These are the events on the opening pages of Freeman Wills Crofts' first and most famous book "The Cask". The book appeared in 1920, in the same year as Agatha Christie's first book, marking the beginning of a twenty year era known as "The Golden Age of Detective Fiction". Crofts followed its success with another 40 or so crime novels, but many authorities assert that he never produced anything better than this.
Certainly, it shows two of Crofts' great strengths: his talent as a story teller, and his ability to make time tabling and alibi checking seem fascinating. The story telling here has a whiff of the grandness and plot perfection of Wilkie Collins' "TheMoonstone". A remarkable performance from beginning to end. It was to be another five years, however, before he introduced his Detective Inspector French, and some time before he began putting his expertise as a railway engineer to good use in his novels.
Frequently reprinted, it now forms part of a complete reprint edition of Freeman Wills Crofts' detective fiction works produced in 2000 by the English publishers, the House of Stratus.