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Freeman Wills Crofts Books In Order

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Publication Order of Inspector French Books

Inspector French’s Greatest Case (1924)Description / Buy at Amazon
Inspector French and the Cheyne Mystery (1926)Description / Buy at Amazon
Inspector French and the Starvel Hollow Tragedy (1927)Description / Buy at Amazon
Inspector French and the Sea Mystery (1928)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Box Office Murders (1929)Description / Buy at Amazon
Inspector French and Sir John Magill’s Last Journey (1930)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mystery in the Channel (1931)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sudden Death (1932)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death on the Way (1932)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Hog's Back Mystery (1933)Description / Buy at Amazon
The 12.30 from Croydon (1934)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mystery on Southampton Water (1934)Description / Buy at Amazon
Crime at Guildford (1935)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Loss of the Jane Vosper (1936)Description / Buy at Amazon
Man Overboard (1936)Description / Buy at Amazon
Found Floating (1937)Description / Buy at Amazon
Antidote to Venom (1938)Description / Buy at Amazon
The End of Andrew Harrison (1938)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fatal Venture (1939)Description / Buy at Amazon
Golden Ashes (1940)Description / Buy at Amazon
James Tarrant, Adventurer (1941)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Losing Game (1941)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fear Comes to Chalfont (1942)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Affair at Little Wokeham (1943)Description / Buy at Amazon
Enemy Unseen (1945)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Train (1946)Description / Buy at Amazon
Silence for the Murderer (1949)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dark Journey / French Strikes Oil (1951)Description / Buy at Amazon
Many a Slip (1955)Description / Buy at Amazon
Anything to Declare? (1957)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Freeman Wills Crofts Standalone Novels

The Cask (1920)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Ponson Case (1921)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Pit-Prop Syndicate (1922)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Groote Park Murder (1923)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Freeman Wills Crofts Short Story Collections

Murderers Make Mistakes (1947)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mystery of the Sleeping Car Express (1956)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of British Library Crime Classics Books

