The Futile Alibi - An Inspector French Detective Story - Freeman Wills Crofts 1938 - Dodd, New York - First American Edition ‘A successful financier is found dead in his houseboat at Henley during the Regatta. It looks like suicide but Inspector French is worried about the case.’   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 American edition, copyright page stating ‘Copyright 1938’ and no mention of additional printings. First published the same year under the title ‘The end of Andrew Harrison’ by Hodder and Stoughton, London.

References: Herbert, ‘
The Oxford Companion to Crime & Mystery Writing’, 111, Haycraft, ‘Murder for Pleasure’, 122. Reilly, ’Twentieth-Century Crime and Mystery Writers’ (1980), 396.

Octavo (book size 19.2x14cm), pp. [10] 310. In publisher’s green cloth lettered in black to spine and with publisher’s ‘Red Badge Detective’ emblem in black to upper board, top edge tinted green, fore-edge untrimmed, cream ‘Red Badge Detective’ endpapers illustrated in red. Dust jacket priced ‘$2.00’ to upper corner of front flap, all corners with publisher’s decorative trim, and slightly shorter than book, as seen with other copies. Dust jacket with colour touch up to folds, edges and spine, minor paper restoration to upper and lower edges.
  Near fine, light rubbing to cloth at corners and spine ends, in very good dust jacket with colour touch up to folds, edges and spine, minor paper restoration to upper and lower edges.   Condition:   Ref: 110319   Price: HK$ 3,000