I Commit (1st & 2nd Editions)
Updated: Dec 29, 2022
I Commit Card Game, Pepys Series
First Published: 1948, Pepys Series, Castell Brothers Ltd. Bow Street, London, North Wallace Street, Glasgow
& 2nd Edition, circa 1950, other details as above.
Illustrator or Designer: Laurence Meynell credited as the inventor.
Contents: 53 Cards + Rules Booklet
The pack of 53 cards is made up from:
6 Criminals, 3 Master Criminals, 6 Motives, 3 Master Motives, 6 Opportunities, 3 Master Opportunities, 6 Clues, 2 Master Clues, 6 Chief Inspectors and 12 Police Constables.
6 Criminals: The Limehouse Kid, Chinese Charlie, The Bermondsey Gang, The Dandy, Gentleman Jim, Peter the Penman & 3 Master Criminals: The Spider, The Swell Mobsman, The Gangster Giorgio
6 Motives: Greed, Vanity, Jealousy, Burning Hatred, Deep in Debt, Love of Money & 3 Master Motives: Revenge, Wine, Women & Song, Love of Notoriety
6 Opportunities: Rich Young Heiress, The Open Window, The Empty Street, The Bribed Watchman, The Careless Cashier, The Neglected Cheque Book & 3 Master Opportunities: The Stolen Car, The Dropped Keys, Dead of Night
6 Clues, Bloodstains, The Bogus Fiver, The Number of the Car, The Homburg Hat, The Faked Passport, Footprints & 2 Master Clues: Finger-Prints, Lady’s Photograph
6 Chief Inspectors and 12 Police Constables.
The box fronts of the Ist and 2nd editions differ in several ways. The easiest to spot being the quotation marks of the 1st Edition. Aside from the design of the box fronts the only difference between the 1st Edition and the 2nd is the substitution of the original Police Constable above for a new "PC49" to the right.
As 12 of the cards in the 53 card pack depict the Police Constable they are hard to overlook. Why did Pepys decide it would be worth the trouble of including the incongruous, cartoon-like PC49 in such an otherwise elegant and already complete game? And why did they do so soon after the release of the 1st Edition?
I will add a dedicated article on PC 49 to this site soon.
Laurence Meynell (1899-1989) is credited as the inventor of the game. For most Pepys games I think such credits were no more than product endorsements but Laurence Meynell's role in producing the game may well have been more important than the superficial use of his name.
The inventiveness, volume and scope of his writing is very impressive, aside from crime and mystery fiction he wrote books for children, books on cricket, rugby, biographies and topographical works, he also had interests in engineering and craftsmanship. His civility, humility, generosity and good manners are frequently mentioned, he doesn't sound like the sort of chap who would take credit where it wasn't due.
Under his own name and under several pseudonyms Meynell produced a formidable body of work. There is a good biographical sketch that includes some personal reminiscences here and, if your library allows free access, it is well worth looking at Laurence Meynell's Dictionary of National Biography entry too.
Lagoon renamed their 2011 reissue of the game, Accused.
Both packs featured here were part of Rex Pitts' personal collection.
Game & Version Details
I Commit - Card Back
Feature "The Hooden Gunman", emblem of The Crime Club, see the Crime Club entry for more details.
I Commit - Rules Front
Neither of the the rules books I have mention Castell Brothers Ltd. nor give their address. World of Playing Cards have a set of rules with both, the addresses being Bow Street, London & North Wallace Street, Glasgow.
I Commit - Rules Back
Horse Racing Tonight
Peter and the Wolf
I Commit - Box Back
I Commit - Box Top
I Commit - Box Side Left
I Commit - Box Base
I Commit - Box Side Right
I Commit - Box Back With Flap