Written by Jean Harambat
Art by Jean Harambat
Published by Europe Comics
The Detection Club is a translated European graphic novel written and illustrated by Jean Harambat.
The story, set in the 1930s, has its origins in real world characters as a collection of successful mystery authors convene to install a new member. The motley crew includes, amongst others, the aged Baroness Orczy, Dorothy L. Sayers, John Dickson Carr, G.K. Chesterton, and Agatha Christie.
Similar to the classic Neil Simon comedy Murder by Death, they are all invited to the home of an eccentric millionaire who is then murdered and the club members all trip over themselves attempting to solve the murder in their own unique styles.
Thrown into the mix is Eric, a real-life human-like British robot from the 1920s who at one point actually confesses to having committed the deed, then disappears from the mansion.
The deceptively simplistic illustrations have a bit of a 1970s children’s book feel to me. Not my favorite art style but it’s consistent and used well to lead the story along.
The fun here is in the dialogue as the author shows his obvious familiarity with the history and styles of the various authors involved and treats them all accordingly.
The portly Chesterton and the somewhat off-putting Christie are essentially the main characters as they team up to snoop around, complete with well-translated witty banter.
What keeps me from giving this book a recommendation, though, is the fact that it’s continued. I’m sorry. That’s like reading a mystery novel up to the point where the detective says, “And the killer is…” and then the lights go out…and stay out. The End.
Since the book is presented as a mystery novel, and obviously aimed at fans of traditional mysteries, it should play fair and be done in one. What’s here is enjoyable but it’s not enough.