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Publisher's Summary

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 niece has disappeared. There is clearly more to this case than meets the eye - even the identity of the victim is called into doubt. Inspector Rudge begins to wonder just how many people have contributed to this extraordinary crime and whether he will ever unravel it....

In 1931 Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and 10 other crime writers from the newly formed Detection Club collaborated in publishing a unique crime novel. In a literary game of consequences, each author would write one chapter, leaving G. K. Chesterton to write a typically paradoxical prologue and Anthony Berkeley to tie up all the loose ends. In addition, all of the authors provided their own solutions in sealed envelopes, all of which appeared at the end of the book, with Agatha Christie's ingenious conclusion acknowledged at the time to be 'enough to make the book worth buying on its own'. The authors of this novel are 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, Clemence Dane and Anthony Berkeley.

©1931, 2011 The Detection Club (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"The plotting is ingenious, the pace sustained, the solution satisfying." ( The New York Times Book Review)
"Amazingly, the story steers along very well despite so many different hands at the tiller. Christie's solution is typically ingenious." (Mark Campbell, The Pocket Essential Agatha Christie)
"These members of the Detection Club collaborate with skill in a piece of detection rather more tight-knit than one had a right to expect. There is enough to amuse and to stimulate detection; and the Introduction by Dorothy Sayers and supplements by critics and solvers give an insight into the writers' thoughts and modes of work." (Jacques Barzun and Wendell Hertig Taylor, A Catalogue of Crime)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mariana
  • Walterboro, SC, USA
  • 07-27-17

great concept. great puzzle mystery

An unusual book. each chapter is written by a different famous mystery writer. i was afraid the story would be disjointed wi th different writing styles but its very smooth. at the end authors give thier own different solution based on their chapter and the preceding chapters. what i found interesting were the similarities between the solutions.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Excruciatingly tiresome!

While the narrator did a superb job and the idea for this book was no doubt brilliant, in reality, it is tedious enough to bring tears to the listener. Each section is apparently written by one of the famous authors but the stream of consciousness which goes over, and over, and over, and over, each of the facts is unlike any of the works I have read by these authors. A major disappointment. It works well to put me to sleep at night but for entertainment, it doesn't fit the bill.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • SP
  • 03-18-18

Surprisingly Awful

Would you try another book from the authors and/or David Timson?

I have and would listen to other books by some of these authors but this book was just a mess.

Any additional comments?

The premise (which is explained in the preface) of this book was for several authors of this genre to write a book together in a sort of chain. Where they each add to the story and follow some basic rules and no one knows how it will turn out. .. sounds like a fun idea but the end product left much to be desired.

There was almost no character development and very little actual story. Each chapter was written by a different author and it was completely obvious. Instead of a smoothly developing and interesting plot, it felt like each author kept rehashing what the first two or three chapters/authors created and added a very few minor details just so the book wouldn’t end. It ended up dragging and utterly uninteresting to me. I did not finish this book after being at or close to halfway through.

It’s ashame this didn’t work for me as I was excited about all these fabulous authors collaborating. But as a friend of mine likes to say “a jackass is a horse designed by a committee.” This book felt like that.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun & intriguing

A great concept, an enjoyabke book and well produced and read, but I but prefer Wimsey and Father Brown

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

did not enjoy

This was confusing and difficult to follow, not enjoyable, would not recommend to a fellow reader :(

3 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sheryl Mason
  • 02-26-17

Tightly crafted mystery

Unless you are a reincarnation of Agatha Christie, I doubt you will find the answer to this puzzle. Even then, it could be difficult.

The Detection Club got together and wrote this book, each author contributing a chapter and, in some cases, a sealed solution for when the book was finished.

Considering it is written by a lot of authors with usually very varied styles, they manage to create a book that flows nicely, although I did start to get tired of all the red herrings and odd clues that kept turning up. I did honestly try to solve this but it was beyond my capabilities. A lot of fun though!

By the end I was totally confused as to whodunit but Anthony Berkeley does a very credible job of stitching the whole thing together with some degree of believability.

Full marks to all the authors and full marks to the narrator, who did a very good job on this book.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Ginger
  • 07-31-17

Who did it?

Very interesting. Fascinating to read each chapter written by a different detective writer. I did not expect the ending.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Miss Julie E. Ellis
  • 04-15-17

great crime

the detection club strikes again, the greatest writers of a truly unique club. more please

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-26-18

inconsistent, very mixed styles from the different

Inconsistent, very mixed styles from the different authors. confusing plot. Good effort from the narrator!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Elaine
  • 01-15-18

Too Many Authors Spoil the Book

What would have made The Floating Admiral better?

Consistency is a real problem with this book.

What will your next listen be?

Not sure

What three words best describe David Timson’s voice?

Good not great

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment

Any additional comments?

Don't bother with this book.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • linda
  • 04-23-17

it was awful

What disappointed you about The Floating Admiral?

It was awful. You could tell it was written by different authors. Each chapter was like a new book but not in a good way. I didn't get a feel for the caractures or plot. Hated it. So long and drawn out. Tedious is the word for it.
..

Would you ever listen to anything by the authors again?

Nop

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Ok

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Utter disappointment

Any additional comments?

No

1 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-20-18

Too confusing

Rambling and long winded .. didn't bother with the alternate endings by each author .. a product of it's time.