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Thanks to the English publishers, the House of Stratus, it is possible in 2001 to purchase the complete detective fiction works of Freeman Wills Crofts. I have already received five of the thirty-five volumes in the uniform series. After years of browsing in antiquarian books shops and searching in their catalogues, it is wonderful to have and to read some of these long out of print detective yarns.
This one, "The Ponson Case" was the author's second production, and dates from 1921. When you see that Chapter One is entitled "Mystery at Luce Manor" you expect that this will be a classic whodunit featuring the butler, the boathouse and the brandy before bedtime, and that the reading experience will be much like playing the board game "Cleudo". Well, there is plenty of the traditional whodunit fun to enjoy here. Mysteries are solved and dissolved, alibis are offered and tested, timetables are constructed and checked. The investigation is co-ordinated by a Scotland Yard detective, Inspector Tanner, although some amateur sleuthing also occurs.
Crofts' mastery of plot construction is evident here, the traditional narrative formulas receive a fresh handling, there are unexpected twists aplenty, and plodding detection work is made fascinating.
You will enjoy opening "The Ponson Case" and be sorry when it is closed.
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on 19 April 2013
I love Resurrected Press -they've introduced me to authors I'd probably never have discovered on my own.

This particular book was really enjoyable, full of mystery and intrigue; a real page-turner. I liked all the characters, the plot twists kept me on the edge of my seat. I know of no-one who writes like this today.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes a liberal sprinkling of excitement with their mysteries.
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on 10 June 2001
This detective story by Freeman Wills Crofts has long been out of print and this reviewer has searched for a copy for over 30 years. For a change it does not star the intrepid Inspector French who appears in most of the tales by this author. This time Inspector Tanner of Scotland Yard has a particularly difficult case to solve and, before the end of the book, demonstrates that that even the best detectives are not infallible.
Those of us who enjoy this author can find again the meticulous planning and attention to detail that are the hallmark of a skilled craftsman. Alibis are meant to be broken. Clues are planted before the reader's eyes but only if he or she has a flash of inspiration will they get to the solution before the last page.
Once again railways and their timetables are crucial to the development of the plot. The effect of water on a dead body is another element that Crofts delights in employing and this book is no exception. His descriptions are always plausible whilst retaining a degree of sensible good taste. The very understatement of the ghastly detail makes it all the more effective. As usual the relationships and secrets within a family are at the centre of the mystery. Nowadays there are different attitudes abroad in society and some of the positions taken by the different characters would be regarded with either amusement or even astonishment. People just don't behave like that anymore. That's partly the point of reading the book. It is a perfect period piece encapsulating the feeling of the years 1919-1920.
It's a very early creation of Crofts and certainly not so strong as his first masterpiece "The Cask" or other early books like "The Pit-Prop Syndicate" or "The Groote Park Murder". The new edition from House of Stratus has a very apt cover with an image from the National Railway Museum of the scene from a train window. The passengers look down on a winding river where two boats drift innocently down river. Murder awaits in this idyllic scene.
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on 20 July 2012
I was given the loan of this book by an old friend, and very grateful I was.
This is the first book I ever read by Crofts, and I really enjoyed it. So much so, that I bought it to read again at a later date.
Then I went on the net to find more books by this man.I now have about a dozen or more.
They are well written, well thought out plots. Better than most books written today.
But I suppose in the end it's personal taste.
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on 30 December 2016
This second novel from Freeman Wills Crofts is such an improvement on his first book - The Cask - firstly due to the reduced number of words used approx. 80,000 instead of 120,000 & secondly because it is clear that the author has learned from his previous book what his style will be and where his strengths are. If you don't like alibi cracking and precision of timing then I would not recommend his books as most of them rely heavily on the puzzle & time element in order to resolve the crime. If like me you do like these aspects of a classic golden age crime then you will find his works a great pleasure to read - with his best work in my opinion as The Hog's Back Mystery. I haven't read any of his later works from the 1940s but according to Curtis Evans (Masters of the "Humdrum" Mystery - many of these works are clouded by the authors religious stance and that he gives the sense that he had lost his flair and motivation for writing crime novels.
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on 12 June 2012
Any mystery that begins "the dying sun of a July evening shone rosily on the old Georgian house" promises intrigue and nostalgia by the bucketload -and so it proves.The obviously staged accident looks very much like murder, the chief suspect is dim but innocent,the obvious villain turns out not to be so, the detective is not Inspector French but just as methodical and fair-minded as that great man-and yet this tale does not have the frisson of the author's best known novels in which a murder conceals a complex and diabolical plot. It contains elements of Croft's greater works and is worth reading but but in the end it's a bit disappointing.
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on 27 December 2015
I really enjoyed the story but the promise that this was not just a scan of the original but a quality edited book was not borne out by the numerous editing and formatting issues. These interfered with my enjoyment of the book and were particularly annoying as they were the kind of errors which even the most basic spellcheck would have picked up. Love the author, but would not buy from this publisher again.
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on 9 May 2016
Another good one. One gripe (and the reason it got 4 Stars and not 5) is that sometimes when he is describing how his Detective comes to his various conclusions there is a bit too much prose. I find myself skipping over bits. Other than that it was another case of "Well I wasn't expecting that". Yet again I read it in a day because I just HAD TO KNOW Whodunnit !!
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on 21 January 2016
Another tightly constructed crime novel by Freeman Wills Crofts. How does the police inspector break the tested alibis of the various suspects?. As usual you have to wait until the very end to find out.

If you have never read Crofts begin now.
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on 11 August 2015
This is a great story, quite a complex mystery, but very enjoyable read. FWC does have his detective travelling a lot, but it gives an insight in to what it was like in the 1920s . I enjoyed this, as I have most of his books.
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