- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; 80th UK ed. edition (30 Aug. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007468628
- ISBN-13: 978-0007468621
- Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 3.1 x 19 cm
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 863,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Ask a Policeman Hardcover – 30 Aug 2012
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‘One of the most original – and entertaining – mysteries I have ever read… A brilliant tour de force that the most jaded fans will relish.’ R. A. J. Walters
‘A reminder of the genial heyday of the genre when the KGB other ingredients of the esurient modern thriller were barely a gleam in Stalin’s eye.’ Christopher Wordsworth, The Observer
‘A must for all connoisseurs of detective fiction.’ James Harris, Literary Review
‘This year’s most welcome reissue.’ Francis Goff, Sunday Telegraph
‘A book of irresistible charm for students of the detective story.’ Ruth Dudley Edwards, Times Literary Supplement
About the Author
“The Detection Club is a private association of writers of detective fiction in Great Britain, existing chiefly for the purpose of eating dinners together at suitable intervals and of talking illimitable shop … Its membership is confined to those who have written genuine detective stories (not adventure tales or ‘thrillers’) and election is secured by a vote of the club on recommendation by two or more members, and involves the undertaking of an oath.” Dorothy L. Sayers
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John Rhode describes the initial crime and Helen Simpson, Gladys Mitchell, Dorothy L Sayers and Anthony Berkeley each propose a solution using each other's detective characters. Milward Kennedy wraps it all up with yet another solution. In each version new facts are revealed as well as new red herrings.
In other hands this could have been an unfortunate mish-mash but these writers were masters of their craft and the result is entertaining and intriguing and has stood the test of time extremely well in my opinion. It is good to see these entertaining books in print again and they are perfect reading for anyone who loves the Golden Age of Crime as well as being a good introduction for anyone who hasn't read any books by these authors before.
Mrs Bradley's caper is written by Helen Simpson, whilst Anthony Berkeley writes for Lord Peter Wimsey. Mitchell and Sayers write for detectives lesser known these days, Sir John Saumarez and Roger Sheringham respectively. It is most interesting to read these, as the spirit and feel of the detectives is captured by these other authors, yet they imbue their own personality and writing style. The Mrs Bradley chapter could be written by the great Gladys, whilst the Mitchell-penned chapter is clearly her work. It's lots of fun to read these mis-matched author-detective associations, as they are interestingly different but never seem jarring or inappropriate.
Agatha Christie has top billing on the dustjacket, which is rather misleading. She did not contribute to the original book, her appearance here is a previously unpublished essay on crime fiction writers. It was written some years after this book and for a different purpose, but is interesting and candid, and something AC completists will want besides the great enjoyment from the rest of this book.
A classic golden age tale, with lots of detail to pour over to piece the mystery together.
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