Inspector French’s Greatest Case by Freeman Wills Crofts was first published in 1925. I’ve read a few books by the same author and I think this one is unfortunately titled as I found it to be really slow and tedious, and worst of all I sussed out exactly how it was going to take shape very early on.
It begins with a murder and diamond theft in London’s Hatton Garden. Inspector French of Scotland Yard is in charge of the case and for a long time he doesn’t really get anywhere close to solving it (not as close as I got anyway!!). French ends up trailing a suspect to France and Spain before ending up in Holland which is of course famous for its diamond industry and he eventually solves the case. It took 250 pages to get there which is quite long for a vintage crime book. In fairness it is one of Freeman Wills Crofts earlier books and I think he did improve a lot over the years, he published his last book in 1957. I was glad to get to the end of this one anyway and on to something better – which is The Pastor’s Wife by Elizabeth von Arnim, and I’m happy to say that I’m really enjoying it although I haven’t got very far into it yet.