Antidote to Venom

Antidote to Venom Mr Wills Crofts is deservedly a first favourite with all who want a real puzzle Times Literary Supplement He always manages to give us something that really keeps us guessing Daily MirrorGeorge Surrid

  • Title: Antidote to Venom
  • Author: Freeman Wills Crofts
  • ISBN: 9781464203794
  • Page: 200
  • Format: Paperback
  • Mr Wills Crofts is deservedly a first favourite with all who want a real puzzle Times Literary Supplement He always manages to give us something that really keeps us guessing Daily MirrorGeorge Surridge, director of the Birmington Zoo, is a man with many worries his marriage is collapsing his finances are insecure and an outbreak of disease threatens the animals Mr Wills Crofts is deservedly a first favourite with all who want a real puzzle Times Literary Supplement He always manages to give us something that really keeps us guessing Daily MirrorGeorge Surridge, director of the Birmington Zoo, is a man with many worries his marriage is collapsing his finances are insecure and an outbreak of disease threatens the animals in his care.As Surridge s debts mount and the pressure on him increases, he begins to dream of miracle solutions But is he cunning enough to turn his dreams into reality and could he commit the most devious murder in pursuit of his goals This ingenious crime novel, with its unusual inverted structure and sympathetic portrait of a man on the edge, is one of the greatest works bythis highly respected author The elaborate means of murder devised by Crofts s characters is perhaps unsurpassed in English crime fiction for its ostentatious intricacy.This new edition is the first in several decades and includes an introduction by the award winning novelist and crime fiction expert Martin Edwards.

    331 Comment

    • Judy says:

      This is an unconventional Golden Age crime story, which starts with a long build-up to murder. Then, once the killing has happened, it's slightly like Columbo, as we follow a policeman (Crofts' series detective Inspector French) in his efforts to bring the culprit to justice. Even though by this point we know whodunit, we don't know exactly how, and there is still a fiendishly complicated riddle to unravel.The book has an intriguing setting, in and around a zoo, and author Crofts did a lot of re [...]

    • Chris says:

      The most interesting feature of Antidote to Venom is its structure: as an inverted detective novel, it starts out following the criminals and not the detective, dealing with the prelude to murder from the eyes of the guilty. In this case, the guilty is one George Surridge, director of the Birmington Zoo and desperate for money. His marriage is dry and loveless, all due to his perpetual lack of funds. He's scraped by for years waiting for an inheritance from a wealthy aunt. And when he falls for [...]

    • Gerry says:

      This is without doubt one of the most intriguing crime novels I have read for a long time. Freeman Wills Crofts called it 'an inverted story' as the events are initially seen through the eyes of the culprit(s). Only late into the novel, when Chief Inspector French enters the fray, do the usual police investigations take over. And the method works wonderfully well.The setting is unusual in that it revolves around Birmington Zoo where one of the protagonists, George Surridge, is director. Surridge [...]

    • Lou Robinson says:

      I totally love this series of British Crime Classicsd this one was a cracker. Set in the city of Birmington (I assume it's supposed to be Brum), it's a tale of how love and money are usually at the root of a good old fashioned poisoning. And although we are clear from the outset who the killer is.will they get away with it? Not revealed until the final chapter. Excellent writing style too, I shall read more from Mr Crofts.

    • Sonnet Fitzgerald says:

      Another editor turned me on to this little gem, and Wow! It's always such a pleasure when a forgotten classic turns out to be so well-crafted and accessible today.Antidote to Venom was written in the late 1920s, the heyday of literary mystery. In fact, Freeman Crofts was a contemporary of the young Agatha Christie (and at the time his books outsold hers!) Antidote to Venom is a unique murder mystery in that it is inverted: We see the buildup and crime as they occur through the eyes of the murder [...]

