In Book 12 of John Creasey's Inspector West series, the titular character has just arrested James Liddell for murder, though doubt still remains in the mind of Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Roger West. It only increases with the appearance of Liddell's daughter Francesca, a beautiful woman with a terrible secret that throws the whole case in disarray. Gareth Armstrong's mellifluous British accent helps to set the scene of this intriguing mystery, and listeners will delight in the way his precise performance amplifies the twists and turns of Creasey's mysterious narrative.
As Chief Inspector West put the cuffs on James Liddell, a feeling of doubt lingered - had this man really committed murder? What seemed to most like a cut and dried case is further complicated when Francesca, Liddell's beautiful daughter, flies into London. She is frightened. What's more, she has a guilty secret. As West pieces together the puzzle, in search of motive and murderer, he comes to see the full picture in all its chilling ugliness....
Born in Surrey, England in 1908 into a poor family in which there were nine children, John Creasey grew up to be a true master story teller and international sensation. His more than 600 crime, mystery and thriller titles have now sold 80 million copies in 25 languages. These include many popular series such as Gideon of Scotland Yard, The Toff, Dr Palfrey and The Baron. Creasey wrote under many pseudonyms, explaining that booksellers had complained he totally dominated the "C" section in stores. Never one to sit still, Creasey had a strong social conscience, and stood for Parliament several times, along with founding the One Party Alliance which promoted the idea of government by a coalition of the best minds from across the political spectrum. He founded the British Crime Writers' Association, which to this day celebrates outstanding crime writing. The Mystery Writers of America bestowed upon him the Edgar Award for best novel and then in 1969 the ultimate Grand Master Award.
I like the old fashioned Inspector West books when they focus on the procedures and stay relatively realistic. They are set in a vanished London when a police inspector could afford a modest house in Chelsea! Some of the later ones like this move away from the winning formula of jolly decent coppers hunting ordinary criminals, and West''s nice little family in the background, and introduce ravishing heroines and international spy rings. For me these aren't so enjoyable. Still made reasonable bedtime listening.