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The Hog's Back Mystery (Inspector French #10)

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  577 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
The Hog’s Back is a ridge in Surrey and the setting for the disappearance of several locals. A doctor vanishes, followed by a nurse with whom he was acquainted, then a third person. Inspector French deduces murder, but there are no bodies. Eventually he is able to prove his theory and show that a fourth murder has been committed.

The American title is 'The Strange Case of D
Kindle Edition, British Library Crime Classics, 327 pages
Published April 2nd 2015 by The British Library (first published 1933)
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Moonlight Reader
The Hog's Back Mystery is identified by Martin Edwards in The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books in Chapter 4, "Play Up! Play Up! And Play the Game!, as an example of the fair play mystery, where the author drops all of the clues needed to solve the mystery. As an added bonus, Crofts included a "clue finder" in the final chapter, where Inspector French walks the reader through the solution.

I've settled on three stars for this one. The first half of the book was really a two star read for me - I
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first mystery by Freeman Wills Crofts, that I’ve read, a prolific writer I wasn’t even aware of before. The Hog’s Back Mystery was his fourteenth novel, the fifth featuring his well-known policeman Inspector French.

Freeman Wills Crofts, was a railway engineer who began writing in 1919 during a long illness. Hi first novel The Cask was published in 1920 and he followed it up with almost one book every year for the next thirty-seven years. As well as mystery novels, Freeman Wills Croft
Apr 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book by Freeman Wills Crofts from the British Library Crime Classics series which I have read and enjoyed. This one is well written and meticulously plotted and Inspector French is an interesting and likeable character. A semi-retired doctor disappears one evening without trace. Inspector French can find no trace of him at all and he apparently simply walked out of the house in his slippers.

At first French suspects the missing man's wife and her sister are in collusion but af
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
The British Library has published a series of crime novels written between the wars. This has to be the slowest and most uninteresting crime novel I have ever read. Three people disappear and are eventually supposed to have been murdered. It is all very middle class and much time is spent pondering the pros and cons by the detective who takes forever to solve the mystery, the author having scattered the book with clues which in the denouement he points out, even giving the page numbers! Not my c ...more
I enjoyed this British Library Crime Classic, the fourth or fifth I’ve read from the collection. This one was a bit ‘dry’, in that it’s mostly procedure. There’s very little in the way of character development, and I found the scene-setting a bit inadequate in parts. The plot, though, is clever and detailed, which does go some way to making it an enjoyable read. It seems from Martin Edwards’ foreword that the author did concentrate on procedure and investigation. During the full explanation at t ...more
Carolyn Injoy
The Hog’s Back Mystery, A British Library Crime Classic by Freeman Crofts The Hog’s Back Mystery, A British Library Crime Classic by Freeman Crofts is a mystery that has lots of twists and turns and kept me guessing. Because the pace was slow I gave it three stars.
I received a complimentary Kindle copy from Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley. That did not change my opinion for this review.
Link to purchase:
Steven Heywood
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit that there are elements of the writing style that irk me — particularly the presentations of calamity and the asides that disrupt the flows of conversations — but the plotting is excellent.
Shawn Remfrey
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: home-library
This is my second journey into reading Crofts, and I was pleasantly surprised. Antidote to Venom was written from the perspective of the murderer. We had all of the information, except for how the crime was actually pulled off. Most of the book is spent trailing after Inspector French while he figures it all out. It was a fabulous read!