    • Tony says:

      ANTIDOTE TO VENOM. (1938). Freeman Wills Crofts. ***1/2.“Crofts (1879-1957) was one of the pre-eminent writers in the golden age of British crime fiction. He was the author of more than thirty detective novels and was greatly acclaimed by his peers, including Agatha Christie and Raymond Chandler.” I suspect that Croft is not widely read today, but is more important as a footnote in the history of crime fiction. He was well-known as a writer of intricate plots that well thought out. In this n [...]

    • Damaskcat says:

      This is an intriguing study of a crime and what led up to it. The reader knows from the start who was involved in the murder and why it was carried out but it is still interesting to read about how circumstances seem to conspire to lead otherwise law abiding people into crime. What is equally fascinating is the way Inspector French - coming to the case late and at first reluctantly - reasons that there was something strange about the death.George Sturridge has what for him is the perfect job. He [...]

    • tom bomp says:

      Pretty good book. Nothing super exciting but it messes with the traditional format in a neat way while still having a satisfying and interesting actual mystery. It's set up sort of like a "reverse whodunnit" but even stronger - it takes a long time for you to find out who's going to get murdered with multiple false hints as to who the victim will be and things only really get going like halfwayish through? It works well, things get set up nicely and the build-up is well done. His character writi [...]

    • John Frankham says:

      This Inspector French whodunnit has to be persevered-with, and will reward those who do so.A slow, meticulous unfolding of the way in which an upright citizen is drawn into considering actions he would not believe he might carry out. Then a slow, meticulous unfolding of the way in which Inspector French's procedural skills try to solve the case.An unusual and morality-affirming conclusion/denouement makes a satisfactory end."George Surridge, director of the Birmington Zoo, is a man with many wor [...]

    • John says:

      Although FWC is one of my very favourite authors, I felt that this inverted mystery was a bit too long. In Martin Edwards' forward he explains that Crofts was trying to show how an otherwise decent person can be drawn into temptation and allowing his (Crofts) faith to show through. While I take this on board I still feel that the build up detailing how George Surridge gradually turns from a decent man into a murderer was so long it began to get boring. When French eventually turns up on page 189 [...]

    • Michaela says:

      Gave up after 100 pages of a thoroughly unpleasant "protagonist" rationalizing immoral actions, while the people around him did same. Blech.

    • Tracy Shephard says:

      This is a crime novel with a differenceFrom the start we know who the murderer is, we know why the murder has taken place and we know how the murder was committed.George is a man who has money problems. His wife Clarissa, who has money of her own but never spends it in anyone but herself, doesn't know of George's financial state. When George starts an affair with a beautiful young woman he meets at the zoo where is the Director, his money worries become of a burden.George's  marriage to Clariss [...]

    • Helen says:

      A good yarn, back to front, in that we know who dunnit, not how or how the police catch up with the culprit. The topic - zoo, snakes and poison - was interesting, well researched and cleverly told. However, the characters, especially the main one George Surridge, weren't particularly engaging and whilst you could see very well his situational panic, his reactions to unfolding events were somewhat exaggerated. I could see a number of explanations, ways around his situation which would have ended [...]

    • Harriet Steel says:

      The British Library's mission to revive the work of mystery authors who have fallen from fashion usually produces interesting works and this vintage mystery is no exception. It's unusual in that the expected structure is inverted. Rather than needing to work out who the murderer is, the question is whether they will be found out. There's some ingenious plotting, particularly the method of the murder, and the characters are well drawn, if hard to like. There's no graphic violence or sex. The auth [...]

    • Betty Dickie says:

      Oh what a tangled web we weave. Poor George Surredge, director of the Birmington Zoo, is unhappily married, in debt, and in love with another woman. All could be set right if his wealthy aunt would just die. When she finally does he discovers that her solicitor has gambled away all her money. When he concocts a "fool proof" scheme to recover the money that depends on George's securing a poisonous snake from the zoo, George sees no other way out. All seems to be going their way until Scotland Yar [...]

