Cover Image: The Detection Club: Part 1

The Detection Club: Part 1

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Member Reviews

This was a fun homage to the writers who made up the Detection Club! A lot of it definitely seems to be build up for Volume 2, so I’ll have to pick that one up as well and see how everything comes together.
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An eccentric billionaire Roderick Ghyll invited the Detection Club to his island. There the murder writers have a locked-room murder to solve when Ghyll seems to have goon out the window. Each writer has his or her own theory of how and who did the murder. This volume ends with the arrival of the police and a final cliff-hanger discovery of Ghyll's body. An interesting take on the classic murder mystery!
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The Detection Club is a graphic novel about a group of famous mystery writers who are invited to a private island and end up having to solve a murder. For the purpose of this review, I am reviewing both volumes at once. In fact, my first criticism is that this did not need to be split up into two volumes - the entire thing is only 140 pages. This is unfortunate, as there was definitely enough content to be explored that could have made this book longer.

I did really enjoy this, as it captured the writing styles and eccentricities of the famous authors pretty well. I liked the idea that these mystery authors would have to solve a murder themselves. It was also a fun little story that did not take much time to read. It also did address some of the historical racism including orientalism and the "yellow peril stereotype" which were both so widespread when these classic mystery novels were taking off, but I felt it did so lightly. Overall, the story was light and entertaining, but as I mentioned before, this could have been a lot better if it had been just a little longer and more fleshed out.

Note: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley. I was not compensated in any other fashion for the review and the opinions reflected below are entirely my own. Special thanks to the publisher and author for providing the copy.
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The art style was amazing and I enjoyed the premise of the story and wanted to love it but I just didn't. I will read The Detection Club Part 2 which is the next instalment in the series which I requested at the same time. 

I really do think that me and graphic novels/comics really just don't work.
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I really really wanted to like this but the font was so off-putting that I just couldn't get into the book. The illustrations were good, although not my usual preferred style, but that font really ruined it for me.
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Enjoyed the illustration style, and overall a great idea and start to the series. Story felt a little rushed, but as an introduction it was great to meet all the characters, will definitely look out for the next part.
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An enjoyable ‘fantasy’ comic where some of our favorite mystery and detective series writers come together to solve a whodunnit themselves. A quick breezy read that had me smiling and wishing I knew how these writers had sounded in real life (will have to look up!)

However, the text was unbearably difficult to read on my kindle. I switched to my computer and still had difficulty making sense of the spidery writing.
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Amazing mystery but also amazingly hard to read on my Kindle.  A great and a funny read especially for the readers of classic detective novels. Agatha Christie is my favorite and I can think of when she broke most of the "10 Commandments" at the beginning! I really enjoyed it.
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A light, quick read with bits of hilarious humor. 

The Detection Club is not the most brilliant mystery I've read, but many details make it worth the read. Take how funny it is that Knox's commandments are completely destroyed through the story, how Chesterton's athleticism is highlighted, Carr's obsession with maps, and how everyone ignores him. Agatha Christie is forever my fav.

The start was slow (around 50% of the piece) and some characters were annoying (i.e.: the billionaire, whose name I don't even care to remember). It's also a shame that we didn't get to see more of the detective's dynamics.

The drawings are nice, just what you would expect from a comical spun to a historical mystery fiction.

I read it in about half an hour and couldn't believe its conclusion: a cliffhanger!! I want to find out what has happened, but grabbing the second part is not one of my priorities.
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A quirky little <i>bande dessinée</i> (Franco-Belgian comic) perfect for whodunnit buffs.

First off, let me say that I had never read or heard the terms <i>bande dessinée</i> or Franco-Belgian comic before reading this, but now I am aware of this genre, its existence makes total sense (I mean, Asterix and Obelix? Tintin?) Let it be a testament to this very smart and evidently well-researched murder mystery comic that I took the time to look up quite a bit of information referred to in the story and came out the other side much more knowledgeable on various topics.

