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The Pit-Prop Syndicate

Freeman Wills Crofts John Curran



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01 March 2020
Fiction & Literature; Classic crime
From the Collins Crime Club archive, the third standalone novel by Freeman Wills Crofts, dubbed 'The King of Detective Story Writers'.

Seymour Merriman's holiday in France comes to an abrupt halt when his motorcycle starts leaking petrol. Following a lorry to find fuel, he discovers that it belongs to an English company making timber pit-props for coal mines back home. His suspicions of illegal activity are aroused when he sees the exact same lorry with a different number plate - and confirmed later with the shocking discovery of a body. What began as amateur detective work ends up as a job for Inspector Willis of Scotland Yard, a job requiring tenacity, ingenuity and guile . . .

Freeman Wills Crofts' transition from civil engineer on the Irish railways to world-renowned master of the detective mystery began with The Cask when he was fully 40 years old; but it was his third novel, the baffling The Pit-Prop Syndicate, that was singled out by his editors in 1930 as the first for inclusion in Collins' prestigious new series of reprints 'for crime connoisseurs'.

This Detective Club classic is introduced by John Curran, author of The Hooded Gunman, and includes the bonus of an exclusive short story by Crofts, 'Danger in Shroude Valley'.
By:   Freeman Wills Crofts
Introduction by:   John Curran
Imprint:   Collins
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 20mm
Weight:   230g
ISBN:   9780008333966
ISBN 10:   0008333963
Series:   Detective Club Crime Classics
Pages:   320
Publication Date:   01 March 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Freeman Wills Crofts (1879-1957), the son of an army doctor who died before he was born, was raised in Northern Ireland and became a civil engineer on the Irish railways. His first book, The Cask, was published in the summer of 1920, immediately establishing him as a new master of detective fiction. Dubbed 'The King of Detective Story Writers', he was continually praised for his flawless plotting, with Raymond Chandler describing him as 'the soundest builder of them all'. Crofts was a founder member of the Detection Club and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1939.

Reviews for The Pit-Prop Syndicate

'A classic Crofts story, meticulously planned and written.' - Martin Edwards 'Undeniably the greatest of detective story writers.' - Outlook 'This early story by Freeman Wills Crofts has lost nothing in the passage of time: indeed, it seems almost better than ever . . . One of the classics of modern crime fiction.' - New York Times

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