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The Floating Admiral

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  2,625 ratings  ·  107 reviews
A collaborative detective novel written by fourteen members of the Detection Club. Each author contributed one chapter without knowing the solution planned by any of the previous contributors.

Contents: Introduction / Dorothy L. Sayers — “The three pipe dreams” / G. K. Chesterton — Corpse ahoy! / Canon Victor L. Whitechurch — Breaking the news / G. D. H. and M. Cole — Brigh
Mass Market Paperback, 309 pages
Published April 1980 by Charter Books (first published 1931)
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When I was in high school, I was part of a little group of friends who all wanted to be writers. In my sophomore year, we started an informal writing exercise, called The Notebook Game. Basically it would go like this: someone would start writing a story in a notebook (maybe three pages, just to set up the scene and some of the characters), and then give the notebook to someone else, who would continue the story. They would pass it to the next person, and on and on, with the notebook traveling a ...more

I really did want to like this book a lot. First published in 1931, the premise of the novel is ingenious. Each chapter was written by a different member of the Detection Club, an association of British crime fiction writers. As Dorothy L Sayers explains in the introduction, the idea was that each writer tackled the mystery presented in the preceding chapters without knowing what solution the previous authors had in mind. The authors followed two rules: they had to construct their installment wi
This was a super fun read, not really so much for the sake of the story itself (which was good though not excellent), but because of how much I love the idea of a serially-written story collaborated on by good friends (some of whom happen to be among my best-loved fiction authors). It was so fascinating to see the different ways in which the various writers interpreted the clues, and the surprising twists and turns that the story took. Chesterton, Sayers, and Christie were definitely the most sk ...more
Members of "The Detection Club" (Dorothy L. Sayers, G.K. Chesterton, Canon Victor L. Whitechurch, G.D.H. and M. Cole, Henry Wade, Agatha Christie, John Rhode, Milward Kennedy, Ronald A. Knox, Freeman Wills Crofts, Edgar Jepson, Clemence Dane, Anthony Berkeley) decided to write a mystery novel together, each writing one chapter, and knowing no more about the solution than previous writers had suggested in their own preceding chapters.

I think this must have been lots of fun for the Detection Club,
Sherri Rabinowitz
It is interesting to see how the greatest mystery writers of the 20th century relaxed. It is also very interesting to see each of the different styles and how well they knew each other. If your a fan it is worth it. If you have not read their books it is a good mystery but you lose out on some of the fun.
An ingenious idea for a story with some chapters more unusual than others depending on the authors. I liked how most authors offered their own solutions at the end and am especially fond of Agatha Christie's suggested solution (although I am biased), which shows she had class and imagination.

It was great to see how each author dealt with the difficulties and intricacies paid down by the previous author. I do wonder if any of the authors deliberately created impossible situations to challenge th
Simon Mcleish
A round robin detective novel, with some of the biggest names of the time contributing, including Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers). Quite interesting, but the collaboration method doesn't quite work. Each author contributed a chapter, with the rule that they should also produce a solution to the puzzle to show that they had something in mind. This means that many of the pieces are basically a rush to include pointers to the solution the author had in mind, while also laying down challenges ...more
Shirley Schwartz
This book was a collaborative effort by a number of great Golden Age detective story sleuths. Each of the 12 chapters are written by a different author, and each chapter is built upon the happenings in the preceeding one. The list of authors that contributed to this unique book is as follows: G. K. Chesterton, Canon Victor Whitechurch, G. D. H. Cole and Margaret Cole, Henry Wade, Agatha Christie, John Rhode, Milward Kennedy, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ronald Knox, Freeman Wills Crofts, Edgar Jepson, Cle ...more
The Floating Admiral is the result of a bit of amusement by a number of the leading detective story writers of the early '30s. Agatha Christie, G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy Sayers and others passed-on each succeeding chapter to the writer next on the list in a sort of writing relay without help of either overall outline or goal except that each succeeding chapter must advance the plot without ignoring the details of the preceding chapters. Of course, the final chapter must tie-up all that went befor ...more
Edward Amsden
A splendid mystery novel is made all the more riotous by collaboration. "The Floating Admiral" is replete with irony, twists, turns, in-jokes (about the story itself and mystery fiction as a genre). The jarring transition one might expect with such frequent jumps between authors (each author wrote one chapter, with recourse to the previous chapters) is only evident once or perhaps twice, and though the solution intended by each author is often obvious (look early on for which author intends the ...more
Jules Goud
This is really the first book that I've read like this; every author does a different chapter. Another interesting point is that each author needs to have a solution; their facts can't be random.

