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The Floating Admiral

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  4,838 ratings  ·  296 reviews
Inspector Rudge does not encounter many cases of murder in the sleepy seaside town of Whynmouth. But when an old sailor lands a rowing boat containing a fresh corpse with a stab wound to the chest, the Inspector's investigation immediately comes up against several obstacles. The vicar, whose boat the body was found in, is clearly withholding information, and the victim's n ...more
Paperback, 309 pages
Published January 1st 1993 by Jove (first published December 1931)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  4,838 ratings  ·  296 reviews

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Apr 04, 2013 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
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂

The Detection Club must have been the coolest club around.

A group of highly successful mystery writers getting together sharing their love of mysteries & detective fiction over regular dinners in London.

The idea of a group of the members each writing a chapter to a murder mystery was intriguing - & with writers as skilled as Agatha Christie & Dorothy L. Sayers involved - what could go wrong?

Unfortunately quite a bit.

After G.K. Chesterton's introduction (which I have already forgotten) V
Vikas Singh
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book
What a brilliant idea. Ten different Eleven authors including Agatha Christie, all members of the detection club come together to write a prologue and one chapter each of the plot. The story line flows seamlessly from the writings of one author to the other. Several of them including Christie provide their own solution to the murder. Must read for the sheer brilliance of the idea.
Jan 26, 2012 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
May 11, 2015 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
Nov 05, 2015 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
Mar 04, 2013 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 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 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
April 7, 2020: I was pleasantly surprised by this one. It definitely has a more complicated yet satisfactory closure to the mystery. Twelve different detective writers penning twelve different chapters had me sceptical when I picked it up but everyone does a really good job! Except for a a chapter or two that was stretched far too long. The appendix where every author recounts their initial ideas of who the murderer would be was an excellent addition. Loved reading it as part of the Classic N Ch ...more
Dec 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: precinct-81
The idea to write with several writers a story, each following the former one is great. I enjoyed also recoginizing the specifics, especially of the well known authors.
Sadly, in the great idea, there is also weakness. The different parts are very uneven and some are not so good at all. And on a certain level, there is no feeling os a story, but one of lots of small elements.
Admiral Penistone's body is found early one morning floating on the river. He has been stabbed to the heart and is adrift in the Vicar's boat. The previous evening he and his niece dined at the Vicar's, but they had used the Admiral's own boat to cross the river and return home. Why was the body found in the Vicar's boat? And where was he originally killed--for there are no blood stains at all in the bottom of the craft. Inspector Rudge is called in to discover whodunnit and why but runs across ...more
Nov 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: several-authors
Full review available at

The Floating Admiral is a collaborative detective novel written by fourteen members of the Detection Club. Each of the twelve chapters of the story was each written by a different author, leaving G.K. Chesterton to write an incomprehensible prologue and Anthony Berkeley to attempt to tie up all of the loose ends, of which there were many, at the conclusion of the book. In addition to all of this, each of the authors provided their own
Apr 10, 2012 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 18, 2012 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.
The Floating Admiral is a detective novel written in 1931 by everybody. OK, not everybody, but at lot of people, fourteen of them. They were all members of the Detection Club, before I write about the book, of course I have to write about the club. I have been looking for this book a long time because it sounded so interesting, the idea anyway. On to the club.

The Detection Club was formed in 1930 by a group of British mystery writers, including Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ronald Knox, Fr
Locus Amoenus
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a hard book to review, because its very nature means that it will have certain unavoidable imperfections. By passing the manuscript around to have chapters added instead of collaborating on a complete piece, it's impossible to predict where the plot will go.

Of course, that also makes it incredibly fun, and I could feel that gleeful joy when I read certain chapters where an author had thrown themselves all in with the game, and often tried to trip up whoever was to follow!

The only issues
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This novel tends to prove that having a lot of famous authors doesn't necessarily make for a better novel.

