The captain of the Newhaven to Dieppe steamer spots a small pleasure yacht lying motionless in the water and, on closer inspection, sees a body lying on the deck. When members of his crew go aboard the yacht, they find not one male corpse but two. The dead men were chairman and vice chairman of Moxon General Securities, one of the largest financial houses in the country. Inspector Joseph French of Scotland Yard is called in. French soon discovers that Moxon's is on the brink of collapse.
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.
"A real hard slog to get through"
Andrew Crowther, a wealthy retired manufacturer, is found dead in his seat on the 12.30 flight from Croydon to Paris. Rather less orthodox is the ensuing flashback in which we live with the killer at every stage, from the first thoughts of murder to the strains and stresses of living with its execution. Seen from the criminal's perspective, a mild-mannered Inspector by the name of French is simply another character who needs to be dealt with. This is an unconventional yet gripping story of intrigue, betrayal, obsession, justification and self-delusion.
"Unusual form of detective story"
An original and entertaining selection of crime stories all committed on the railways. Authors include Baroness Orczy (most famous for The Scarlet Pimpernel) and Maurice Leblanc (most famous for Arsene Lupin.)
"Enjoyable and entertaining"
George Surridge, director of the Birmington Zoo, is a man with many worries: his marriage is collapsing; his finances are insecure; and an outbreak of disease threatens the animals in his care. As Surridge's debts mount and the pressure on him increases, he begins to dream of miracle solutions. But is he cunning enough to turn his dreams into reality - and could he commit the most devious murder in pursuit of his goals?
From the Collins Crime Club archive, the forgotten second novel by Freeman Wills Crofts, once dubbed 'The King of Detective Story Writers' and recognised as one of the 'big four' Golden Age crime authors. When the body of Sir William Ponson is found in the Cranshaw River near his home of Luce Manor, it is assumed to be an accident - until the evidence points to murder.
When Sir John Magill, the wealthy Irish industrialist, fails to show up at his hometown on a well-publicised visit, neither his family nor the Belfast police can explain his disappearance. Foul play is suspected when his bloodstained hat is discovered, and Scotland Yard is called in. With his characteristic genius for reconstruction, Inspector French evolves a gruesome theory about what happened to the elderly man, but his reputation - and that of Scotland Yard - will depend on finding out who was responsible.
Off the coast of Burry Port in South Wales, two fishermen discover a shipping crate and manage to haul it ashore. Inside is the decomposing body of a brutally murdered man. With nothing to indicate who he is or where it came from, the local police decide to call in Scotland Yard. Fortunately Inspector Joseph French does not believe in insoluble cases - there are always clues to be found if you know what to look for.
The suicide of a sales clerk at the box office of a London cinema leaves another girl in fear for her life. Persuaded to seek help from Scotland Yard, Miss Darke confides in Inspector Joseph French about a gambling scam by a mysterious trio of crooks and that she believes her friend was murdered. When the girl fails to turn up the next day and the police later find her body, French's inquiries reveal that similar girls have also been murdered, all linked by their jobs and by a sinister stranger with a purple scar....
A chance invitation from friends saves Ruth Averill's life on the night her uncle's old house in Starvel Hollow is consumed by fire, killing him and incinerating the fortune he kept in cash. Dismissed at the inquest as a tragic accident, the case is closed - until Scotland Yard is alerted to the circulation of bank notes supposedly destroyed in the inferno. Inspector Joseph French suspects that dark deeds were done in the Hollow that night and begins to uncover a brutal crime involving arson, murder and body snatching.
At the offices of the Hatton Garden diamond merchant, Duke and Peabody, the body of old Mr Gething is discovered beside a now empty safe. With multiple suspects, the robbery and murder is clearly the work of a master criminal and requires a master detective to solve it. Meticulous as ever, Inspector Joseph French of Scotland Yard embarks on an investigation that takes him from the streets of London to Holland, France and Spain and finally to a ship bound for South America.
These masterful stories reflect the classic railway era in Britain and provide the perfect setting for the perfect murder - or almost perfect. Challenge your own skills of deduction as you match wits with the best. Narrator Patrick Malahide's evocation of time, place, and culture is imbued with moody mystery most fine.
"Great stories, poor format"
From the Collins Crime Club archive, the second Inspector French audiobook by Freeman Wills Crofts, once dubbed 'The King of Detective Story Writers'. When young Maxwell Cheyne discovers that a series of mishaps are the result of unwelcome attention from a dangerous gang of criminals, he teams up with a young woman who is determined to help him outwit them. But when she disappears, he finally decides to go to Scotland Yard for help. Concerned by the developing situation, Inspector Joseph French takes charge of the investigation.