Most of the solutions had the same murder and some similar ideas but it was really cool that everyone had a different solution.

I found the ending of the book (pretty much the last paragraph) kind of anti climatic. I thought the solution was well done but the last paragraph didn't fit.

The authors' styles
An interesting idea, each chapter of this murder mystery was written by a different published author of the genre, all known to each other as members of a social club for writers of detective fiction. There was no outline, no plan, the first chapter was written and then passed on to the next author who had to figure out where to go with it for the next chapter. After the resolution, some of the authors have provided what they expected the solution to be at the time they were writing their own ch ...more
Ana CB
Confesso que já andava com algumas saudades de ler um policial clássico, daqueles em que o objectivo do enredo é simplesmente descobrir quem cometeu o crime, como e porquê. E quando vi que um dos autores deste livro era Agatha Christie, ainda fiquei mais curiosa.

Sendo um clássico no conteúdo, na forma como foi escrito este policial já não o é tanto assim. De facto, “Quem Matou o Almirante?” tem nada mais nada menos do que treze autores (catorze, se considerarmos que um deles é o casal G.D.H. Col
Very much a 30s detective writing sampler, offering interesting tastes of authors you may neither have read, nor indeed heard of, since they have fallen out of fashion. Taken chapter by chapter, the book is fine, but the lack of an overarching plan means the author left with the last chapter more or less had to reinterpret the whole book to get a feasible solution.

Em 1931 um grupo de escritores de livros policiais juntou-se e formou The Detection Club. Depressa partiram para a escrita de um livro por estafetas e assim surgiu Quem Matou o Almirante?

Este género de romance por estafetas já não é para mim desconhecido. Comecei com O Código d'Avintes escrito por uma grupo de escritores portugueses (Rosa Lobato de Faria, Mário Zambujal, Luísa Beltrão, Alice Vieira, José Fanha, João Aguiar, José Jorge Letria) e fiquei rendida ao género, de tal forma que li todos
Bruce Gargoyle
When the vicar’s boat is found floating aimlessly down the river, no one expects it to contain the body of the his neighbour, the retired Admiral Penistone, featuring a nasty stab wound. Inspector Rudge is called to take the case and immediately finds himself stymied when the Admiral’s niece and mysterious fiance leave town before they can be adequately questioned. But this isn’t going to be Rudge’s only trouble – with the vicar clearly behaving in a slightly shady fashion, and some very odd sti ...more
Gwen Stacy
I found that this detective book by the Detection Club was rather odd. Odd, but clever I think. I found that the authors were quite brilliant in obscuring the killer. However, I don't think that the killer should have just died in the cell. Good job Detection Club!
Will Fleming
It's a good thing the authors were all masters of their trade: this book never would have held together, otherwise. Each chapter was written by a different member of The Detection Club, with none of them knowing what solution the authors who came before them had in mind. In many ways, this makes the book doubly a puzzle compared to most detective stories.

The result is a pretty good detective story. It's definitely uneven compared to the individual work of any of the authors, but it's still up to
Josee Pepin
Interesting as an "exercice de style" but not as as much as a mystery.
Brian Collyer
I thought the idea of the book was more ingenious than the book itself was. I found it fascinating to read the various authors own view of how they would have taken the story that exists after the final chapter. The book was not bad. I'm sure any of these authors writing an entire book based on the original premise would have written a better book. Surely, Christie would have. Even if her view of the murder was absolutely insane (cross-dressing!) and would have made for a shocking ending if she ...more
Two and a half stars from me.
This was a decent read. I just found it kind of tough to get through at times. I don't know if it was because I knew each chapter was penned by a different author from the Detection Club that made me think so, but I think I would have liked it better if only one author had written it. Or maybe if I'd thought only one had? We'll never know.
Also, the ending was a bit of a let down, like the final author really was just "clearing the mess" up.
The solutions offered by t
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3,5 stelline
"La Strana morte dell'Ammiraglio" è un libro scritto da quello che allora era il neonato Detention Club, un club dei più grandi scrittori di romanzi gialli, e di cui facevano parte grandi nomi quali Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers e Anthony Berkeley.
A questo libro hanno preso parte ben 13 autori, scrivendo ognuno un capitolo ed una possibile conclusione legata ai fatti accaduti fin dove erano arrivati loro (atti a
An Odd1
A game is better for the players. Every author that adds a chapter adds avalanche of people, problems, complications, until a resolution is impossible. First author Whitechurch presents Inspector Rudge with dead Admiral Penistone in the vicar's boat with the vicar's hat, but offers no final solution.

