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Inspector French's Greatest Case [Paperback]

Freeman Wills Crofts
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

24 Jan 2011
AN INSPECTOR FRENCH MYSTERY. At the offices of Duke and Peabody in London's Hatton Gardens, the body of old Mr Gething is discovered along with an open safe. The diamonds that he had locked away, however, are gone. It is a perplexing case, and obviously one for Inspector Joseph French of Scotland Yard. As the meticulous Inspector puts his full powers behind the investigation, he crisscrosses the continent from London to many locales of Europe. In pursuit of an unknown criminal, will French be able to deduce just who has the diamonds?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The Langtail Press (24 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780020457
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780020457
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 21.3 x 13.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 859,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'Mr. Wills Crofts is deservedly a first favourite with all who want a real puzzle' --Times Literary Supplement, 12th May 1931

From the Publisher

Inspector French made his first appearance in this novel, the fifth by author Freeman Wills Crofts. It was published in 1925 by Collins and saw the beginning of a 30 year run during which Crofts delivered a French novel every year. He was, and remains, an important and influential figure in the development of crime fiction as we know it today.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I was agreeably surprised by this book. It marks a new treaure trove from the great age of the most 'British' detectives. Tight plotting, with many twists and turns and all the elements that make Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers so much fun. Inspector French is a true English Detective who gets by with careful dedution and few flights of fancy or amazing leaps of imagination. A great book from a forgotton writer who deserves a good deal of recognition!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is it French's greatest case? 5 May 2001
By John Austin HALL OF FAME TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Detective fiction writers Agatha Christie and Freeman Wills Crofts both had popular successes in the mid-1920s. Crofts introduced his sleuth, Inspector Joseph French of Scotland Yard in this 1925 book. Already in his 50s (he refers to his eldest child having been killed in World War 1), French proved to be so popular that Crofts included him in all his detective fiction for a further thirty years.
The book's title probably continues to attract first time readers to Crofts' work. Readers who like to sample books from the "Golden Age of British Detective Fiction (1920-1940) will find strengths and weaknesses. The book displays Crofts' "puzzle solving" formula admirably. A problem occurs, a theory is formulted, testing follows, each discovery likely to form a "spring board" to further discovery. If a dead-end is encountered, another theory is formulated, etc. Crofts also keeps us in company with Inspector French throughout the whole book.
If these are some of the strengths, then a few weaknesses must be acknowledged. Expect old-fashioned crimes and old-fashioned criminals. The crime and murder here, popular in detective fiction of the time, involved the theft of diamonds. One of the criminal's skills, also popular at the time, was the devising and use of a code. Both of these elements will appear dated and quaint to C21st readers.
So is it Inspector French's greatest case? Reading the thirty or so other books in which he features will give you the answer, together with many hours of enjoyment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book. 20 July 2012
By Mike.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is another well written book by Freeman W Crofts, I have read many of his books over the last year or so.
There is a lot of detail, something you don't get in the books of today. I find his books have more to hold my attention than most.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is it Inspector French's greatest case? 5 May 2001
By John Austin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Detective fiction writers Agatha Christie and Freeman Wills Crofts both had popular successes in the mid-1920s. Crofts introduced his sleuth, Inspector Joseph French of Scotland Yard in this 1925 book. Already in his 50s (he refers to his eldest child having been killed in World War 1), French proved to be so popular that Crofts included him in all his detective fiction for a further thirty years.
The book's title probably continues to attract first time readers to Crofts' work. Readers who like to sample books from the "Golden Age of British Detective Fiction (1920-1940) will find strengths and weaknesses. The book displays Crofts' "puzzle solving" formula admirably. A problem occurs, a theory is formulted, testing follows, each discovery likely to form a "spring board" to further discovery. If a dead-end is encountered, another theory is formulated, etc. Crofts also keeps us in company with Inspector French throughout the whole book.
If these are some of the strengths, then a few weaknesses must be acknowledged. Expect old-fashioned crimes and old-fashioned criminals. The crime and murder here, popular in detective fiction of the time, involved the theft of diamonds. One of the criminal's skills, also popular at the time, was the devising and use of a code. Both of these elements will appear dated and quaint to C21st readers.
So is it Inspector French's greatest case? Reading the thirty or so other books in which he features will give you the answer, together with many hours of enjoyment.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of his best 24 Mar 2008
By S. Bacon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Crofts does solid work, and this--French's first appearance--is one of the best. Crofts attention to detail lends a distinct period feel to setting and character. Crofts' Death of a Train, usually and regrettably out of print, is a classic WWII anti-Nazi mystery piece and another excellent read.
4.0 out of 5 stars Here a twist, there a turn...Crofts is at it again! 29 Jun 2014
By Sister Shirl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Freeman Wills Crofts is a puzzler of the first order. Only recently have I discovered him and look forward to many happy hours in the vicarious company of Inspector French. For those that are intrigued by character studies and well developed twists and turns....Crofts is your man!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Freeman wills Croft, R. austin Freenan, etc. 9 Sep 2012
By N. Houde - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Early 20th century British 'police' novelists knew every trick of the trade: great intrigues, well defined characters, detailed explanation of the action. In my book, Croft and Freeman are more credible than A.C. Doyle. Dr. Thorndyke and his sidekick Jervis, Inspector French are unforgettable and often unsurpassed.
1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not so great 2 Dec 2009
By CMBohn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I think I would have rated this much higher if it weren't for the title. If this was Inspector French's Greatest Case, then it's no wonder that his books are virtually forgotten today.

A man goes to work at a jewelry shop only to find the dead body of a senior clerk and an empty safe. French takes over the case. The investigation is described in mind-numbing detail, along with his frequent trips to Europe - the Netherlands, Spain, France, etc, which are either by rail (with the entire route carefully described, including a time table) or by sea. At this point, I had all but given up. So when I temporarily misplaced this book, I wasn't exactly heartbroken. And when I got it back, I finished more because I wanted to get it over with than because I really cared how it ended.

It ended with a big climax aboard another ocean-going ship, complete route included (just in case you wanted to book passage) and Inspector French being surprised by the identity of the murderer.

This was a classic example of "tell, don't show." Not recommended for anyone. If you want to try another book by this author (this was his first book, and it really shows) Inspector French and Cheyne Mystery is better. Although even then, the ending could have been much better. Crofts seems to go for the very conventional story.

To be fair, this might have been a much better read at the time. But as a modern reader, I kept thinking that if he had taken a plane ride, it would have sped up the plot a lot. And where was Scotland Yard getting all this money to pay for his fares? Never once does French end up short on cash or miss his connection. Silly read, all around.
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