Monday, 23 February 2015

The Detection Collection

The Detection Collection is the latest book produced under the aegis of the Detection Club to be reissued by Harper Collins. It's a splendid anthology of short stories that was first published in 2005, under the editorship of Simon Brett, President of the Detection Club. And the list of contributors reads like a roll call of leading British crime writers.

Although I've written a couple of intros for earlier books in the series, Ask a Policeman and The Anatomy of Murder, I didn't have any involvement with this one, and the first thing to say is that Simon did a terrific job. His intro updates the foreword he wrote when the book first appeared, in 2005, and he explains that the book was put together to mark the 75th anniversary of the Club's foundation. At the time he first wrote the intro, there was some debate as to whether the Club did indeed come into existence in 1930, but I'm sure it did, and that the anniversary date was correctly calculated.

Simon mentions that sadly, four of the contributors, Margaret Yorke, Reg Hill, Bob Barnard and Harry Keating are no longer with us, (and even more recently, the great P.D. James has also died) but as he says, "they do live on through the quality of their work." I count it as a real privilege to have dined with all of them at Detection Club meetings, as well as on a few other memorable occasions, and I can only add that they were all as companionable and gracious in person as they were gifted. Simon also contributes a concise history of the Club, which appears at the end of the book.

In addition to the luminaries I've already mentioned, Colin Dexter, Lindsey Davis and John Harvey are among the contributors. Three writers who do not very often write short stories, Robert Goddard, Michael Ridpath and Clare Francis, also feature. As you would expect with writers of such calibre, their work stands the test of time. Ten years on, the stories read very well. I'm a fan of short stories, and enjoy collections of them, in any event, but even if anthologies aren't your usual cup of tea, I think you will find plenty in this book to entertain you..


Jamie Sherwin said...

Hi Martin,

Glad to see The Detection Collection will be republished in April, I've just ordered my copy.

Do you know if Behind The Screen and The Scoop will be republished any time soon? If it is perhaps titles could be invented for the untitled episodes.

Enjoy reading your blog, keep up the good work.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Jamie. I'd love to see those two titles back in print, but I gather the rights situation is rather complex, so I'm not sure what will happen. They are both interesting, and there's plenty of discussion of them in The Golden Age of Murder.