Knife is missing from back wound. Heir, niece Miss Elma Fitzgerald is "ugly .. sulky ..big .. broad" hair dark, coarse, eyes dark-pouched, closed p 30. Is she a man in disguise? She immediately marr
Rick Davis
A while back, I made a list of my top five favorite fictional detectives. Four of the five on my list were Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, Dorothy Sayers’s Lord Peter Wimsey, and G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown. Now, zooming off to fanboy land, imagine what it would be like if Christie, Sayers, and Chesterton called up some of their detective writer friends and said, “Hey, let’s all write a book together. Because we’re so awesome!”
I give you, The Floating Admiral. I’m not sure w
The Detection Club is a celebrated group of British mystery writers, formed in 1930 during the so-called ‘Golden Age’. In 1931, 14 members of the club – including Christie, G.K. Chesterton, Canon Victor Whitechurch and Dorothy L. Sayers – wrote this collaborative experiment. Each of the fourteen chapters was written by one of them, after which a suggested solution was sealed in an envelope, and the book was passed on to the next author for the next chapter. It’s far from perfect, but "The Floati ...more
Nathanael Smith
My good friend Rand found this book and left it with me when he went to New York. It's a joint effort by Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, GK Chesterton and a bunch of other people that you've never heard of who are part of "The Detection Club." My first question obviously is, how the heck do I get to be a part of that club? But in all seriousness I enjoyed the book. Especially seeing as how each chapter is by a different author I think they pulled it off well. There are some points where you can ...more
I thought this book was brilliant, it's fascinating to see how each author left the end of their chapter on a shock or revelation that the next writer would have to deal with. I loved seeing which clues and points each author picked up from the person before them and how they developed the plot and characters very skillfully so that each chapter is fun in itself, but that it still hangs together well as a whole book. I wish they had written loads more like this!
The writing of this book was really a kind of game between the 12 authors all contributing a chapter to a mystery where none of them knew what the others' had intended for a solution - but to stop them making it too difficult for the next one, they each had to work out and write down their own solution separately and these are printed at the end of the book. It's clever but the open chapter (by a writer unknown today) is not very engaging and the plot has a tendency to go around in circles as it ...more
Bought this for Agatha Christie's story and like any other multiple authors story collection, this book is a mixed bag.

It started off really well, to be honest. The first few chapters set up a good background, promising a good mystery story. However, it started going downhill from there. By Chapter 7 I was struggling. After that I just read without really having any interest on solving the mystery.

I suppose it is expected. Different writers have different way of thinking and different writing s
It's a fascinating concept: the worlds greatest detective writers collaborate on one novel, each writing a single chapter and promising to deal faithfully with all the difficulties left for their consideration by their predecessors. In this sense The Floating Admiral is a success. It flows with a beautiful fluency to the extent that a reader unaware of the multi-author situation could never guess that each chapter was concocted by an entirely different person. As a story, however, the plot line ...more
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The 1931 newly formed Detection Club members wrote one chapter each, one the prologue, and another a close for The Floating Admiral, and all devised solutions included in final publication. Authors then: Anthony Berkeley, G.K. Chesterton, Agatha Christie, G.D.H. Cole, Margaret Cole, Freeman Wills Croft, Clemence Dane , Edgar Jepson, Milward Kennedy, Ronald Knox, John Rhode, Dorothy L. Sayers, Henr ...more
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