In this book, Crofts takes an entirely different approach. We don't even know if a crime has been committed throughout most of the book. We have suspiciously miss
THE HOG’S BACK MYSTERY. (1933). Freeman Wills Crofts. ***.
From the introduction: “’The Hog Back Mystery,’ first published in 1933, is an enjoyable detective novel offering an ingenious murder puzzle set in Surry. The author, Freeman Wills Crofts, was one of the most admired authors of ‘the Golden Age of Murder’ between the two world wars. This book demonstrates his commitment to ‘playing fair’ with his reader – to such an extent that, when Inspector Joseph French of Scotland Yard finally solves
tom bomp
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Rating is purely on its merits as a mystery story - the character writing isn't deep or anything, there's no fascinating insight into human nature, it's not humorous etc. BUT as a mystery it's really solid - lots of clever misdirection, a long walk to the point when you get to see the big picture of what's going on but nothing at all held back (if you're clever you could work out things quite a bit before the denouement I think), well paced so the interest is constantly kept up, a wide pool of b ...more
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend this detective, mystery story for anyone who enjoys the genre. It is so good! It is the best detective novel I have probably ever read and I have read a lot, including many from the Golden Age of British crime fiction. I will not give away any of the story, but I will say that how it is written is very different than the usual detective story, some may find it tedious, but I really enjoyed it. The main character, the detective, actually acts like a policeman and does the legwo ...more
Christopher Borum
Look up police procedural in the encyclopedia and you'll find a picture of this book. French spends a lot of time interviewing various actors, both suspects and possible witnesses, and then spends some time cogitating about their answers in his hotel room, and then spends some time discussing his thoughts with Superintendent Sheaf, and then goes out for more interviews. The only scene that doesn't take place at one of the homes, the Super's office, or in Town (where French lives and returns peri ...more
May 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mmxvii, reviewed
I enjoyed reading this book, not least because I grew up close to where it is set; rural Surrey on the Hog's Back, the "Hog" being the North Downs. I like a good murder mystery, and of this era you know that it's likely the stories will be "nice" and not full of things you'd rather not have read. Every book from this era, and this genre, you can't help but compare to Agatha Christie and this writer in terms of plot comes near to the clever convoluted style that Christie employs; small cast of ch ...more
Sep 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since this book was published in England almost a hundred years ago, the writing style is very different than contemporary murder mysteries published today, especially the ones in the USA. I personally found the first part of the book syrupy without any character development or much of a plot. I actually forced myself to keep reading it hoping it would get better. The second part of the book picked up speed and there was a full-blown investigation, although some parts were hard to relate to or t ...more
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I really love these classic British mysteries. This one finds Inspector French called out of London to investigate what is at first believed to be a disappearance. Of course, it turns out to be 2 murders, followed by 2 more murders. The bodies aren't discovered until about halfway through the book, which only complicates things. How do you investigate a murder without bodies? Ultimately, the bodies are discovered in a rather unusual place, and French can proceed to solve the case.
Maxine Hargreaves
I really enjoyed this and I'm delighted that I've finished this book club book 6 days before our meeting.

The plot twists and turns. I had figured out a few of the details myself, but hadn't quite put it all together. I liked the way that all the threads were pulled together, for those of us who had missed a few of the clues.

I'd forgotten how much I enjoy murder mystery stories, and appreciate that this did not have a ton of blood and gore like a lot of modern books.
Mick Canning
I had high hopes for this book, since Crofts was quite a popular writer just after the war. But the style of this book, although it started out promisingly, just grated on me the more I read. The inspector's thoughts, especially, became monotonously repetitious and I struggled to read through to the end. Disappointing.
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plotted very well with the timing of the murder hinging on train times, tea times and yes, tee times! This is a fair play mystery; if you paid close attention, you could determine the whodunnit but you would need to use your little gray cells. I am spending April reading only classic mysteries and this one was well worth my time.
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been looking for mysteries from the "Golden Age of Murder" add to my read list. Our library has quite a few, including this author that I had never read. Set in the North Downs of England with Inspector French as the investigator. Crofts is said to "play fair" with the reader, not leaving out information or clues that would help solve the mystery. It was a very satisfactory read.
Freeman Wills Croft books are all about the alibi. As such they are buried in timings and timetables which his detective, Inspector French has to piece together to solver the murder.Unlike other "Golden Age" dectective french is a rather colourless character. Overall an entertaining read, interesting as historical evidence, and undemanding.
May 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very much a cozy English mystery. Quite intriguing and some (unintentionally?) funny depictions of English characters in the early 1930s. Sadly it gradually gets more and more histrionic towards the end and the denouement/explanation is unnecessarily complicated and confusing.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really did enjoy this, it's a vintage police murder mystery in a leisurely pace. ones of the things I most enjoyed was that French is so real, he goes home at the weekend to his wife because they're looking forward to a drive out to the coast.
Jan Duthie
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The British Library Crime Classics series has opened my eyes to writers I had never heard of before and I'm really enjoying exploring new detectives. If you enjoy this genre then try some of this series. This particular one is excellent.
Alison Maloney
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it

Good book but very geared to the police digging up a means & motive. Results in it lacking in action & gets distinctly ploddy at the end.
3.5 stars. My first inspector French novel. Crofts does a great job!
Susan Kavanagh
Nice reprint of Golden Age mystery published by British Library Crime Classics. Really solid plot and puzzle but not too much in the way of characterization. 3.4 rating.
Aug 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A decent enough yarn with a final chapter explaining the whereabouts of all the clues for slow boys and girls.
Dianne Landry
May 08, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not much luck with books lately. This was another one that bored me to tears.
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story it took over 20 chapters to get to being a crime so don't expect a modern fast paced book. It's good though.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it liked it
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Born in Dublin of English stock, Freeman Wills Crofts 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 en
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