The Notting Hill Mystery (By: Charles Warren Adams) (1862)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Poisoned Chocolates Case (By: Anthony Berkeley) (1929)Description / Buy at Amazon
It Walks by Night (By: John Dickson Carr) (1930)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Secret of High Eldersham / The Mystery of High Eldersham (By: Miles Burton) (1930)Description / Buy at Amazon
Castle Skull (By: John Dickson Carr) (1931)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mystery in the Channel (1931)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Incredible Crime (By: Lois Austen-Leigh) (1931)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder of a Lady (By: Anthony Wynne) (1931)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lost Gallows (By: John Dickson Carr) (1931)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Z Murders (By: J. Jefferson Farjeon) (1931)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Corpse in the Waxworks / The Waxworks Murder (By: John Dickson Carr) (1932)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Division Bell Mystery (By: Ellen Wilkinson) (1932)Description / Buy at Amazon
Portrait of a Murderer (By: Anne Meredith) (1933)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death in Fancy Dress (By: Anthony Gilbert) (1933)Description / Buy at Amazon
Family Matters (By: Anthony Rolls) (1933)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Hog's Back Mystery (1933)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mysterious Mr. Badman (By: William Fryer Harvey) (1934)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder Underground (By: Mavis Doriel Hay) (1934)Description / Buy at Amazon
Scarweather (By: Anthony Rolls) (1934)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of an Airman (By: Christopher St. John Sprigg) (1934)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Spy Paramount (By: E. Phillips Oppenheim) (1934)Description / Buy at Amazon
The 12.30 from Croydon (1934)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Chianti Flask (By: Marie Belloc Lowndes) (1934)Description / Buy at Amazon
Weekend at Thrackley (By: Alan Melville) (1934)Description / Buy at Amazon
Quick Curtain (By: Alan Melville) (1934)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lake District Murder (By: John Bude) (1935)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death on the Cherwell (By: Mavis Doriel Hay) (1935)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Cornish Coast Murder (By: John Bude) (1935)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Traitor (By: Sydney Horler) (1936)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Santa Klaus Murder (By: Mavis Doriel Hay) (1936)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Sussex Downs Murder (By: John Bude) (1936)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of Anton (By: Alan Melville) (1936)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death in the Tunnel / Dark in the Tunnel (By: Miles Burton) (1936)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder in Piccadilly (By: Charles Kingston) (1936)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mystery in White (By: J. Jefferson Farjeon) (1937)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bats in the Belfry (By: E.C.R. Lorac) (1937)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Cheltenham Square Murder (By: John Bude) (1937)Description / Buy at Amazon
Excellent Intentions (By: Richard Hull) (1938)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder in the Museum (By: John Rowland) (1938)Description / Buy at Amazon
Antidote to Venom (1938)Description / Buy at Amazon
Thirteen Guests (By: J. Jefferson Farjeon) (1938)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Port of London Murders (By: Josephine Bell) (1938)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Arsenal Stadium Mystery (By: Leonard R. Gribble) (1939)Description / Buy at Amazon
Seven Dead (By: J. Jefferson Farjeon) (1939)Description / Buy at Amazon
Verdict of Twelve (By: Raymond Postgate) (1940)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Scream in Soho (By: John G. Brandon) (1940)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Busybody (By: George Bellairs) (1942)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Dead Shall be Raised & Murder of a Quack (By: George Bellairs) (1942)Description / Buy at Amazon
Somebody at the Door (By: Raymond Postgate) (1943)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder's a Swine: A Second World War Mystery (By: Nap Lombard) (1943)Description / Buy at Amazon
Checkmate to Murder (By: E.C.R. Lorac) (1944)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fell Murder (By: E.C.R. Lorac) (1944)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder by Matchlight (By: E.C.R. Lorac) (1945)Description / Buy at Amazon
Trouble on the Thames (By: Victor Bridges) (1945)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fire in the Thatch (By: E.C.R. Lorac) (1946)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death Makes a Prophet (By: John Bude) (1947)Description / Buy at Amazon
Smallbone Deceased (By: Michael Gilbert) (1950)Description / Buy at Amazon
Calamity in Kent (By: John Rowland) (1950)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death Has Deep Roots (By: Michael Gilbert) (1951)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Danger Within / Death in Captivity (By: Michael Gilbert) (1952)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder in the Mill-Race (By: E.C.R. Lorac) (1952)Description / Buy at Amazon
Crossed Skis (By: Carol Carnac) (1952)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death on the Riviera (By: John Bude) (1952)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Man Who Didn't Fly (By: Margot Bennett) (1955)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Colour Of Murder (By: Julian Symons) (1957)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Christmas Egg (By: Mary Kelly) (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Progress of a Crime (By: Julian Symons) (1960)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sergeant Cluff Stands Firm (By: Gil North) (1960)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Spoilt Kill (By: Mary Kelly) (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Body in the Dumb River (By: George Bellairs) (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon
Due to a Death (By: Mary Kelly) (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
Surfeit of Suspects (By: George Bellairs) (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Belting Inheritance (By: Julian Symons) (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Last Best Friend (By: George Sims) (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
The End of the Web (By: George Sims) (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Capital Crimes: London Mysteries (By: Martin Edwards,Richard Marsh) (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Resorting to Murder (By: Martin Edwards) (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Silent Nights (By: Martin Edwards) (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder at the Manor (By: Martin Edwards) (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Serpents in Eden (By: Martin Edwards) (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Crimson Snow (By: Martin Edwards,Fergus Hume) (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Foreign Bodies (By: Martin Edwards,Palle Rosenkrantz) (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Long Arm of the Law (By: Martin Edwards) (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Miraculous Mysteries (By: Martin Edwards) (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Continental Crimes (By: Martin Edwards) (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blood on the Tracks (By: Martin Edwards) (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Christmas Card Crime and Other Stories (By: Martin Edwards) (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Golden Age of Detection Puzzle Book (By: Kate Jackson) (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Deep Waters: Murder on the Waves (By: Martin Edwards) (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Measure of Malice (By: Martin Edwards) (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Pocket Detective 2: 100+ More Puzzles, Brainteasers and Conundrums (By: Kate Jackson) (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Settling Scores: Sporting Mysteries (By: Martin Edwards) (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Surprise for Christmas and Other Seasonal Mysteries (By: Martin Edwards) (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Two-Way Murder (By: E.C.R. Lorac) (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Guilty Creatures: A Menagerie of Mysteries (By: Martin Edwards) (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of an Author (By: E.C.R. Lorac) (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Great Short Stories of Detection, Mystery and Horror(1931)Description / Buy at Amazon
Six Against the Yard(1937)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fifty Famous Detectives of Fiction(1948)Description / Buy at Amazon
Nine Detective Stories(1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Scoop and Behind the Screen(1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
Double Death(1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder On The Railways(2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Longman Anthology of Detective Fiction(2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Realm of the Impossible(2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bodies from the Library(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Freeman Wills Crofts was an Irish author who made his name with the “Inspector French” series of novels. He was born in Dublin though his roots are English. He went to Campbell and Methodist Colleges in Belfast and when he was seventeen he became apprenticed to Berkeley D Wise his uncle. His uncle was then a chief engineer of the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway. In 1899, he graduated from apprentice to become a railway engineer. He then moved up the ranks to become a district engineer and by the time he left the service, he was a chief assistant engineer. His first foray into writing was when he was recovering from a serious illness and had to take an extended stay away from work. During this time, he worked on “The Cask” his debut novel that was published by the London publishers Messrs. Collins. His debut novel was huge as within two decades, it had become a bestseller selling more than 100,000 copies.

