I thought I'd be reporting on this book next after having pushed past page 200, but I got antsy at the coffee shop and left a bit earlier than normal. nice walk in the sun--no reflection on how much I like the book, by the way! and I'm going to pick it up again soon.
Inspector French has done his usual, dogged beetling about, hither and then way over in the opposite direction to thither (Pop. 1280, and some rabbits), and has managed to construct a very complex, but sensible, scenario explaining a disappearance. this would be the major likely reason for what has happened to Doctor Earle. I'm not sure I buy it...because there are many pages left, and French has unearthed enough "sidebar stuff" to leave completely different options open. and this keeps the suspect pool beyond the main culprits--if by "culprits" one can even mean "culprits", since it's not clear whether anyone is actually off pushing up daisies anywhere.
I have a crazy theory (it's not that crazy) linked to an alibi that I have a bit of a problem with. I'm actually surprised my suspicions on this subject aren't echoed in Inspector French's mind by this time...and I have to wonder if, assuming I'm right, I would actually think less of the book simply based on the fact that if I can think of it almost instantly, why shouldn't a detective as clever as French at least get an inkling. but that sort of reaction from me would have to come later ("detective should have questioned weakness in alibi earlier--was not that hard to see"), and anyway, if I'm wrong, and barking up the wrong tree, then I'm the one who is going to feel clueless, not French. it should be noted that the person whose alibi I question as not being totally watertight is not, shall I say, connected to the main "probable explanation for all this sneaky weirdness", including most obvious motives, so if I'm right, then I have successfully flipped around everything that is apparent, to support a completely other theory. and that includes a rather wild motive, as theorized by me. if I'm going down in flames, it's probably gonna have to do with messing up on motive...
regardless, I like yet another Crofts novel a lot, but I don't know yet if it can, for instance, become one of my "Top 3" or so.