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Exit Stage Left (Kempston Hardwick Mysteries Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Adam Croft
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.95
Kindle Price: £0.00 includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £7.95 (100%)

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Book Description

*** For a limited time, you can get TWO short stories, including an exclusive Kempston Hardwick story for free — click here to find out more > bit.ly/adamcroftbooks (just copy and paste into your browser) ***

Charlie Sparks brought a whole new meaning to dying on stage...

Charlie Sparks had it all. A former primetime television personality, his outdated style has seen him relegated to the scrapheap.

When he collapses and dies during a stand-up routine at a local pub, mysterious bystander Kempston Hardwick is compelled to investigate his suspicious death.

As Hardwick begins to unravel the mystery, he quickly comes to realise that Charlie Sparks's death throws up more peculiar questions than answers.




The first Kempston Hardwick mystery

Exit Stage Left has been adapted as a radio play, starring Robert Daws (The Royal, Jeeves & Wooster, Outside Edge), Emily Atack (The Inbetweeners) and Ted Robbins (Phoenix Nights, Little Britain).


"Adam Croft is one of the best new writers in Britain." - Stephen Leather

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Product Description

About the Author

Adam Croft is the three-times best-selling author of the Knight & Culverhouse crime thrillers and the Kempston Hardwick mysteries.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 354 KB
  • Print Length: 126 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Circlehouse; 1 edition (12 Dec. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006LN8FYS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • : Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,164 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Adam Croft is a British author, principally of crime fiction, best known for the Kempston Hardwick mysteries and Knight & Culverhouse thrillers.

His work has won him critical acclaim as well as three Amazon bestsellers, with his Kempston Hardwick mystery books being adapted as audio plays starring some of the biggest names in British TV.

His books have been bought and enjoyed all over the world, and have topped a number of booksellers' sales charts. Adam is also a regular contributor to BBC radio discussions on broadcasting and mental health issues and has been a columnist for the Huffington Post.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Not really my cup of tea 24 Aug. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I hadn't read anything by Adam Croft before but presume his best-selling stuff is better than this. It wasn't bad, don't get me wrong, and it can be difficult defining a new character, but the protagonist was surly, evasive, friendly, sympathetic, empathetic, taciturn and unfriendly in a bewilderingly short period of time. I gave up after the murder, since it seemed such a very odd way to murder someone, and Wossname took, then relinquished, charge so quickly the whole thing started annoying me. Books that start strongly and coherently, and make me engage with the personnel, can get away with murder. This one doesn't. It may yet happen that I get stuck without anything else to read or do on a wet Sunday afternoon and if I find I was wrong, and the rest of the book is brilliant, I will come back and say so. At this point I can only say I'm not deleting it off my Kindle,because the long-term forecast is a long cold wet winter and I may need it yet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read. You'll want the next book. 21 April 2015
Format:Kindle Edition
If you like mysteries where the police aren't the main puzzle solvers, you'll love this book. Mr. Hardwick is kind of an enigma, but you want to know more about him. And the ending is great. Reminded me of a really good Charlie Chan denouement.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good idea for a story 29 Sept. 2013
By Chester
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Quite a good idea for a story, and the concept of the detective duo is interesting. However, the author seems to be trying too hard to find alternative words at times, and this gets in the way of the reader's involvement.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A very poor parody 18 Sept. 2013
By Perkins
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It was a relief to find that other reviewers shared my opinion that this book was a very poor parody of the Holmes & Watson style detective stories because seeing all the 4 and 5 star comments made me think I'd missed something. I now know I hadn't and as others have already picked up on the worst examples of the poor grammar, bad analogies and weird vocabulary, there's little more for me to add on that score. In fact, alongside all of that, the main problem I had with this book was that I struggled to understand the period in which it was supposed to be set. Having stated that it was written in 2011, some of the references just didn't make sense. For example, early on in the story, the characters use both the Internet and a mobile phone whilst at the same time, we have two references to Bakelite phones. The murder victim is a washed up comedian who, we are led to believe, was a huge TV star in his day. Bearing in mind the superstar status of today's stand-up comedians, our victim is much more likely to have been on TV in the 1970/80s at the latest and as one of the "Bakelite" phones is in a public call box taking 20 pence coins, the timeframe seems to be set in this period. The "celebrity" references reinforce this with mention of the Benny Hill Show on TV and the late Diana Dors as a pin up. As both of these stars died in the 1980s and the Internet did not come into public use until the 1990s, it's no wonder I began to get confused. Nor could I see someone born in the 1980s having a "pin-up" photo of Diana Dors on his desk. Marilyn Munro with all those iconic images currently in style, yes, Diana Dors, no! Just as puzzling for me was the reference to Hansel & Gretel houses in order to portray the English village setting. Read more ›
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cleverly done 17 Dec. 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read and enjoyed Adam Croft's Knight & Culverhouse books - Too Close For Comfort (Knight & Culverhouse) and Guilty as Sin so was intrigued when I noticed Exit Stage Left with a different protagonist in the form of Kempston Hardwick.

