The Detection Club was founded in 1930 by a group of leading detective novelists. The prime mover was Anthony Berkeley and founder members included Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie and Freeman Wills Crofts. It is the oldest and most august society of crime writers in the world. Essentially a social and dining organisation, it currently holds three meetings each year. Members are elected by secret ballot and there is an ‘initiation ceremony’ which involves the taking of an oath, the wording of which has varied over the years. Past Presidents of the Club include G.K. Chesterton, E.C. Bentley, Sayers, and Christie. Martin Edwards is the current President, having succeeded Simon Brett in 2015.
The Detection Club celebrated its ninetieth birthday with Howdunit, an award-winning masterclass on crime writing conceived and edited by Martin. Over the years, the Club has been responsible for various noteworthy books, including ’round-robin’ novels, most famously The Floating Admiral (1931), short story anthologies, and even investigations into real-life crimes: The Anatomy of Murder (1936.)
2016 saw, for the first time in the Club’s history, the publication of two new books. The Sinking Admiral is a round-robin novel in the style of those early books, written by present day Club members, including Martin. Motives for Murder, edited by Martin, is a collection of 20 new short stories written by Club members, together with a foreword by Len Deighton and an afterword by Peter Lovesey, published in both UK and US editions.
Martin was elected to membership of the Detection Club in 2008, and three years later he was appointed as the Club’s first archivist. These photographs, kindly supplied by Kate Charles, were taken on the occasion of Kate’s initiation as a member of the Club. They show Martin talking with Simon Brett, and Kate with Eric the Skull.
Martin has contributed introductions to two Harper Collins reissues of Detection Club books from the Thirties, Ask a Policeman, and The Anatomy of Murder.