Allow me to recommend a book that I've never actually read...
It's called The Floating Admiral
, and it was written in 1931 by "members of the Detection Club" (comprising such people as GK Chesterton, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy L Sayers, among others).
It is an excellent book in every respect. (As far as I can tell - since, you know, I haven't actually read the thing yet.)
But anyway, it works like this:
- Detector 1 writes the first chapter of a murder mystery, sprinkling clues liberally around the crime scene. He also
writes down his solution to the mystery that explains everything perfectly
, and puts it in a sealed envelope.
- The first chapter (and the sealed envelope) are then passed to Detector 2. She reads the chapter, figures out what clearly
happened, and writes the second chapter - along with a sealed envelope containing her solution to the whole thing.
- Those two chapters go to Detector 3, who starts writing the next bit...
According to their rules, every single writer has to have a clear explanation for the mystery in mind, and have everything they
write fit with it. And everyone has to take into account every single clue planted by the earlier writers as well.
WHAT A FUN GAME. AND THERE'S A WHOLE BOOK FROM IT.
As Dorothy L Sayers says in the introduction:
Where one writer may have laid down a clue, thinking that it could point only in one obvious direction, succeeding writers have managed to make it point in a direction exactly opposite. ... We are only too much accustomed to let the great detective say airily: "Cannot you see, my dear Watson, that these facts admit of only one interpretation?" After our experience in the matter of The Floating Admiral, our great detectives may have to learn to express themselves more guardedly...
Speaking for myself, I may say that the helpless bewilderment into which I was plunged on receipt of Mr. Milward Kennedy's little bunch of brain-teasers was, apparently, fully equalled by the hideous sensation of bafflement which overcame Father Ronald Knox when, having, as I fondly imagined, cleared up much that was obscure, I handed the problem on to him.
Doesn't it sound brilliant
? So very interesting, and YOU SHOULD ALL GO AND READ IT. EVEN THOUGH I HAVEN'T YET.
Reading of strange murder mysteries scheduled for this weekend, during which I expect to squeal with delight at least six times...