If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.


Friday, August 26, 2016

More from the Detection Club by Warren Bull

More from the Detection Club by Warren Bull

Double Death published in 1939 was a product of Dorothy L. Sayers, Freeman Wills Croft, Valentine Williams, F. Tennyson Jesse, Anthony Armstrong and David Hume. John Chancellor supervised and wrote a preface and a prologue to the book.

The idea for the book came from a newspaper editor who thought it would be a good idea to create a mystery in which each chapter would be written by a different author. The authors above concurred and each independently produced a chapter. In addition, each writer wrote a note outlining his or her ideas to assist the authors who followed. Although the authors did not know the notes would be included, when John Chancellor asked to include them at the end of each chapter, the writers consented.

The mystery was interesting. I thought the characters changed considerably from chapter to chapter. As you might expect, a character seen as virtuous by one writer might embody evil in the eyes of another writer.

For me, the notes were the most interesting part of the book. They offer a view into what the authors planned in their writing. It will come as no surprise that Dorothy L. Sayers set the enterprise on a solid base in the first chapter. She left the options wide open for later writers. Interestingly authors identified different characters as set up by earlier authors to be the murderer. Just about every character was proposed to play the part of the murderer.

I recommend this as a way to take a look at the thinking and plotting of experienced mystery writers.

Verdict of 13, published by the detection club forty years after Double Death, had an entirely different list of authors.  H.R.F. Keating, Patricia Highsmith, Christianna Brand, Michael Underwood, Gwendoline Brand, Michael Gilbert, Peter Dickinson, Michael Innes, Celia Fremlin, Julian Symons, Ngaio Marsh, Dick Francis and P.D. James contributed never-before-published short stories for the book. Verdict of 13 is an anthology, which includes stories of detective puzzles and thrillers; a comic tale and a horrific one; realistic yarns and absolute fantasies. What unites the entries is that all of them, one way or another include some kind of a jury. It may be far from the traditional idea of a jury, but it is nonetheless an identifiable as such.

The concept is not as original as the idea for Double Death but I recommend this book highly because the writing is stellar. I am glad the Detection Club is still going strong.


E. B. Davis said...

Lisa Lutz co-wrote a book with another author. It was less a collaboration and more of a conflict. Each wrote every other chapter, but instead of making it seamless, they wrote what they wanted to write with depreciating comments about the other so although the mystery was solved, it became the lesser plot in the book. At the time, I thought it was an original idea, but I now realize I was wrong. The book was a twist on the Detection Club, and although interesting, the book was a neurotic read.

These books sound like intellectual equals applying their talents to a collective good, making for an interesting mystey, but since you make note of the changes in characters, was it a good read or was it a great study in plotting?

Grace Topping said...

Thanks, again, Warren, for introducing us to some classic detective fiction. You must have quite a collection of old books or a terrific used book store near you. I don't even think the local libraries carry many of those old treasures.

Kait said...

I remember reading this as a child. What a wonderful book it was.

Margaret Turkevich said...

Both books look interesting, especially the author's notes in the first one.

Shari Randall said...

How did you find this one, Warren? I checked worldcat.org and it is not in many libraries. Was it a used book shop find?

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, this sounds like another interesting book, both of them, in fact. Are they available through Amazon, or out of print.

KM Rockwood said...

I've heard of this concept before, although I've never been tempted to try it myself. What a great collection of authors to do it, though.

People who are interested in books like this should check with their local public library for interlibrary loan. I looked up Double Death in the Pennsylvania database, and there are several copies available (free) for loan to anyone who holds a PA library card & has opted into the system (all free) One is even large print.

It is presently out of print, but that doesn't mean there are no offerings on Amazon. Several copies are listed for sale in Amazon, although sometimes people will list things they don't actually own and then go looking for it, so you can't be sure they will be able to send it.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

I normally am a solitary writer. However, two of my novels were written as collaborations. In the first, WHERE IS ROBERT? I collaborated with my then teenage son Daniel and we wrote a YA mystery based on a story given to us by my older teenage son, Andrew. It was published while they were still in their teens.

The second collaboration is more recent. Andrew and I collaborated on a mystery entitled THE THIRD EYE set in the Pine Barrens of NJ, a very unique area. We alternate chapters with two narrators, one a teenage boy who tells the story first person, the second, his mother, an emotionally troubled woman. Five Star/Cengage published it in their mystery series in 2013. Collaborative work can have exciting results.

Carla Damron said...

The notes sound very interesting. Will have to check this out!

Susan Oleksiw said...

I read the book years ago, but the paperback version I had didn't include the notes. Those sound fascinating, and I'm sorry I missed them. You've inspired to dig around to see if I can find my old copy.