Eric the Skull

BBC Radio 4 – 2020

In 1930, at the height of the Golden Age of crime fiction, a group of detective writers set about forming their own social organisation, which came to be called the Detection Club.

It still exists and, three times a year, the cream of today’s crime writers meet for dinner.

The precise facts of the association’s genesis are, appropriately, shrouded in mystery – but this play chronicles how it might have happened.

One of the leading lights in the setting-up of the Club was the indomitable Dorothy L Sayers (played by Fenella Woolgar). Also involved were Agatha Christie (Janie Dee) and GK Chesterton (Mark Williams), who became its first President.

The high spirits of much of that period’s crime fiction is reflected in the play’s tone, as the members devise an arcane Initiation ritual for new members, and search for a suitable object on which they should make their vows of loyalty to the Club.