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From the Collins Crime Club archive, the third standalone novel by Freeman Wills Crofts, dubbed 'The King of Detective Story Writers'. Seymour Merriman's holiday in France comes to an abrupt halt when his motorcycle starts leaking petrol. Following a lorry to find fuel, he discovers that it belongs to an English company making timber pit-props for coal mines back home. His suspicions of illegal activity are aroused when he sees the exact same lorry with a different number plate – and confirmed later with the shocking discovery of a body. What began as amateur detective work ends up as a job for Inspector Willis of Scotland Yard, a job requiring tenacity, ingenuity and guile . . . Freeman Wills Crofts' transition from civil engineer on the Irish railways to world-renowned master of the detective mystery began with The Cask when he was fully 40 years old; but it was his third novel, the baffling The Pit-Prop Syndicate, that was singled out by his editors in 1930 as the first for inclusion in Collins' prestigious new series of reprints 'for crime connoisseurs'. This Detective Club classic is introduced by John Curran, author of The Hooded Gunman, and includes the bonus of an exclusive short story by Crofts, 'Danger in Shroude Valley'.