Listen free for 30 days

The Pit-Prop Syndicate (Detective Club Crime Classics)

Narrated by: Hugh Kermode
Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
4.2 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

From the Collins Crime Club archive, the third stand-alone novel by Freeman Wills Crofts, dubbed 'The King of Detective Story Writers'. 

Seymour Merriman's holiday in France comes to an abrupt halt when his motorcycle starts leaking petrol. Following a lorry to find fuel, he discovers that it belongs to an English company making timber pit-props for coal mines back home. His suspicions of illegal activity are aroused when he sees the exact same lorry with a different number plate - and confirmed later with the shocking discovery of a body. What began as amateur detective work ends up as a job for Inspector Willis of Scotland Yard, a job requiring tenacity, ingenuity and guile.... 

Freeman Wills Crofts' transition from civil engineer on the Irish railways to world-renowned master of the detective mystery began with The Cask when he was fully 40 years old, but it was his third novel, the baffling The Pit-Prop Syndicate, that was singled out by his editors in 1930 as the first for inclusion in Collins' prestigious new series of reprints 'for crime connoisseurs'. 

This Detective Club classic is introduced by John Curran, author of The Hooded Gunman, and includes the bonus of an exclusive short story by Crofts, 'Danger in Shroude Valley'. 

©1922, 1950 Estate of Freeman Wills Crofts (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Undeniably the greatest of detective story writers." (Outlook)

"This early story by Freeman Wills Crofts has lost nothing in the passage of time: indeed, it seems almost better than ever.... One of the classics of modern crime fiction." (The New York Times)

What listeners say about The Pit-Prop Syndicate (Detective Club Crime Classics)

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    13
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    12
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    8
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A bit laboured compared to other novels

Great fan of Wills Croft’s but this is heavy weather .... a lot of the mystery is solved in a ponderous way, and the love story wanders in and out of the plot as if the author has forgotten about it for a while and then has to shoe horn it back into the narrative. Others may disagree but I think not the best in his output... the French books are much better paced.

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

Slow and ponderous

I found the characters rather irratating as they were slow and rather stupid and were made not to see the obvious. Most of the plot was slow and plodding though sometimes it got better. It was all very cliché, but I didn't mind that so much, as it's often the way with classic murder mystery. It just was so long winded in parts without terribly engaging characters.