When he moved to Guildford England, he decided to quit his job with the railways to become a full-time author. Still, a ton of his novels are themed on transport, travel and trains, particularly anything to do with transport timetables and the Guildford setting. He still kept up with developments in engineering and also pursued his interests in music where he was a conductor and organist. He also did some travel, gardening and carpentry. Since retiring from the railways and becoming a full-time author, he became prolific and wrote one novel every year until his decease. He was also active in other writing endeavors that included 30 radio plays for the BBC, about 50 short stories, several crime novels. He also wrote “The Four Gospels in One Story” that was a religious work, “Young Robin Brand, Detective” a juvenile mystery, and “Sudden Death” a play. However, he came into his own with the Inspector Joseph French character of the “Inspector French” series. The character was the lead in 30 detective novels that the author published starting in 1924 until his death in 1957.

In the 1920s and the 1930s, he was one of the best five detective authors in the UK as he pioneered the realistic police detection in “Unbreakable Alibi,” which spawned many imitators. He was a master of logical construction, lucid exposition and often rose to the occasion to write red herrings and misdirection that can only be compared to the likes of Agatha Christie. He is credited with distilling romance and making police routine detective work fascinating. He was not only esteemed by his audiences who loved his unconventional style but also his fellow authors that wrote in the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. Agatha Christie included elements of Inspector French in her novels alongside her lead Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes in her 1929 published work “Partners in Crime.” According to Raymond Chandler, he was an author that did not get too fancy in his building. Chandler praised his concentration and attention to detail, which made him one of the most innovative police procedural authors. However, some such as Julian Symons have described him as an old school author, which may perhaps explain why he has not been as familiar to modern audiences as compared to the other Golden Age authors.

Freeman Wills Crofts’s first novel was “French’s Greatest Case” that is introduced with a murder reported at the offices of Duke and Peabody in Hatton Garden, London. It is a cold night in November when Charles Gething an employee of the diamond trading firm is found lying prostate inside the offices of the managing partner of the firm Mr. Duke. The large Milner safe inside Mr. Duke’s office has been ransacked and thousands of pounds and diamonds worth thirty-three thousand pounds have been stolen. On the side of Mr. Gething’s head is a huge wound most likely made by a blunt object which had probably led to his death. The police believe the motive behind the crime was the theft of the money and the diamonds that had been in the safe. Inspector French of the New Scotland Yard Criminal Investigation Department is called in to investigate.

“Inspector French and the Starvel Tragedy” the second novel in the “Inspector French” series by Will Crofts is the story of Ruth Averill. Ruth is living with her uncle, an old and curmudgeonly miser who cares little for her. She is a twenty-year-old girl with few life prospects and no money. It is thus a huge surprise when she gets a note from some relatives asking her to visit them. Her uncle gives her ten pounds and she does not understand why he is all of a sudden so generous. It seems too good to be true and she soon learns that it was as she comes back home to find their house burned to ashes. Three people are dead from the tragedy including two servants and her uncle. It seems to have been a freak accident but there are a few details that do not add up. For instance, Ruth’s uncle used to keep all his money in the supposed fireproof safe but the contents of the safe are found badly burned. Scotland Yard’s Inspector French is called in to investigate. He is known for his meticulous nature as he is never one to jump to conclusions, instead double-checking every clue, hint, alibi and proof. He is a hardworking man rather than an intuitive genius and he puts in the hours to make sure that he resolves the arson and triple murder mystery. But though he is a very good detective it is going to take a lot of effort and time to catch a very clever murderer and arsonist that has committed what is possibly a perfect crime.

Freeman Wills Crofts’s “The Box Office Murders” is the story of a crime ring in London that had recently been going after cinema box office girls. Inspector French gets to work investigating the case since he was approached by one of the girls who had thereafter been kidnapped and then found murdered. But French soon finds that this is one of his hardest cases he has ever handled. He cannot figure out the motive for the blackmailing of the girls and how this is helping the ring make money. But he is gradually making inroads into the workings of the organization and persuades another box office girl to cooperate. The girl is soon kidnapped and afraid that she might suffer a similar fate like her colleagues, he works doubly hard to obtain her freedom. What follows is a thrilling story as French almost dies tracking and pursuing the most hardcore members of the crime ring. It is an ingenious novel that shows Inspector French at his best.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Freeman Wills Crofts

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