We are initially introduced to Kempston in a pub, the Freemason's Arms, where he strikes up a conversation with Ellis Flint. Charlie Sparks, a has been celebrity who at the height of his fame performed at Royal Variety performances, is scheduled to do a live show at the pub that evening.

Kempston is an amateur detective and an alliance is quickly formed with Flint as a sidekick as they become involved in investigating the sudden death of Sparks at the start of his performance.

This novella can comfortably be read in a couple of hours and I read it in an afternoon.

Adam Croft has an excellent writing style, which is becoming more and more refined with each publication - not that it was deficient, it's more his skills are being enhanced with every story!

It is certainly an easy read and it wasn't until I'd almost reached the end - 93 per cent through the story to be exact! - that I had a light bulb moment and worked out exactly how the murder had been committed.

A very clever piece of writing!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good debut 30 Jan. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I downloaded this because I liked Adam Croft's Culverhouse and Knight series.

A bit like a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, Kempston Hardwick could become a popular detective series.

A bit more of his detecting thought processes would be good but I enjoyed it.

More please!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Exit stage left 13 Sept. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a terrible book I read it hoping it would improve but it didn't. A poor imitation of a modern day Sherlock Holmes which made me cringe whilst reading it. Definitely not one I would recommend
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 8 Mar. 2015
By James
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Another great read from this promising young author, wish I'd discovered him earlier!! More good , believable characters and relationships, and a plot that meant I didn't want to put it down. Starting the next one straight away!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars an enjoyable easy read.
Well crafted central characters, an enjoyable easy read.
Published 1 month ago by Chippy
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic mystery!
A story that will keep you guessing. An easily accessible read that makes for an involving story as you watch the mystery unfold. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jonathan Barnett
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Review
My advice is never read comments made by other people before judging something for yourself. I started reading this book and then for some reason I read some of the comments which... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Scot
3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable
Not a page turner...not a lot of depth to it.
Published 7 months ago by Leeds Loiners
1.0 out of 5 stars not what other reviews implied
Rather than give a poor review I usually give no review but as I had downloaded this because of the positive reviews I need to redress the balance. Read more
Published 9 months ago by s
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good.
Published 11 months ago by Clive Westfield
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Could imagine this as a comedy murder for TV.
Published 11 months ago by pat eagle
3.0 out of 5 stars ok
I bought it for free and it is kind of sherlock holmes in modern time but low cost one.
I can't say i've enjoyed the reading.
Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I don't read many books, I don't get much time to read and it takes me forever to read them when I do! This was the first of Adam's that I downloaded, I loved it! Read more
Published 14 months ago by Lisa Rogers
4.0 out of 5 stars Private Detective Hardwick is one step in front of the Law!
A new crime series for Adam Croft as his detective Kempston Hardwick unravels the mysterious murder. It is a darn good yarn written like an 'up to date' version of Agatha Christie. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Diana Jackson
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