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The Cask

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  67 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Paris. Shipping business, police techniques, investigative procedures, feature in this alibi puzzle plot.
Published 2001 by House of Stratus (first published 1920)
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Charmingly tedious mystery goes in for every Golden Age cliche. The sheer amount of deduction is altogether impressive, but the book is weighed down by the fact that it is mostly very uninteresting. This is my first Crofts, and apparently his trademark is the laboriously described railway timetable. No character is more than sketched. There is constant exposition, but none of it pertains to psychology in the least. A quite silly book by any measure, which could do with a hundred pages less, and ...more
Lisa Kucharski
The beginning suffers a bit from showing us every bit of movement made and thought by the investigating police, and could have used a heavier hand by an editor. However, about the last third of the book when a lawyer gets involved and then a private detective is involved the story actually comes to life and it feels like you are reading about people and not just sifting through facts.

It certainly feels like a book that was written before 1920, though the copyright is 1920. In those 1910 years th
Elizabeth Moffat
If I could give three and a half stars to this novel, I definitely would! An intriguing and entertaining golden age mystery with so many strands, twists and turns I was desparate to discover "who dunnit."
I found the description of the meticulous detective work in this novel interesting. Though it must be boring to do, it's probably accurate. The plot was quite convoluted, yet somehow I knew who the culprit was all along. The characters weren't very well filled out, but I still had a sense of the author's attitude toward each of them. The action is between Paris and England early in the 20th century.

I read this book was written while the author was convalescing, as a past time, and was his first
I thought this was a very competent detective novel. If I had put on my anorak and hunted out contemporary train timetables and street maps the chronology and geography would have been faultless. The two detectives are painstaking in their investigation, then stop when they are satisfied that they have the culprit and sufficient evidence for a conviction. The private detective also investigates to give the accused the best chance of a defence in court. Everybody does their job.
The only problem
Yes, the detection was tedious, but I appreciated the methodical sleuthing. I also enjoyed knowing it was an early Golden Age procedural that influenced later classic writers.
Maurice Arnall
A decent mystery although a tad predictable. What I like most about older books is the history you get as a bonus. This one was published in 1920 and is full of descriptive passages of London and Paris back then.
John Sargent
Enjoyed very much. Very clever with good plot and pacing.
Diane Challenor
Abandoned! I read about 30 pages before giving up on this one. I abandoned it because it was too old fashioned and slow for me!
It does go into excrutiating detail at times and it is probably longer than it needs to be. Yet despite it's flaws I think it does deserve it's reputation of being a minor classic of the Detective genre.

Early police procedural, with a good mystery, and more than a few interesting twists and turns
An enjoyable read with many of the Crofts trademarks:
- an impeccable mystery plot
- trains, ships and timetables
- descriptions of how business was done in the early 20th century
William S.
This is a fine puzzle story, so well wrought that you have to keep notes in order to have any chance at figuring out the plotlines, as they unravel thinner and thinner. It would be a perfect read for a weekend at a country lodge, where reading trumps conversation!
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Born in Dublin of English stock, Freeman Wills Croft was educated at Methodist and Campbell Colleges in Belfast and at age 17 he became a civil engineering pupil, apprenticed to his uncle, Berkeley D Wise who was the chief engineer of the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway (BNCR).

In 1899 he became a fully fledged railway engineer before becoming a district engineer and then chief assistant eng
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