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Summary

Dr James Earle and his wife live in comfortable seclusion near the Hog's Back, a ridge in the North Downs in the beautiful Surrey countryside.

When Dr Earle disappears from his cottage, Inspector French is called in to investigate. At first he suspects a simple domestic intrigue - and begins to uncover a web of romantic entanglements beneath the couple's peaceful rural life.

The case soon takes a more complex turn. Other people vanish mysteriously, one of Dr Earle's houseguests among them.

What is the explanation for the disappearances? If the missing people have been murdered, what can be the motive?

©2015 Estate of Freeman Wills Crofts (P)2015 Soundings

What listeners say about The Hog's Back Mystery

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A really g-ripping yarn!

Having never heard of Freeman Wills Crofts before I didn't know what to expect but knowing that I could return the book if I didn't like it I had nothing to lose so I went ahead and bought it. I am so very glad I did.
The author takes his time with the plot and creates interesting characters and atmosphere as well as unexpected twists and turns right up to the ending. I had my suspicions about who "dunnit" but I was surprised in the end! Gordon Griffin's performance was excellent. All in all a very enjoyable listen.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Loved It

Would you listen to The Hog's Back Mystery again? Why?

Sometime in the future. Well written, evocative of the period, a well constructed puzzle and well read. I love crime and thrillers but have become satiated with graphic violence, depressed, drunken, detectives, Scandinavian Noire etc. Enter, Inspector French of the Yard ..... Very refreshing.

What other book might you compare The Hog's Back Mystery to, and why?

Antidote to Venom by the same author

Have you listened to any of Gordon Griffin’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Yes. He is an excellent narrator

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, because it was a joy to look forward to listening to it in episodes.

Any additional comments?

If you enjoy a good classic golden age mystery, this is for you. The four stars for the story rather than five, are because I did guess the gist of who did it. However, this did not spoil my enjoyment.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A classic mystery, deservedly

What made the experience of listening to The Hog's Back Mystery the most enjoyable?

Two things: the narration, which was exceptionally good, and the meticulous quality of Croft's writing. Although he is an intellectual writer (as opposed to one that plucks constantly at your emotions) he plays fair, so the dénouement is satisfying: not only practically feasible in terms of time and place, but psychologically comprehensible (in a way that some Agatha Chritie plots are not). I had never read anything by Crofts before, but I can see why he still retains his reputation for writing a classic 'puzzle' mystery.

What other book might you compare The Hog's Back Mystery to, and why?

It has some of the qualities of a Dorothy Sayers mystery, in being intricately planned but honest: the reader is given all the information he needs to work out the solution.

What does Gordon Griffin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Really wonderful characterisation. He is an outstandingly good narrator, one of the best I've listened to. He manages not only to produce different voices for the various characters, but he has got exactly the right pronunciation and intonation for a book set in the 1930's. Listening to his clipped, gentlemanly English one can almost see the wide, square suits and soft felt hats that the characters undoubtedly wore, as well-dressed men of their time. A very skilful job of narration that greatly enhanced the book for me.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No: but that is not any reflection on the book. This is an intellectual puzzle whodunnit, not an emotional novel, although the characters are attractive and interesting people.

Any additional comments?

This book was an exceptionally happy marriage of an enjoyable mental puzzle and a really superb narrator. A really enjoyable listen that kept me absorbed for hours.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

enjoyable golden age murder mystery

Made more enjoyable as I know the area. Inspector French is not unlike Inspector Alleyn.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent plot-twistening detective novel

I love the way Inspector French talks through his deductions, enabling us to try to solve the case alongside him. Can't wait to listen to my next novel by Freeman Wills Crofts.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Plodding

I am a huge fan of Golden Age detective fiction, but I must say, not a fan at all of Freeman Wills Crofts. This is the second of his books that I've listened to, and I found both incredibly slow and tedious. Not helped by the narrator, I think, who plods through the book with the same snail's pace as Inspector French.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • K
  • 19-03-16

Unutterably Tedious

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who are interested in repetitive theoretical discussion.

What could Freeman Wills Crofts have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

He seems to go over and over the same events again and again in excessive detail, sometimes using the same or similar phraseology. An incredibly dull narrative from about four chapters in until the depressingly dragged out denouement. Getting to the point would have been far more satisfactory.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes, and that's not a compliment. Although the narration was clear, Griffin's pace is slow and he uses pauses frequently which adds rather than detracts from the tedium of the narrative.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I'm afraid not.

Any additional comments?

I can't understand the contemporary popularity that Wills Crofts generated with his work. He can barely hold a candle to his contemporaries Christie and Chesterton

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Slow

1930s written. Pedantic. Pen and paper needed for the detailed conclusion! Too detailed with little action. Good narrator

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Boring

What would have made The Hog's Back Mystery better?

I have no clue.

What will your next listen be?

The Wrong Girl, Laura Wilson

What about Gordon Griffin’s performance did you like?

Mr Griffin is always very professional in his storytelling.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Boredom and wishing I had spent my money on something else.

Any additional comments?

I suppose the story line at the time of writing may have been usual, but I found it very slow and jaw droppingly boring. If you are in the market for a book to send you to sleep this is an extremely good bet. I guessed part of the outcome long before the end but the conclusion was the most complicated and convoluted i have ever hear and the telling of it must surely be the longest in history.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

excellent story and narration

A great murder mystery. I enjoyed every minute use of it and would recommend