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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Review - Freeman Wills Crofts's THE 12.30 FROM CROYDON

My copy of this book is a gorgeously old fashioned green and white Penguin but I dont seem to be able to find one to put on the blog so this is the alternative.

Set in Yorkshire and London in 1933 the murder happens whilst on a flight to France. The pre-meditated murder is so meticulously planned and executed that I was surprised that the person actually got caught! The murderer is revealed almost at the beginning of the story and for me was my first example of what is called the "inverted detective novel". Unusual.

Charles Swinburn is 35 years old, a steady, prosperous man who has built up by sheer hard work a small industry producing electric motors. Businesses all over England have been hit by a recession and Charles has not been spared. In his favour Charles is concerned for the workers and their families and how loyal employees are going to survive. At this point in the story Charles has fallen in love and he knows fully well that this love is not going to last unless he is a well established man. Una is not going to like a failure. It is this focus that makes Charles's mind turn to murder.

Charles's alibi is perfect - he is on a cruise when the murder takes place, but as usual unexpected, unforeseen events cast their shadows and the relentless pursuit by Inspector French who leaves no stone unturned.

Another unusual aspect of this story is that though the Inspector solves the murder, he takes almost a back seat in the story. He explains in the last chapters how he solved the murder, but it is the murderer himself who takes prominence in this story.


  1. This sounds very interesting-thanks for posting on it

  2. I am liking these old penguin book reviews :)

  3. Seeing how the crime is solved can be just as much fun as solving it. This sounds good to me.

  4. Sounds like a very interesting book!

  5. I ve not heard of this book or writer ,although part of the story reminds me of a Christie story death in the clouds which also involves some one dying on a flight from France ,think it came out about same time ,all the best stu