The first of these is the actual Detection Club itself. I'm an avid mystery novel reader, but I realised that I don't actually know much about the authors who founded the genre, or even that there actually was such a club, nor have I read much of their works (I tend to rather watch the TV and film adaptations, I've noticed). For this reason, I especially appreciated the short bios of each of the club's members at the start of the comic. I can also well imagine that anyone with a more than cursory interest in these authors and their lives would find the delicious little easter eggs left by Harambat to add to the depth of the story. For instance, I never knew that there is a set of "Ten Commandments of the detective novel" (Harambat spares you the effort of Googling by including them in the comic's opening), and I had myself a great bit of fun spotting how the author blatantly ignored many (if not all) of these "commandments" in the comic's progression. There are also little in-jokes made between and at the expense of the various club members, which I am sure are based on historical anecdotes and references to the real authors' personalities and writing styles (why do the others mock Dorothy L. Sayers so?).

There's also a bit of a <i>meta</i> quality to the whole story, given that the club members themselves expect, and indeed live out, some of the traditional murder mystery tropes when they arrive on the island, like when Agatha Christie notes the following about Ghyll's anachronistic mansion:

<i>"I don't see any old axes on the walls as you would in a noble house worthy of the name..."</i>

The characters themselves are intriguing and, I think, well written. Ghyll, the mysterious billionaire who invites the club members to his mansion on a secluded island (just look at all the wonderful murder mystery tropes crammed into this single sentence!) immediately put me in mind of Dr. Prunesquallor in the Gormenghast books - note the insufferable "ha ha" that precedes and ends almost all of his statements, as well as the rambling, philosophical nature of his words. I also loved the good-natured teasing between Agatha and Chesterton. A nod to a real-life friendship between the two, perhaps? Either way, I felt like these two characters have come a long way together, and something like that helps to anchor the reader in a story just that bit more.

Another historical figure central to the comic is Eric, the first British robot. I love it when authors are able to combine parts of history in such a way that long-pondered mysteries are given fictional solutions: the real Eric's fate is unknown, but in this comic, his "disappearance" is explained by placing him in the hands of Ghyll the eccentric billionaire, ultimately allowing him to cross paths with the Detection Club.

Interwoven with all of these historical references and reimaginings of real people lies the mystery itself: what happened to Ghyll, and who did it? What was Eric's involvement, if any? Another little mystery is the identity of the narrator, although I do have my suspicions on that one. In the end, the answers to these questions are likely not that complex, but as with many other contemporary mystery novels, I think the fun lies in the getting there - not in figuring it out before the end - and as this is a comic, you have the added benefit of scouring the panels for clues as well.

Finally, as this is a comic and not a novel, I feel something needs to be said about the illustrations. While the style doesn't really fall under what I would usually go for, there is definitely something about the illustrations that perfectly suits the subject matter. So even if I can't imagine myself reading another comic like this one based on the illustrations alone, I weirdly can't imagine The Detection Club being illustrated any other way.

In the light of all this, I can honestly say that I really enjoyed this comic, and I'm looking forward to Part 2.

<i>Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!</i>
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Practically perfect in both tone and style; the reader gets to join Golden Age authors on a mysterious island, summoned by an eccentric millionaire, and attempt to solve the murder (?), suicide (?), accident (?) that soon befalls one of their number.  The artist's style matches the narrative extremely well and the color palette is very inviting. I snickered quite a bit -  A strong recommend!
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This is the first two thirds of a comic book that was all of a piece in France.  Yes, in a country that typically splits graphic fictions up into sections for little reason, this comes complete, but now we're getting an enforced interval.  Still, complaint is slight as I do have access to the rest, and more importantly I'm enjoying it.  The English language's best detective writers are on an island owned by a billionaire recluse in 1930, because he has something to show them – a robot that can parse any detective story given to it, and identify the murderer with the power of maths.  That's all and well, but when the host is heard to cry foul from within his locked bedroom, and all that's left is the broken picture window overlooking steep cliffs, the robot admits its guilt.  But that's not enough for the seven minds gathered – they'll be there until they get to the bottom of it…

I'd got very little joy out of this creator's previous book, a series about Hollywood vs Hitler – but then I had had a slender slither of it.  Here he's definitely on to something better, and his artwork is, if memory serves, more accomplished here.  I don't know what the characters (Chesterton, Christie, the Baroness Orczy etc) are supposed to have been like, but they're good company here, and the levity they bring (Chesterton in particular) only adds to the already inherently interesting locked room mystery.

Of course the splitting of the book doesn't help – at least, however, it's not in three parts, for some bits of the middle third don't work quite so wonderfully.  But if you have to click 'buy' twice for this entertainment, then so be it – it's a droll pleasure.  A strong four stars.
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Great story. I loved the concept and the story was great, the writing skills were awesome and I loved the new idea of a group of writers forming a detection club and going on an island where they were invited by the owner who is a billionaire and when he gets murdered it's up to the detection club to solve the mystery. 

