The Floating Admiral

The Floating Admiral, probably the most celebrated ‘round-robin’ novel by multiple contributors, was first published in 1932. In her Introduction, Dorothy L. Sayers explained the conditions under which the book was written:

‘Here, the problem was made to approach as closely as possible to a problem of real detection. Except in the case of Mr. Chestertons’s picturesque Prologue, which was written last, each contributor tackled the mystery presented to him in the precedeing chapers without having slightest idea what solution or solutions the previous authors had in mind. Tow rules only were imposed. Each writer must construct his instalment with a definite solution in view: that is, he must not introduce new complications merely ‘to make it more difficult’….Secondly, each writer was bound to deal faithfully with all the difficulties or his consideration by his predecessors.’

The story was written by Canon Victor L. Whitechurch, G.D.H. and M. Cole, Henry Wade, Agatha Christie, John Rhode, Milward Kennedy, Dorothy L.Sayers, Ronald A. Knoz, Freeman Wills Crofts, Edgar Jepson, Clemence Dane, and Anthony Berkeley. Berkeley’s lengthy concluding chapter was appropriately titled ‘Clearing Up The Mess’.

An appendix contained the solutions proffered by the earlier contributors (apart from the authors of the first two chapters), while another appendix include notes on the mooring of the boat by John Rhode. ‘Counsel’s Opinion on Fitzgerald’s Will’ was also included.