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John Crow Books In Order

Publication Order of John Crow Books

A Lover Too Many (1969) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Error of Judgement (1971) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Secret Singing (1972) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Blood Money (1973) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Question of Degree (1974) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Part of Virtue (1975) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Nothing But Foxes (1977) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Relative Distance (1981) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


The name of John Crow will not be foreign to the ears of any true aficionado of the mystery novel genre. Taking after the original master of the genre, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Roy Lewis shapes the settings that John crow must encounter in a way that presents the reader with a baffling criminal situation which no one but the sharpest minds can decipher. Like Sherlock Holmes, John Crow has to untangle puzzles that are virtually unsolvable by almost any other police officer, fictional or otherwise. This is where the fascination for the sober heroic romanticism of the English mystery novel is rooted. And whether the main character is a helpless narcissist or alienated from the rest of society does not detract in the least from the heroism and inspiration John Crow is to any a would-be detective.

Roy Lewis weaves in his John Crow series an engaging tale set in different geographic areas within the British Isles. In this gray landscape of endless rain and multifarious idiosyncrasies, stories of murder and deceit, of untold secrets coming to light at the wrong time and the wrong place seem perfectly at home. It is as if the land and weather itself were a warning of what man is brewing, of the tensions within the local community. But whether it isthe land telling on man or Nature and all her elements encroaching upon human activity and stimulating him in a particular direction, is immaterial to the reality to be faced. At the end of the day, men like John Crow are needed to come and save the day.An outstanding character, a tenacious will and an unwavering desire to make things right, drive our relentless main character through the mist and beyond towards the goal his own heart has imposed upon his mind. That is to say, the true hero is not only doing his job in the modern bureaucratic sense, but rather fulfilling a calling the few in a lifetime even hear echoes of.

The Welsh setting within which much of the John Crow series develops is not only an interesting choice in several ways, but also reveals itself as the most appropriate when the stories disclose themselves in front of the reader. This land whose people resisted and resented the English for such a long time, will also not be an easy task for our hero to deal with. As John Crow pierces through the veil of the mystery, solving mortal puzzles which bring his own person closer to the perpetrator (and hence to the possibility of being murdered himself), he shows again and again a kind people who are only too willing to cooperate with him in persecuting and capturing criminals which are a threat to all. The harsh environment and the remote locations, a people close enough yet all too different, all make for a fascinating and ultimately enchanting experience which set the John Crow series apart from even the marvelous Sherlock Holmes series, without any comparison of quality needing to be made.

While each of the books is unique and gives us a new story, the John Crow series preserves its tone and magic, so to speak, never betraying the reader and bringing him back to whatever fond memories and emotional attachments he or she has formed with our hero in the past. Much credit should be given to Roy Lewis for not refraining from depicting what many would consider “seedy” characters. Unlike countless other writers who would present cardboard-like evil characters that are only seen far off or deliberately portrayed as monochromatic and all around deserving of our deepest hate and seething anger, the personages whom John Crow must face are painted in complex ways which, while not lessening or in any way excusing their crimes and faults, awards them a degree of humanity that is unquestionably necessary if any true understanding of their actions is to be attained by character and reader as well. The murderer is not just motivated by a diabolical lust for blood, the arsonist is not simply a maniacal fire worshiper to be put down by the police, and the swindler is not just after money. Sigmund Freud would have to say much about their true motives and their possible childhoods, and this is where we see the John Crow series raise itself in quality above the ocean of simplicity and narrow-mindedness that we see all around in the genre.

Yet another endearing aspect that the author has sewn into the story of John Crow is his own personal tribulations with all that they bring. We see him falling in love here, going to the rescue of a friend there, or perhaps, almost crumbling down in inner agony for the loss of close one. The reader gets to meet a real human being who, while exceptional, is relatable. In ‘A Question of Degree’, John Crow is forced to step out of his usual environment and familiar surroundings, launching himself in an adventure that takes him all the way to Canada to find out more about the murder of a woman. In the course of the story, Roy Lewis himself draws upon his own story of love, undoubtedly causing him no small amount of pain at the time of the writing. This is, of course, no more than a conjecture, but one made in light of the moving representation the author has made in adapting his own life experience to one more element in the story of John Crow. We cannot help but be moved and so may safely assume a degree of authenticity that cannot be matched by fiction alone.

What the reader will find in the John Crow series is suspense and mystery of the finest caliber. As we have previously mentioned, those with an affinity for Sherlock Holmes will find a warm welcome within these pages, which does not rest any originality from it, for Roy Lewis imbues his own John Crow with much that is unique to him. As such, we can only emphatically recommend this great mystery series to any mature enthusiast of the mystery genre.

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