The Pit-Prop Syndicate by Freeman Wills Crofts

The Pit-Prop Syndicate by Freeman Wills Crofts

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Stranded on a French highway, a wine merchant discovers a conspiracy

Twenty-six kilometers from Bordeaux, Seymour Merriman’s motorcycle runs low on gas. He is waiting for a passing motorist to come to his rescue when he notices a lorry turn down a nearby country road. Following it leads him to a mill, where an English firm manufactures pit-props for coal mines. They give him two liters of petrol and send him on his way, but not before he sees something odd. The lorry he saw on the road was marked No. 4, but it has been changed to No. 3—a peculiar incident that will lead Merriman into the greatest danger he has ever known.

With the help of a customs officer, Merriman looks into the mill’s business, and discovers that nothing about the little English firm is as it seems. All he wanted was a few liters of petrol, but he has stumbled across the century’s most fiendish crime.

This ebook features a new introduction by Otto Penzler and has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices.


“This early story by Freeman Wills Crofts has lost nothing in the passage of time: indeed, it seems almost better than ever. . . . One of the classics of modern crime fiction.” —The New York Times

“The soundest builder of them all.” —Raymond Chandler

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