As the novel develops, each author adds various plot elements such as "discoveries", new characters, and red herrings, so that by the last chapter the stage is very cluttered indeed. It was Anthony Berkeley's job to pull it all together at the end and to "make sense of the mess". The reader isn't really given a lot of help in deciding which things to eliminate from consideration and by the e
Feb 11, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This was a surprising amount of fun, and it's no surprise to me that my initial guess at the solution best matched the one Agatha Christie came up with writing her chapter. In case you've never heard of these before, this is one of several books co-written by the Detection Club, a group made up of Golden Age mystery authors, with each writing a single chapter. All of the authors had to have a solution in mind while writing their chapters (included in an appendix), and no one could ignore what wa ...more
Anna Mussmann
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Various Golden Age mystery writers each composed a chapter of this book. They were all required to build on the previous chapters so as to produce a coherent detective story, and each of them submitted the “solution” they themselves believed to be correct.

Writing this book must have been a fun exercise in puzzle-making. It’s also fairly interesting to read, in part because it allows one to see the bare bones mystery-making-process a little more clearly than in single-author books. However, it’s
Lisa Brantly
Fun. Silly. (Fun watching them destroy each other's clues... Then someone else bending over backwards to make them relevant again) & the solutions! Yep, Agatha Christie's 8 paragraph solution was a hoot. ...more
Mar 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mya
This was very strange book. On the one had, as a crime mystery, it doesn't really work. The plot jumped around a little, and the narrative was clumped together in each chapter. One chapter focused on the tides of the river for example, which had a huge impact on the plot. On the other hand, as a piece of literary fun it is wonderful. Each chapter is written by a different member of the Detection Club, a group of crime writers formed in the 1920s, and this book was published in 1931.

The introduc
An Odd1
Sep 23, 2013 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
What an interesting and fun experiment this must have been for the members of the Detection Club to write a mystery - in full compliance with club rules - where one author built on the previous chapters but without having a collective idea about what the plot should be.

As much as I loved seeing each author bringing their individual style to the project, the overall product left me stranded after a few chapters - by the time Ronald Knox summarised all of the clues the preceding chapters had pres
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Eh. I wanted to like this more than I did. The inspiration is fantastic: a bunch of amazing mystery writers, harangued by real detectives who say it's easy for their fictional counterparts to make connections since everything is laid out for them, decide to present each other with a real mystery. Round robin style, they create a murder, with strict rules for each other. The star power: Agatha Christie! G.K. Chesterton! Dorothy L. Sayers!
Sadly, the mystery itself bored me, and felt a bit circula
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
Saimon (ZanyAnomaly)
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
AWESOME! The story ends with a twisting and exciting finish! I love THE DETECTION CLUB!
They were so talented!

Present authors can never measure up to their talents! Just My Opinion!
Nicole Marie
Mar 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nicole Marie by: Elevetha
Shelves: mystery, i-own
3.5 stars
Apr 18, 2019 rated it liked it
I can't bloody believe this. Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, and G.K Chesterton collaborated on a novel together (with some other writers who were good in their own right, of course) and nobody even knows that the Floating Admiral is a thing that happened. Gosh. I mean, clearly, you can see from the score I gave this book that I'm not a huge fan of it, but I still enjoyed it! Did we really let this part of detective fiction history slip our collective memories? Are we in that sorry of a state ...more
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books where form and the context are more interesting and special than the book itself.

I picked this up because I read The Golden Age of Murder. That book details the lives and careers of the members of the Detection Club in the inter-war period in the UK, during the so-called Golden Age of crime fiction. As a means of raising funds for the club, the members wrote a handful of round-robin mystery novels, each writing a chapter. This is one of those books, with one author per
Feb 16, 2018 rated it liked it
In 1930, a group of 26 detective fiction writers created their own special organization they called The Detection Club, which they used as a support group and a way to challenge each other in their writings. Among its most notable first members were Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, R. Austin Freeman, and the Baroness Emma Orcsy; G.K. Chesterton served as its first president. The group accepted only the best mystery writers and made each swear an oath, likely written by either Dorothy L. Sayer ...more
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Formed c. 1930, the Detection Club is a group of (mostly British) mystery writers who occasionally write collaborative works.

G.K. Chesterton (1930–1936)
E. C. Bentley (1936–1949)
Dorothy L. Sayers (1949–1957)
Agatha Christie (1957–1976)
Lord Gorell (1957–1963)
Julian Symons (1976–1985)
H. R. F. Keating (1985–2000)
Simon Brett (2000–2015)
Martin Edwards (2015–)

Past members include: Anthony Berk

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