Dr James Earle and his wife live in comfortable seclusion near the Hog's Back, a ridge in the North Downs in the beautiful Surrey countryside.
When Dr Earle disappears from his cottage, Inspector French is called in to investigate. At first he suspects a simple domestic intrigue - and begins to uncover a web of romantic entanglements beneath the couple's peaceful rural life.
The case soon takes a more complex turn. Other people vanish mysteriously, one of Dr Earle's houseguests among them.
What is the explanation for the disappearances? If the missing people have been murdered, what can be the motive?
©2015 Estate of Freeman Wills Crofts (P)2015 Soundings
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"A real hard slog to get through"
I read another review before buying that warned it needed editing and my god, does it ever. I almost gave up at least 4 times as it was just so slow. The actual action takes place in about an hour of the reading. Most of the rest is the detective thinking about things. With editing this could be quite a good traditional british period piece but with the length it is, it makes it an ordeal. As a side note, by the time "who done it" was revealed I couldn't remember who they were. Best listened to in one go so you don't feel a similar disappointment alongside the thrill of having reached the end.
The author allows the reader to follow the detective's thought process. I disagree with the reviewers who consider this work boring. The author compellingly describes the fact-gathering process which is, after all, detection. The author also allows the reader enough information to consider and evaluate how those facts fit in with varying theories. The reader feels a participant in the sleuthing process. Very clever plot. Well-performed.
"Listen to Ms Lixie"
This book is dull. Way dull. Relentlessly dull. Unmitigatedly dull. A slog of dullness. And repeat.
"Needs to be abridged"
Good story. Tedious to the point of boring. Less details, or abbreviated details needed. Narrator good.
"Our family likes Freeman Wills Crofts"
I admit that my husband and I are very old and our grown up daughter is old. We all like Freeman Wills Crofts' mysteries and we rate them high. We would love to have more of these stories available on audible. I see that there is at least one other on Audible UK. Could you import it?
"Oh, my, how boring; i cannot"
They all sort of blurred together, so far as I made it, that is
"A really g-ripping yarn!"
Having never heard of Freeman Wills Crofts before I didn't know what to expect but knowing that I could return the book if I didn't like it I had nothing to lose so I went ahead and bought it. I am so very glad I did.
The author takes his time with the plot and creates interesting characters and atmosphere as well as unexpected twists and turns right up to the ending. I had my suspicions about who "dunnit" but I was surprised in the end! Gordon Griffin's performance was excellent. All in all a very enjoyable listen.
Sometime in the future. Well written, evocative of the period, a well constructed puzzle and well read. I love crime and thrillers but have become satiated with graphic violence, depressed, drunken, detectives, Scandinavian Noire etc. Enter, Inspector French of the Yard ..... Very refreshing.
Antidote to Venom by the same author
Yes. He is an excellent narrator
No, because it was a joy to look forward to listening to it in episodes.
If you enjoy a good classic golden age mystery, this is for you. The four stars for the story rather than five, are because I did guess the gist of who did it. However, this did not spoil my enjoyment.
"A classic mystery, deservedly"
Two things: the narration, which was exceptionally good, and the meticulous quality of Croft's writing. Although he is an intellectual writer (as opposed to one that plucks constantly at your emotions) he plays fair, so the dénouement is satisfying: not only practically feasible in terms of time and place, but psychologically comprehensible (in a way that some Agatha Chritie plots are not). I had never read anything by Crofts before, but I can see why he still retains his reputation for writing a classic 'puzzle' mystery.
It has some of the qualities of a Dorothy Sayers mystery, in being intricately planned but honest: the reader is given all the information he needs to work out the solution.
Really wonderful characterisation. He is an outstandingly good narrator, one of the best I've listened to. He manages not only to produce different voices for the various characters, but he has got exactly the right pronunciation and intonation for a book set in the 1930's. Listening to his clipped, gentlemanly English one can almost see the wide, square suits and soft felt hats that the characters undoubtedly wore, as well-dressed men of their time. A very skilful job of narration that greatly enhanced the book for me.
No: but that is not any reflection on the book. This is an intellectual puzzle whodunnit, not an emotional novel, although the characters are attractive and interesting people.
This book was an exceptionally happy marriage of an enjoyable mental puzzle and a really superb narrator. A really enjoyable listen that kept me absorbed for hours.
I am a huge fan of Golden Age detective fiction, but I must say, not a fan at all of Freeman Wills Crofts. This is the second of his books that I've listened to, and I found both incredibly slow and tedious. Not helped by the narrator, I think, who plods through the book with the same snail's pace as Inspector French.
"enjoyable golden age murder mystery"
Made more enjoyable as I know the area. Inspector French is not unlike Inspector Alleyn.
People who are interested in repetitive theoretical discussion.
He seems to go over and over the same events again and again in excessive detail, sometimes using the same or similar phraseology. An incredibly dull narrative from about four chapters in until the depressingly dragged out denouement. Getting to the point would have been far more satisfactory.
Yes, and that's not a compliment. Although the narration was clear, Griffin's pace is slow and he uses pauses frequently which adds rather than detracts from the tedium of the narrative.
I'm afraid not.
I can't understand the contemporary popularity that Wills Crofts generated with his work. He can barely hold a candle to his contemporaries Christie and Chesterton
1930s written. Pedantic. Pen and paper needed for the detailed conclusion! Too detailed with little action. Good narrator
I have no clue.
The Wrong Girl, Laura Wilson
Mr Griffin is always very professional in his storytelling.
Boredom and wishing I had spent my money on something else.
I suppose the story line at the time of writing may have been usual, but I found it very slow and jaw droppingly boring. If you are in the market for a book to send you to sleep this is an extremely good bet. I guessed part of the outcome long before the end but the conclusion was the most complicated and convoluted i have ever hear and the telling of it must surely be the longest in history.
Don't make me laugh.
This is a perfect example of a book which does not lend itself to audio, although it might read well, because one can read faster than listen, and could flash through the endless repetitions, but as audio it's just tooooo slow. It's actually not a bad plot; the mind-numbing tedium derives from French's frequent rehashing of his reasoning to date, often in the same words, and his inability to grasp the glaringly obvious is just irritating. The story is quite cleverly constructed, enabling the reader to comprehend the various strands of the plot, but the denouement is only as expected, (one is far ahead of French by halfway through!) and enduring him blunder along in his plodding fashion is not entertaining at all. Boredom city!
"Perfect for recuperation!"
Great delivery by the reader, the plot is fair to the listener- you just might be able to work it out, although I didn't! Story is a bit long winded at times but, in my post-op condition, I didn't really mind!
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