ffb: The Floating Admiral

this is the 119th in my series of posts on forgotten or seldom read books

The Floating Admiral by the members of the Detection Club, Charter Books mass paperback, 1980

floating admiral coverThe famous Detection Club created this and several other books both as an exercise among themselves and to raise funds. The formula goes like this: the first two authors set the scene and the initial crime, then in turn each following author writes a chapter advancing the story using their idea of what a solution to the novel would be (each author’s solution is printed at the back of the book). Of course the solution one author writes toward gets changed by the next author’s ideas, and so on.

It’s no surprise that a mash-up like this results in a pretty average story, but the process kept me reading. I was interested to see how each author took the previous chapter’s concluding fact or twist and worked it into their own story line.

As the later chapters are reached there are less and less opportunities to change the course of events and it soon becomes clear that one of two or three characters must be the murderer of the Admiral found floating in a rowing boat.

I’d consider this one to be an interesting change of pace.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The rest of the Friday Forgotten Book posts
can be found at Patti Abbott’s fine blog Pattinase

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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15 Responses to ffb: The Floating Admiral

  1. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I must admit I never found those “one chapter per author” mashups very interesting, though occasionally one author’s work can stand out and make you want to read more. I had this one year’s ago but got rid of it

  2. Like Jeff, I’m not a fan of these cooperative books. I have a copy of THE FLOATING ADMIRAL but haven’t gotten around to reading it. I recall Donald Westlake’s comment about writing a novel in collaboration with another writer: “It was twice the work and half the fun.”

  3. Art Scott says:

    I’ve had a notion about rereading this (read decades ago, remember nothing), but think I’ll try Ask a Policeman first, also a Detection Club product.

  4. Richard says:

    Jeff, as I said, this wasn’t an exceptional reading experience, and not a book I’d reread.

  5. Richard says:

    George, this one bears out your opinion about multiple author books, though the SF books by James S. A. Corey (pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) are quite good, showing there can be exceptions.

  6. Richard says:

    Art, perhaps the reason you remember so little or nothing of this is it’s blandness. Try the other one.

  7. I have had this one on the shelf, unread, for probably the best part of 3 decades – really enjoyed the review Richard so maybe, just maybe, this will tip the scales!

  8. Richard says:

    Sergio, it probably deserves to stay on the shelf, but you may, as I did, enjoy following the process.

  9. cgramlich says:

    I’ve seen these kinds of round robins. most of the time the story just doesn’t work out terribly well for me.

  10. Evan Lewis says:

    Took part in a western free-for-all a couple of years ago. Started well but pretty much went off the rails. A couple of mystery attempts had even less success. Someone needed to be in charge.

  11. Richard says:

    Charles, have you ever co-written or team-written anything?

  12. Kelly says:

    As to George’s comment: “It was twice the work and half the fun” — I’ve heard it said that collaboration is twice the work and half the PAY. Either way, not my idea of a good time.

  13. Richard says:

    Kelly, I suspect you’re both right.

  14. Richard says:

    Evan, that must have been no fun. Too bad.

  15. Pingback: Classic crime in the blogosphere, September 2013 | Past Offences

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