Eleven new stories by British luminaries mostly failing to do what they do best.
You couldn’t ask for a more star-studded roster than the members of London’s famed Detection Club, whose murky 75-year history editor Brett (The Penultimate Chance Saloon, 2006, etc.) reviews in an appropriately elliptical afterword. Fans should be warned, however, that most of the stories are also elliptical to the point of incompleteness. P.D. James’s tart anecdote of revenge against a childhood tormenter ends with a whimper, and H.R.F. Keating’s story of a telltale toothbrush ends with an ill-advised deus ex machina. Colin Dexter and Clare Francis use unusually inventive ways to tell stories that aren’t all that inventive themselves. Michael Ridpath’s story of a role-playing business weekend turned homicidal is neat but predictable. Margaret Yorke and Robert Goddard offer professional twisters without enough twists. John Harvey supplies some agreeably smoky atmosphere for Charlie Resnick; Robert Barnard an intriguing sidelight on the public life of Henrik Ibsen; and Lindsey Davis’s contemporary Italian idyll is a welcome change from her usual tales of Imperial Rome—but none of them provides a strong story. Only Reginald Hill puts the whole package together in the final tale, a case for Dalziel without Pascoe that begins with a confession and ends with an accusation.
Proceeds, as usual with Detection Club publications, go to support the Club—the best reason to spend your money on this one.