Six Against the Yard is another collaborative mystery novel written by members of the Detection Club, a group of British crime writers that included Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and G.K. Chesterton, among others. First published in 1936, the novel is unique in that it features six separate stories, each written by a different author, all centered around the idea of a group of criminals attempting to break into the fictional “New Scotland Yard” police headquarters.
The book is structured in such a way that each author is given the task of creating a story in which a group of criminals attempts to break into New Scotland Yard. The stories are then arranged in a sequence that follows the progress of the break-in, from the planning stages to the final attempt. Each author brings their own style and perspective to the story, and the result is a book that is full of diverse characters and unexpected twists.
One of the most interesting aspects of Six Against the Yard is the way in which it provides a glimpse into the minds of the criminals. The stories are not simply tales of daring heists, but rather explorations of the motivations and thought processes of the would-be thieves. Each author approaches the subject from a different angle, and the result is a book that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.
The first story, “The Man Who Was No. 16” by J.J. Connington, sets the tone for the rest of the book. It follows a group of criminals as they attempt to infiltrate New Scotland Yard by impersonating an officer. The story is full of tense moments and unexpected twists, and the ending is both surprising and satisfying.
The second story, “The Undoing of Alister Mackenzie” by Anthony Berkeley, takes a different approach, focusing on the psychology of the criminal mind. The story follows a man who is driven to commit a crime because of his obsession with a woman. The tension builds steadily as the reader is drawn into the mind of the criminal, and the ending is both shocking and tragic.
“The Professor’s Manuscript” by Freeman Wills Crofts is a more straightforward detective story, in which a group of criminals attempt to steal a valuable manuscript from New Scotland Yard. The story is full of twists and turns, and the solution to the mystery is both clever and satisfying.
“The Theft of the Mafia Diamond” by E.C. Bentley is a lighthearted romp that follows a group of bumbling criminals as they attempt to steal a priceless diamond from New Scotland Yard. The story is full of humor and wit, and the characters are all likable and engaging.
H.C. Bailey’s “How He Did It” is a more serious story, in which a criminal mastermind attempts to outsmart the police by creating an elaborate alibi. The tension builds steadily as the detectives race to unravel the mystery, and the solution is both surprising and satisfying.
The final story, “The Moabite Cipher” by G.D.H. and M. Cole, is perhaps the most complex of the six. It follows a group of criminals as they attempt to break into New Scotland Yard by deciphering an ancient code. The story is full of fascinating historical details, and the solution to the mystery is both surprising and satisfying.
Six Against the Yard is a fascinating and entertaining book that showcases the diverse talents of some of the greatest mystery writers of the 20th century. The collaborative structure of the novel is unique and engaging, and the various authors work together seamlessly to create a book that is both cohesive and varied. Fans of classic British detective fiction will find much to enjoy in this book, and it is sure to appeal to anyone who loves a good mystery. You can purchase a copy of Six Against the Yard on Amazon here.