the Detection Club, Julian Symons, edited a collection which, he said in his introduction, had ‘a distinctive approach. The contributors were asked to write a short story that should, in some way or another, concern a jury, although it was stressed that the jury need not be one sitting in a law court, nor need they number twelve. There might be a ‘jury’ of soldiers or policemen, suburban housewives or schoolboys, lawyers or old lags.’ The book as a whole, he said, ‘shows the crime story, like the Detection Club, offering talents as various as those of Cleopatra.’
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The Man Who...
In 1992, the Detection Club published The Man Who…, edited by H.R.F. Keating, to celebrate the 80th birthday of the Club’s President, Julian Symons. In his introduction, Keating explained that, in compiling this ‘fiction Festschrift’, he had invited ‘those among the Club’s members who have been perhaps most closely linked with Julian to contribute…I laid down only a few stipulations. Each story was, in tribute to the author of The Man Who Killed Himself, The Man Whose Dreams Came True, and The Man Who Lost His Wife, to have a title beginning ‘The Man Who…’ (but, indulgent as ever, I allowed a little latitude.) I added that the stories under these titles should, while being altogether the author’s own, refer in some way to Julian’s oeuvre. A request my fellow members treated with the circumspection proper to any edict of mine.’
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The Detection Collection
Simon Brett explained, in his introduction to this short story collection of 2005, that it was ‘published arguably to celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the founding of the Detection Club. I use the word “arguably”, not because the occasion does not qualify for celebration, but because there is argument about the precise date of the Club’s inauguration.’ He included in the book a short history of the Club to explain its origins and activities.
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The Verdict of Us All
This collection of new stories from the Detection Club was edited by Peter Lovesey and published in 2006. Like the earlier tribute to Julian Symons, this volume was designed to honour the 80th birthday of Symons’s successor as President of the Detection Club, H.R.F. Keating.
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