so much fun. so much FUN! where do I start...hmmm, okay:
I love the set-up, the structure--John Rhode does the opening section, establishing all the pertinent details of a bizarre country-house murder...and then, since the police had one of their own at the place of death within the time-frame of the slaying, meaning he's either the killer or at least guilty of letting a murder take place under his nose (the victim is a newspaper magnate famous for vilifying everything and everyone in his columns, including the "incompetence" of law officers, so there's even motive for a copper, wild as that sounds). within the fictional context established, this means the top coppers and some politicians (one Central Party member was also at the country-home when the murder occurred, as was an archbishop; these are big-league suspects!) decide to hand the case over to four--count'em, four--famous detectives, although they operate independently.
obviously, this sets up the four sections of the book where detectives created by Dorothy L. Sayers, Helen Simpson, Gladys Mitchell, and Anthony Berkeley, all work on that one case, to see what they can come up with (or, in other words, so we can see how each author concocts their own version of how events are best explained). all of this would be satisfying enough, given what I've read so far--the case has grown on me with each page, after a drawn-out, slightly plodding but necessary, setting-up by Rhode--and given the enthusiasm shown by the authors. but the cherry on top, the extra treat is the four authors "swapping" each others' detectives. I'm led to believe that Anthony Berkeley's take on Sayers's Peter Wimsey is the real gem of this experiment--plus, he apparently delivers a brilliant solution to the Mystery--but I haven't got that far yet, and I certainly enjoyed Mitchell and Simpson tackling the whodunit while also borrowing someone else's detective while doing it! would love to read a proper John Saumarez book, by his creator Helen Simpson, at some point...so I guess I have Gladys Mitchell to thank for this bizarre form of "promotion". weird, and very cool.
anyway, I love this a heckuva lot more than The Floating Admiral--this seems to make more sense in every conceivable way, compared to the other shaky ride--and I'll wrap it, delightedly, tomorrow. special mention of that other Detection Club round-robin, The Anatomy of Murder, which was also quite entertaining. one day shall be the day for Six Against the Yard...