The first book is a classic, I loved the graphics and setting of the story. It is a superb read. I am glad I got this eARC. Loved it.
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I wanted to like this book more than I did. The premise sounded exactly like something I would love, but the execution left me wanting. I understand the plan for future titles, but the cliffhanger ending felt very abrupt, and it would have been nice to have a bit more of a conclusion. I was also distracted by the lettering, which was difficult to read (though that may be due in part to reading a digital copy). I chuckled a bit while reading this, but I just liked it, rather than loved it.
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What is wonderful about The Detection Club is that it is based on a real organisation founded in the 1930s that included some of the most important figures in literary crime fiction. Meeting on a regular basis in London, between them they discussed and formulated theories about writing, and considering the diverse range of authors taking part in this club, you could imagine they might have had a few disagreements. Jean Harambat's delightful graphic novel pulls these real-life figures together in a murder-mystery situation that proves to be as entertaining as you might imagine, but it's also genuinely in the spirit of classic crime fiction.

In Harambat's The Detection Club, G K Chesterton (the real first president of the club), Dorothy L Sayers, Agatha Christie, A E W Mason, Baroness Emma Orczy, Ronald Knox and the recently inducted American author John Dickson Carr are gathered to witness what appears to be the crime of the century, something more terrifying than even some of the most notable names in crime fiction could ever imagine. A scientist has created nothing less than a spoiler machine, so to speak; a robot that can deduce and solve any work of crime fiction just from a basic outline.

If you haven't read Poe's Murders in the Rue Morgue or Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie then prepare for spoilers in the demonstration given by Professor Roderick Ghyll's latest invention, the crime-solving robot Eric. Invited to his island in Cornwall off the coast of Pentreath, the robot's demonstration invites discussion over dinner about the merits of science, technology, automation and philosophical considerations on whether they enhance or limit human freedom. After dinner there are drinks and a game of billiards and, as they retire to their rooms for the night, a crime will undoubtedly take place. It's one however that doesn't appear doesn't conform to the society's agreed ten commandments for detective fiction.

It's fortunate, perhaps even suspiciously convenient, that there's a robot in the mansion which is programmed to identify the name of the victim's murderer in a matter of seconds from the evidence presented to him. Of course with some of the greatest detective writers of the time in attendance, each with their on theories, they're not going to be satisfied with the deduction of a mere machine. That would go against everything they believe in and particularly their belief that humanity is far more complex than addition of numbers. It requires the application of logic, instinct, intuition, as well as the ability to take into account chance and mishap - things however than don't all necessarily allow for the application of "fair play" in giving a reader the chance to solve the mystery themselves.

Playing to classic conventions then there are any number of potential suspects in The Detection Club. Usually when you've a group of people trapped on an island and a killer among them, you don't need a robot or computer to calculate what happens next, but thankfully Agatha Christie's model of bumping off characters one by one isn't followed here. Since they are all famous crime fiction writers what happens instead is that each presents their own theory according to their own methodologies as to who the killer might be. So rather than just get a traditional detective investigating, you have a whole group with plenty of entertaining and conflicting hypotheses, as well as an interesting philosophical discussion on the subject of crime, murder and writing.

What matters most however is that Jean Harambat's graphic storytelling is absolutely delightful and entertaining. And of course it's a little bit tongue-in-cheek in its consideration of these larger-than-real-life figures and their charming oath not to not place reliance on nor make use of "Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition, Mumbo Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Coincidence, or Act of God", by throwing all these features in. It does so in a way however that is amusing and literate with a terrific murder-mystery that is truly in the spirit of classic crime fiction.

The artwork might look a little basic and sketchy but in reality it's perfectly suited to the subject with a classic pulp feel that reminds me a little of the retro stylings of the contemporary American pulp horror artist and cartoonist Richard Sala (Peculia, The Chuckling Whatsit, Black Cat Crossing). The story is well-paced and perfectly balanced, although somewhat unevenly spread across two volumes of 85 pages in Part 1, and 48 pages in Part 2. Since the revelations and resolutions come in the second part however with Volume 1 setting the scene, it actually balances out quite well. Respectful (mostly) to the spirit of the golden age of crime fiction, The Detection Club manages to be an amusing, entertaining, literate and suspenseful crime fiction in its own right.
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This is a fun setup for a mystery story, for people who love the mystery genre. Famous mystery authors are part of a club and end up involved in their own murder mystery. I enjoy a mystery, so watching them run around trying to solve it amused me greatly. I enjoy the artwork and the plot. I wish there was more Dorothy Sayers, though. Maybe in Part 2!
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The first part of a playful whodunnit that bends and plays with the genre's clichés. The story revolves around the mystery/detective story writers who are invited to an island in Cornwall by an eccentric millionaire with a robot that can guess the culprit in detective stories after hearing the main details. 

