#417: The Ponson Case (1921) by Freeman Wills Crofts

Ponson Case, Thestar filledstar filledstar filledstar filledstar filled
Freeman Wills Crofts’ second novel The Ponson Case (1921) recently enjoyed a reissue thanks to the superlative efforts of HarperCollins and their revived Detective Club imprint.  Nevertheless, I’m not passing up the opportunity to flaunt my pristine House of Stratus edition, with a cover so fabulous that it was recently reused for Martin Edwards’ genre-sweeping study The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books (2017).  Since Crofts himself spoiled his debut The Cask (1920) in The Sea Mystery (1928), I’m skipping that for now but shall otherwise read him chronologically until I run out of books, and hope HarperCollins seize the chance for a full reprint in the meantime…

Continue reading

#388: Inspector French and the Cheyne Mystery (1926) by Freeman Wills Crofts

star filledstar filledstar filledstar filledstars
I wasn’t sure I wanted to dive into another complex alibi problem so soon after Cut Throat (1932) by Christopher Bush.  But if anyone can convince me of the joys of alibi-breaking it’s Freeman Wills Crofts, and so off I went in hope of some fiendish minutiae to get the brain cogitating with possibilities.  As it happens, I need not have worried — there is no complex alibi-breaking here.  Sure, there’s a grand mix of ratiocination and weighing the odds on the way to intelligent deductive work, but this is decidedly a ‘wrong man on the run’-style thriller before it’s a novel of routine.  Were pithiness my forte, I’d probably make an ‘Alfred Hitchcrofts’ reference.

Continue reading

#356: Minor Felonies – Young Robin Brand, Detective (1947) by Freeman Wills Crofts

The thirty-first novel Freeman Wills Crofts published in his career was this novel for younger readers.  Let that sink in a moment.  Captain Dryasdust encroaching on Enid Blyton’s territory seems about as likely as Blyton herself trying her hand at Raymond Chandler’s metaphor-laden hard-edged novels of moral decay…the difference being that Crofts actually tried it.

Continue reading

#355: Change a Letter, Alter the Plot

Paws

If you’ve been paying attention, especially to my comments left both here and elsewhere, you’ll be aware that my typing is rather famously variable.  90% of the time I’m good, but that other 10% — man, some errors there are.  Writing something recently, I made reference to the novel Five Little Pugs by Agatha Christie and then — catching myself in time to correct it — I had a thought…

Continue reading

#335: Stand Not Upon the Order of Your Going – Do You Get the Most Out of an Author by Reading Them Chronologically?

calendar-big

In light of my recent favourable experience with Ellery Queen’s The Chinese Orange Mystery (1934), my thoughts turn to the benefits and pitfalls of reading GAD authors’ novels in chronological order.  The old joke is that they had to write them in that order, but is there any real benefit or detriment in reading them so arrayed?

Continue reading

#330: Highs & Lows – Five Reading Highlights of 2017

good

January, month of rebirth and self-recrimination.  For every resolution to improve there must be some frank assessment of what debilitated you in the first place, and so the month can take on a curiously Jekyll-and-Hyde aspect for some.  So my Tuesday posts for this month will be a mixture of what is good and bad in my reading, and where better to start than a celebration of the previous 12 months?

Continue reading