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The Hog's Back Mystery - Freeman Wills Crofts

much, much, has happened in this book since I checked in not long ago, and then decided to read on. the case has "broken open", so to speak--shocking developments, that will allow Inspector French to really focus, beyond having theories but not enough facts. some facts are in...some of them gruesome.

 

my left-field theory is still in play, but it's not like I have everything figured out. I'm not watching for twelve things I've figured out to gradually slide into place--no no, my brain isn't that big. it's more like, I've spotted an alibi I think is weaker than it looks, which would basically mean I must be on to the orchestrator of all this skullduggery (although Murphy's Law suggests that maybe if someone is revealed to be lying about an alibi, wouldn't it be just my luck if that person somehow still wasn't guilty of terrible crimes, but merely another link in a longer chain--ah, these brilliant writers!); and there's also something that was alluded to at certain points in this novel that I think is much more significant than anyone else seems to believe, and that that "something" is a crime where no one seems to be allowing for the fact that a crime actually occurred...including French!

 

so, really, based on two things stuck in my mind that seem to have been sneaked into the narrative, I've constructed a theory full of enough "dark fields" that even if I'm right, I still need at least ten things explained to me that connect to the two things I maybe have figured out. and that assumes I'm not completely WRONG about my "two things".

 

final natterings up to this point: this is a Buddy Read, and by the time the dust has settled, it's going to be interesting to see if anyone penalizes Crofts, in rating or review, for his style, or the lack of it. I got into this author's novels after reading his essay in The Anatomy of Murder, which gave his account of a famous real-life murder and how it was solved due to intrepid investigation. I loved his meticulous attention to detail, his determination to make me live and breath every piece of the puzzle being presented, but I found his style a bit dry and felt that in fiction, he might fail to heighten drama at points where that would be needed, and also, that his characters might not nearly be as strong as intricately-constructed whodunits. several books later, I find his style more relaxing and streamlined than dull, and I have accepted his approach to characterization and  heightened suspense or drama as different than what I'm used to--or would even normally prefer--but not necessarily sub-par. he does work to give characters personalities--even the bit players--but he moves quick to fill out complex plots, he does not try and milk the drama, and he certainly does not try and create deep, "Psychological" Crime novels. no one's soul is in angst for ten pages; instead, French is running off somewhere again.

 

but for some, his style might be boring. certainly, Poirot is a molten sun of personality compared to French. but, somewhere along the line, Crofts' particular way of telling a story became soothing to me: I don't waste energy waiting for what he will not offer in his books; I enjoy immensely what he does give me...and it flows ever forward like water...with a body in it.