the story flows along quickly and intriguingly, but there's no denying that a lot of this ultra-linear narrative (no surprise, with Crofts) has had Inspector French focusing on one main suspect, collecting buckets of evidence that implicates him, and trying to find out where he is hiding. meanwhile, other investigations have done much to clear and absolve another fellow, who, it seems--though initially a good bet as a culprit--could not have done it. naturally, my eye is on the man who is now in the clear. or should I be looking beyond all this that is being thrust at me? hmm. well, this book's rating will almost certainly benefit from a surprise, a twist that shocks me, rather than just cornering a fugitive. it will be a pity if things get wrapped up with confirmation of just the obvious. but he blew me away with the surprises--all through and at the finale--of Inspector French and the Sea Mystery, so I know that Crofts' supposed straightforwardness can suddenly, brilliantly dissolve into thin air.