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The Floating Admiral

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,349 Ratings  ·  132 Reviews
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.
Paperback, 309 pages
Published January 1st 1993 by Jove (first published 1931)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 04, 2013 Madeline rated it it was ok
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
Feb 09, 2012 Kim rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction

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
Nov 28, 2015 Suzannah rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I thought The Detection Club was the best thing ever when I first heard of it--a club of Golden Age mystery authors that included Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers? with GK Chesterton himself as the president? but I had never heard of The Floating Admiral, which was a simply terrific idea: a detective novel written round-robin style by the entire Club, each member in turn being required to provide the next chapter of the story along with a sealed solution explaining the solution to the whole my ...more
May 11, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simon Brett has written the foreward for this ingenious novel, as the President of the Detection Club in 2001, when the book was re-printed. The origins of the club are as shrouded in mystery as the members own work, although it was probably founded in 1928. As Brett points out, crime fiction has changed a lot since the days of Golden Age mysteries. A lot of books written in that time were, in a way, puzzles - with clues you could (supposedly) work out, and a great sense of fun. They were an int ...more
Aug 13, 2013 Ellen rated it really liked it
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
Apr 14, 2012 Dorothea rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery
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,
Apr 10, 2012 Gina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sherri Rabinowitz
Dec 21, 2012 Sherri Rabinowitz rated it really liked it
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.
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
Feb 11, 2015 E rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Detection Club was a group of interwar writers of British detective fiction. You will recognize the names Christie, Sayers, and Chesterton, and perhaps Wade and Dane. The others are less well-known. The conceit of this book is novel, pardon the pun--each club member writes a subsequent chapter of the novel. They have not collaborated beforehand. They do not know who the murderer is. All they have are the plot and clues laid before them in the previous chapters. It is their job to advance the ...more
Nicole Marie
Jul 04, 2016 Nicole Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nicole Marie by: Elevetha
Shelves: mystery, i-own
3.5 stars
An Odd1
Oct 10, 2013 An Odd1 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Shirley Schwartz
Sep 07, 2013 Shirley Schwartz rated it liked it
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
Jun 02, 2015 Ann rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Too many cooks can spoil the broth, and too many mystery writers can come up with so many clues that The Floating Admiral turned into a convoluted maze that took me on such a meandering path that by the end I didn't even care whodunnit.

The most entertaining thing was the appendix where each author suggested outcomes based upon their chapters.

A contributing writer of progressive stories, I wanted to see how the pros do it, but the result left me flat.
Nov 15, 2012 David rated it really liked it
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
Sep 04, 2013 Edward Amsden rated it really liked it
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
N.N. Light
In 1931 a group of 12 mystery writers including Agatha Christie came together and published this book. They called themselves The Detection Club and each of them was responsible for writing a chapter and also the conclusion in a sealed envelope. It was a hit in the 30’s and they re-released it 80 years later. I love Agatha Christie and thought this would be a brilliant book. Boy was I disappointed! It was disjointed, not very well written and the characters weren’t believable. I would NOT recomm ...more
Rog Harrison
Mar 30, 2016 Rog Harrison rated it it was ok
I thought I may have read this before as I seem to recall having read a collaboration such as this thirty or so years ago but if I had I certainly did not remember it. This was first published in 1931 and twelve authors each wrote a chapter leaving the later authors to provide a solution to what was going on. In addition having read the novel another author wrote a prologue. There is also an appendix where the authors apart from the authors of the first two chapters and the prologue outlined how ...more
Alison C
Mar 13, 2015 Alison C rated it liked it
The Floating Admiral is an early (1932) collaborative novel written by a number of different authors, each contributing a chapter to the story and a suggested solution to the crime. A corpse is unexpectedly found in the bottom of a floating rowing boat on a tidal river in a sleepy seaside town, and Inspector Rudge is assigned to investigate. The body turns out to be that of a retired Admiral who has only recently moved to the area, but there seem to be a remarkable number of potential suspects d ...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
Feb 15, 2014 Robyn rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
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
Julian White
This was an interesting, though not entirely satisfying, read. Perhaps it was so many authors giving each successive chapter their own twist but towards the end I was starting to agree with the penultimate writer who noted in his solution that 'I am, frankly, in a complete muddle as to what has happened, and have tried to write a chapter that anyone can use to prove anything they like.' It is an admirable fact that the final chapter does indeed tie all the loose ends and provide a solution that ...more
Ana CB
Aug 26, 2014 Ana CB rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 15, 2012 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Jul 14, 2014 Maria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, leituras-2014
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
Christopher Huang
Jan 22, 2016 Christopher Huang rated it it was amazing
What really sets this book apart is its conceit, that different authors should contribute different chapters, improvising on the ones before, but without prior consultation. The authors were required to write down their own ideas as to what happened, to safeguard against someone throwing in random rubbish just to mess with the next guy; these thoughts are included in the appendix, and some of them are nearly as fascinating as the story itself. (Dorothy Sayers' assessment of one character's invol ...more
Jan 05, 2016 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I love Dorothy Sayers. I’m fond of G.K. Chesterton and Agatha Christie. This game (they were wise not to call it a story), unfortunately, mixed up their talents (and those of several authors I’m less familiar with) in a way that did justice to none of them.

The puzzle they set for each other hared off in so many directions, it was impossible for even the great fiction writers represented here to stick to a recognizable narrative arc. Neither did the characters always seem to be the same people fr
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
Nov 17, 2012 depletive rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: agatha-christie
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!
Lucy Barnhouse
I was afraid that this would be merely gimmicky, or (on the too many cooks principle) incoherent; I was pleasantly surprised. I found this to be an enjoyable whodunit, liberally strewn with red herrings and mysterious motives. The multiple authorial intents did tend to make the writing expository rather than exploratory... thus foiling one of my own habits as a reader of detective stories, which is to try to form my own judgments of the characters and motives involved. I was surprised, to be hon ...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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