'Antidote to Venom' (1938)
- ANTIDOTE TO VENOM. By Freeman Wills Crofts.
Dodd, Mead. 1938. $2.00
". . . Crofts was not especially good at creating truly believable
characters acting in a consistent and wholly believable way.
Even so, I thought that what he did in the book was brave,
unusual, and absolutely readable."
- Martin Edwards, 'Do You Write Under Your Own Name?'
"The murder method alone is one of the most astonishing
and bizarre deathtraps of this period in detective fiction.
It puts to shame the mechanical ingenuity of the gizmo in
'Fatal Descent' by Carr and Rhode, a machine I still cannot
understand. I think Crofts can be proud of this thoroughly
diabolical and unfathomably constructed device for killing
- John, 'Pretty Sinister Books'
"Speaking of that old master in crime, Freeman Wills Crofts,
behold! here he is with an excellent yarn for adult minds,
'Antidote to Venom.' The story is different in manner and
approach from 'The Cask' -- indeed, it is a detective story
written backwards, somewhat in the manner of the tales in
Austin Freeman's 'The Singing Bone.' But for all its patent
heterodoxy, it ranks high in the current output. Viper venom
causes the death of Professor Burnaby; but, the fiendish
subtlety of the murderer notwithstanding, our old friend,
Inspector French of Scotland Yard, does an excellent bit of
deduction. Here is a masterpiece of its kind, wherein the
reader has no temptation to turn to the last page because the
author lets him in on the secret long before the doughty
Inspector arrives. But don't let that innovation prejudice you."
- S. S. Van Dine, 'The Saturday Review,' March 1939
"Elderly British pathologist found dead from apparently
accidental snake-bite. Slight discrepancy piques Insp.
French, and hunt is up. - Run-with-the-hare and hunt-
with-the-hounds affair, beautifully constructed, well
characterized, and dexterously elucidated. - Verdict:
- 'The Saturday Review,' February 4, 1939, "The