Freeman Wills Crofts was born in Dublin in 1879, the son of a doctor in the British army, who died before he was born. He was raised in Northern Ireland and became a civil engineer. His first book, The Cask, was published in the summer of 1920, immediately establishing him as a new master of detective fiction. Scrupulously planting clues for the reader to find, he was continually praised for his flawless plotting. Crofts was a founder member of the Detection Club and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1939. He created the popular detective, Inspector French, and died in 1957 with more than 30 ingenious books to his name.