It was an overall interesting read with funny characters that are based on actual authors with an illustration style I found fitting to the story. In addition, it made me think of one of my favorite web series, Edgar Allan Poe's Murder Mystery Dinner Party, so if you liked it, I am sure this graphic novel will interest you!
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The first half of a quirky whodunnit, featuring a set of well- and lesser known crime authors.

The Detection Club of the title consists of real-life crime writers G.K. Chesterton (of Father Brown fame), Agatha Christie (Poirot/Ms Marple), John Dickson Carr (author of locked room mysteries and an American..!), Dorothy L. Sayers (Lord Peter Wimsey), A.E.W. Mason (adventure novelist), baroness Emma Orczy (Hungarian playwright) and Monsignor Ronald Knox (priest and Sherlock Holmes enthousiast). Knox has also compiled a list of 10 rules every newly written crime novel should adhere to - rules such as that the criminal must be someone mentioned in the first part of the story, another rule says no person of Chinese descent may figure in the story. The Club promises to follow these rules (mostly).

Our club of crime novelists is invited via mechanical talking bird (yes, really) by Roderick Ghyll to visit him on his island off the Cornish coast. When there, Mr Ghyll presents them with a robot called Eric (yes, a robot - keep up!) who can deduce the murderer in any crime story when fed the components of that story.

And then, not much later, Ghyll falls out of a window to his death. The Detection Club gets to work. Well, not so much the Club, more Chesterton and Christie.

The book ends on a cliffhanger, so I can't really comment much on the plot until I've read the second part. It does look like a major component of these books will be the breaking of the 10 commandments of crime writing, as presented earlier - Ghyll's butler is a Chinaman called Fu.

I had a lot of fun reading this - it's very light and silly, much helped by the cartoonish style of the art. It is true that the most well defined characters are Christie and Chesterton, but I was fine with that - the other Club members are there more for comic relief (maybe that changes in the second book).
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Some of the Crime genre's most popular authors all come together to form 'The Detection Club', a group in which they discuss writing techniques and twists and turns that you might come by in detective books. Having been invited to a mysterious island, however, The Detection Club find themselves unraveling more then a fictional mystery, after their host is found missing from his locked room, a smashed window the only sign of struggle.
Famous names such as Agatha Christie and G. K. Chesterston do their best to pick apart the mystery in what I thought was a clever little story. I loved the fact that these authors, so experienced at crafting mysteries themselves, are now set to the task of solving one in real life. The art is wonderful and each character is drawn with alot of charm.
The only thing I will say is that the pacing in this book is a little odd. It slows down quite a bit in the middle where the authors seem to come to a bit of a standstill in the 'who dunnit' tale, and toward the end I found myself wanting a little more action to keep me hooked.
Overall, a charming and uniquely crafted story with wonderful art but lacked a bit of excitement and suspense for me. 2.5 stars!
Thank you to both the publisher and Netgalley for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I love the premise of this book - real life mystery writers finding themselves on an isolated island and a crime happens. I do love a fair share of murder mystery novels although I admit I don't read the classics; I only read the modern young adults. Plus, I only know Agatha Christie and I am not familiar with her personal life so I don't know if all things mentioned in this is accurate - maybe it is. 

Anyway, I love the premise but reading it did not excite me at all. I was expecting a mystery and all the details are not very easy to follow. (To be fair, I also don't read historical novels - or those that are set years before I was born.) I guess I'm just not part of the target market? 

The idea of the robot was off to me - I would rather be it a cliched "the butler did it" story that it involving "robots know the answer to all mystery novels" type of thing. I would've expected the real life authors to go gaga over a real life murder mystery happening in front of them. I would much rather read their POVs on how they "solve" a murder. It was lacking in that sense for me. Anyway, I'm still considering picking up the second volume to see where it goes from here.
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