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Review: Crofts, Freeman Wills - The Loss of the Jane Vosper (1936)

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  • Jon Jermey
    The cargo ship Jane Vosper is en route from London to South America when four mysterious explosions in the hold send her to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 1, 2007
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      The cargo ship Jane Vosper is en route from London to South America when
      four mysterious explosions in the hold send her to the bottom of the
      Atlantic Ocean. The crew take to the lifeboats and are rescued, and a
      coronial enquiry in London finds the sinking was no fault of theirs. The
      shipping company hires a private detective to investigate, and when he
      too disappears the case becomes one for Chief Inspector Joseph French.

      French's method is slow but sure; he interviews, searches and deduces,
      and gradually the whole resources of the British police are called in to
      uncover what turns out to be a diabolical plot. There are lots of dead
      ends, but when the criminals are finally apprehended, French has more
      than enough evidence to make the hanging charges stick.

      The seaborne scenes are done well and so is the enquiry. French is
      dogged rather than inspired, and if his maths were a little better he
      could have solved the whole case much sooner. But it is all entertaining
      stuff. I was particularly amused to read Crofts' offhand comment on the
      proceedings: 'Not a single woman or girl was present; all were men.' A
      modern writer would get themselves into all sorts of trouble that way.

      Jon.
    • vegetableduck
      I give an extra star to any Crofts novel that does not rely heavily on railway timetables! Curt ... America when ... the ... and a ... theirs. The ... when he
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 2, 2007
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        I give an extra star to any Crofts novel that does not rely heavily
        on railway timetables!

        Curt

        --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, Jon Jermey <jonjermey@...> wrote:
        >
        > The cargo ship Jane Vosper is en route from London to South
        America when
        > four mysterious explosions in the hold send her to the bottom of
        the
        > Atlantic Ocean. The crew take to the lifeboats and are rescued,
        and a
        > coronial enquiry in London finds the sinking was no fault of
        theirs. The
        > shipping company hires a private detective to investigate, and
        when he
        > too disappears the case becomes one for Chief Inspector Joseph
        French.
        >
        > French's method is slow but sure; he interviews, searches and
        deduces,
        > and gradually the whole resources of the British police are called
        in to
        > uncover what turns out to be a diabolical plot. There are lots of
        dead
        > ends, but when the criminals are finally apprehended, French has
        more
        > than enough evidence to make the hanging charges stick.
        >
        > The seaborne scenes are done well and so is the enquiry. French is
        > dogged rather than inspired, and if his maths were a little better
        he
        > could have solved the whole case much sooner. But it is all
        entertaining
        > stuff. I was particularly amused to read Crofts' offhand comment
        on the
        > proceedings: 'Not a single woman or girl was present; all were
        men.' A
        > modern writer would get themselves into all sorts of trouble that
        way.
        >
        > Jon.
        >
      • Nicholas Fuller
        My review: Crofts all too treacherously arouses the reader’s expectations with a dramatic opening depicting the sinking of a ship at sea, no lives lost. The
        Message 3 of 4 , Feb 2, 2007
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          My review:

          Crofts all too treacherously arouses the readerÂ’s expectations with a dramatic opening depicting the sinking of a ship at sea, no lives lost. The growing certainty that the ship was sabotaged for the insurance and the disappearance of a private detective bring in French, who is at his most plodding and pedantic; indeed, the early sections of the investigation are among the most boring I've read by Crofts, which means the most boring ever. The plot is equally boring: the identity of the villains is irrelevant, as in a lot of humdrum books, while the how is obvious halfway through. Bah.

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