From the Collins Crime Club archive, the fourth Inspector French novel by Freeman Wills Crofts, once dubbed 'The King of Detective Story Writers'.
The Body That Came from Nowhere
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. Testing his theories with his accustomed thoroughness, French's ingenuity sets him off on another investigation.
I love these stories with their meticulous focus on the details of the mystery and the actions of Inspector French to try and puzzle them out. If you're looking for in depth development of the characters and their relationships then these stories aren't for you, but I find the step by step unravelling of the mystery, in a time when landline telephones and telegrams were the most rapid forms of communication, great fun. Phil Fox is a very good narrator, pacing his delivery well and voicing the different characters sufficiently to tell them apart, but without going over the top. I'm looking forward to more in this series.
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This the 4 book following the Starvel Hollow case, finds the author and his inspectors skill growing. The detail in caricatures, places and narrative are superbly crafted. inspector French goes about his work with such realistic detail, with clear human undertaking and limitations, making him so believable. You can see late creations of Morse etc being infected by Wills Crofts art form.
Wills Crofts is very good at impossible situations which he resolves with breathtaking timings.
The narrator was very good. The ending was most satisfying.
Third of these I have listened to. Take the series in order but they do stand alone. Well read, easy to follow and gripping stories. I am looking forward to the others.