SOLD - Death of a Train - An Inspector French Detective Story - Freeman Wills Crofts 1946 - Hodder & Stoughton Limited, London - First Edition ‘Set during World War II, a network of German secret agents plans to derail a train carrying vital war supplies. Due to a delay another train is derailed instead, the intended one then being diverted safely round the blockage. Inspector French tracks down the conspirators, nearly losing his life in a heroic final action to prevent their escape’.   Freeman Wills Crofts (1879-1957), Irish crime writer, born in Dublin, Crofts enjoyed a successful career with Belfast and Northern Counties Railway, which eventually became a key inspiration for the settings and plots of his meticulously crafted novels, written following his retirement in 1929. In 1939 he became a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and has since been considered one of the most significant contributors to the ‘Golden Age of Detective Fiction’. Crofts was the first author to utilise the literary tactic of deconstructing a seemingly watertight alibi, a device which then went on to become a cornerstone of the genre.

First edition, copyright page stating ‘First published 1946’ and no mention of additional printings, list of books opposite title page beginning with ‘Enemy Unseen’ and ending with ‘The Losing Game’.

References: Herbert, ‘
The Oxford Companion to Crime & Mystery Writing’, 111, Haycraft, ‘Murder for Pleasure’, 122. Reilly, ’Twentieth-Century Crime and Mystery Writers’ (1980), 397.

Octavo (book size 19.1x13cm), pp. 282 [2]. In publisher’s burgundy cloth, lettered in white to spine and upper board, all edges trimmed. Dust jacket priced ‘8/6 NET’ to lower corner of front flap. Dust jacket with small 3cm line of colour touch up to crease at tail of spine.
  Condition: Near fine, light wear to corners, faint foxing to endpapers and top edge, in very good dust jacket, rubbing to corners and spine ends heavier to tail with some loss, small 3cm long line of colour touch up to crease at tail of spine, short tear to front panel, evidence of former tape repair (but no residue) to verso.   Ref: 110321   Price: HK$ 0