    • Kishanlal Katira says:

      The 'Columbo' structure worked even better with this book, as Crofts gives even more satisfaction and suspense to having Inspector French figure out what we, the reader, already know. The ending came a little abruptly, being both a benefit and a drawback to this book. The somewhat early ending has made me thirsty for more of Crofts' works - I doubt this will be my last read of his books - yet I couldn't help but finish the book with the belief that there was more to tell here. A smooth summer re [...]

    • Johanne says:

      Another complex alibi neatly broken by Inspector French. An interesting period piece

    • Michelle says:

      None of his characters are ever likable

    • Ian says:

      I've come to really like Wills Croft as a writer, and this is a good book I much prefer the inspector French books.

    • BookishSteph1 says:

      4.5 stars. One of my favourite BLCC books so far.

    • Katrina says:

      I'm giving this just three stars as I felt it dragged quite a bit in the middle, but the ending is very good. piningforthewest/2017/0

    • John Haydon says:

      Excellent plot and weii-written.

    • Rebecca says:

      If you like an Agatha Christie or a "locked room" mystery, this one was a delight. Just republished by The Poisoned Pen Press from 1938 in a new series of '30's mysteries.

    • Kathy Shuker says:

      I have read other books by this author which I have really enjoyed but this one didn't work for me. It's very slow and having stuck with it until nearly half way, I decided to stop. The central character didn't resonate with me and the detective, Inspector French, hadn't yet made an appearance. There are so many other books that I want to read.It won't stop me reading more from this author in the future.

    • MargCal says:

      Finished reading Antidote to Venom / Freeman Wills Crofts 01 August 2016(British Library Crime Classics series) ISBN: 9780712357791This book was my choice for the Whodunits book group and initially I thought I'd made a big mistake. Crofts was writing at the same time as Agatha Christie and it's easy to see why her name lives on while Crofts is all but a footnote the the history of the crime genre.The novel starts (and continues) in a very wooden style that emphasises the dated style and expressi [...]

    • Crittermom says:

      Antidote to Venom is a unique mystery, told from two perspectives – that of the criminal and that of the Inspector investigating the case. The novel examines how an ordinary, supposedly moral man can be driven to murder – and what the effects on him may be, unlike many novels written during the Golden Age of Mystery. In Antidote to Venom, Crofts endeavors to combine the psychological with the complex plot he is best known for.George Surridge, the director of the Birmington Zoo, is an unhappy [...]

    • Kristi | Hidden Staircase | says:

      This was an unusual caper in that we don’t see Inspector French until about two-thirds of the way through the book. Instead, we spend time with George Surridge. By the time French enters the scene, the reader knows whodunit and why, but we aren’t sure how the murder was accomplished.It was interesting to witness the breakdown of George from his guilt in the part that he played in the murder. Most mysteries are told solely from the perspective of the detective, and the reader misses out on th [...]

    • Si Braybrooke says:

      A vet turned zoo director, an overbearing wife, an affair, a murder, a snake and a dodgy solicitor, what more could you want from a 1930's era book?This mystery focuses on George Surridge, the director of Birmington Zoo. George has a good life, an admirable job with a comfortable salary and house. However the financial burden from his gambling debts and his demanding wife (who he has little love for) are starting to cripple him, this is complicated further by Nancy, a woman George meets at the z [...]

    • Sarah Carpenter says:

      I received a free ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Antidote to Venom is a psychological roller coaster of a book that deals largely with guilt and conscience. After recently reading The Hog's Back Mystery, also by Freeman Wills Crofts, I was expecting this to be a mystery as well. But besides a few chapters towards the end of the book, this isn't really a mystery novel. The plot centers around George Surridge, the director of the Birmington Zoo. He is struggling with fina [...]

    • Pascale says:

      At first I was very taken with this mystery because of its location in a Midlands zoo and humdrum protagonists. Mostly they are ordinary people who have got their backs against the wall as a result of poor choices. Chief of these is George, the manager of the zoo, who finds himself cash-strapped because of a growing gambling addiction, compounded by an infatuation with a widow he decides to set up in a little cottage. When he finds out that the inheritance he was counting on to finance his doubl [...]

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