Earlier this week, at a meeting with Liam McIlvanney, Paddy Richardson and Vanda Symon, we founder members of the Dunedin Detection Club agreed our oath. Borrowed from that of the original Detection Club, formed in 1930 by a group of British mystery writers who included Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, and G K Chesterton among others, our New Zealand version is shorter and has replaced Death-Rays, Super Criminals and Chinamen with Werewolves, Zombies, Aliens, Time Travellers, or any character from the Lord of the Rings. Full version below.
Detection Club of Dunedin Oath
The Ruler shall say to the Candidate: Is it your firm desire to become a Member of the Detection Club?
The Candidate shall answer in a loud voice: That is my desire.
The Ruler shall say to the Candidate: Do you promise that your detectives shall well and truly detect the crimes presented to them, using those wits which it may please you to bestow upon them and not placing reliance on, nor making use of Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition, Mumbo-Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Coincidence or the Act of God?
Do you solemnly swear never to conceal a vital clue from the reader?
Do you promise to never include the use of Ghosts, Hypnotism, Identical Twins, Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies, Aliens, Time Travellers, or any character from the Lord of the Rings?
Will you honour the Queen’s English?
The Ruler shall ask: Do you swear to observe faithfully all these promises which you have made so long as you are a Member of the Club?
The Candidate shall answer All this I solemnly do swear. And I do furthermore promise and undertake to be loyal to the Club, neither purloining nor disclosing any plot or secret communicated to me before publication by any Member, whether under the influence of drink or otherwise.
The Ruler shall declare:
A N Other, you are duly elected a Member of the Detection Club, and if you fail to keep your promises may other writers anticipate your plots, may your publishers do you down in your contracts, may total strangers sue you for libel, may your pages swarm with misprints and may your sales continually diminish.