From the Collins Crime Club archive, the third standalone novel by Freeman Wills Crofts, dubbed `The King of Detective Story Writers'. Seymour Merriman's holiday in France comes to an abrupt halt when his motorcycle starts leaking petrol. Following a lorry to find fuel, he discovers that it belongs to an English company making timber pit-props for coal mines back home. His suspicions of illegal activity are aroused when he sees the exact same lorry with a different number plate - and confirmed later with the shocking discovery of a body. What began as amateur detective work ends up as a job for Inspector Willis of Scotland Yard, a job requiring tenacity, ingenuity and guile . . . Freeman Wills Crofts' transition from civil engineer on the Irish railways to world-renowned master of the detective mystery began with The Cask when he was fully 40 years old; but it was his third novel, the baffling The Pit-Prop Syndicate, that was singled out by his editors in 1930 as the first for inclusion in Collins' prestigious new series of reprints `for crime connoisseurs'. This Detective Club classic is introduced by John Curran, author of The Hooded Gunman, and includes the bonus of an exclusive short story by Crofts, `Danger in Shroude Valley'.