Thursday, 14 April 2011

The Detection Club Archivist


I'm proud to say that the Detection Club has appointed me as its archivist. Given that I have been fascinated by the history of the crime fiction genre for more years than I care to remember, this is not only an honour, but a role that I'm sure I will find rewarding.

Appropriately enough, a good deal of detective work is bound to be required. Although many crime writers are fascinated by history, only a minority take an interest in the details of the evolution of their genre, and information about the early days of the Club in particular is very hard to come by. To a large extent, this is perhaps understandable for a social group whose main objective has always been simply to have a few convivial dinners each year. Looking back, however, it would be fascinating to know more about the discussions and relationships between people like Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, G.K. Chesterton, Anthony Berkeley and Hugh Walpole.

To this day, there is continuing uncertainty in many quarters about when the Detection Club actually came into existence. For example, the club's own list of members suggests that it started up in 1932, but that cannot be right, since it published The Floating Admiral in 1931. In fact, I'm pretty sure that it began "officially" in 1930.

I'm keen to gather material for the archives, and if any readers of this blog can help, I'd be delighted to hear from them.


10 comments:

vegetableduck said...

Christie seems to have been rather a recessive presence. Hugh Walpole was described as a "shy bird." Sayers, on the other hand, was the heart and soul of the Club--and everyone certainly had an opinion about Mr. Anthony Berkeley.

Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - Congratulations on your new appointment! I think the Club has made an excellent choice. It sounds like a lot of fun, too, and I hope you will enjoy it and post about some of the things you discover.

John said...

You can count on me to send onto you anything I may discover in my many hours of research & bookhunting.

Congratulations on your new role. They couldn't have found a better suited man for the task.

Xavier said...

Congratulations, Martin!

vegetableduck said...

How's the Detection Club library/reading room going these days?

Martin Edwards said...

Many thanks! John, that is very kind of you.
Curt, alas there are no DC premises these days.

vegetableduck said...

Such a shame, I liked the idea of the DC library. So all the library books were sold off? When did that take place? How many were sold?

Martin Edwards said...

I'm not sure, Curt, but those you acquired were evidently part of the sale.

Dorte H said...

Oh, it was archivist? I really couldn´t see you in the role of anarchist. Perhaps I should just admit I have read enough blot posts for one night ;)

Congratulations!

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Dorte, I'm too keen on the conventional to be an anarchist, I'm afraid!