“One always embarks
on a John Rhode book with a great sense of security. One knows that there will
be a sound plot, well-knit process of reasoning, and a solidly satisfying
solution with no loose ends or careless errors of fact.”—Dorothy Sayers
From the Jacket:
Fair blew the wind
from France, and the Channel steamer Isle of Jethou rolled a bit in the stiff
south-westerly breeze. But the rough crossing didn’t upset the mysterious
passenger who had locked himself into his cabin as soon as he boarded the boat
at Guernsey. The same desire for seclusion had manifested itself on the boat-train
to Waterloo, for the guard had been presented with a pound-note to reserve a
compartment for Mr. Mystery. But did he travel alone? For at Waterloo the
gentleman from Guernsey was a pretty genuine corpse. Death on the Boat-Train is
a first-rate detective story, once again featuring the coldly clever scientific
mind of Dr. Priestley, John Rhode’s brilliant creation.
“London publisher shot in automatic elevator. Dr. Horatio Glass and Insp. Hornbeam pool wits—and humor—to spot the killer. Neat variation of good old ‘hermetically sealed room’ problem, with two authors—and their sleuths—working beautifully in harness. Verdict: Top Drawer”—The Saturday Review
A seemingly impossible murder in a private elevator draws two sleuths to the case. Inspector Hornbeam and Dr. Horatio Glass are at odds from the beginning, each dismissive of the other’s theories, thus creating an atmosphere as much of competition as cooperation.
From the novel:
The elevator was perhaps six feet square by eight feet high, with steel walls painted to imitate bronze. Sir Ernest Tallant sat very quietly in the rear right-hand corner. His legs were outthrust stiffly, his back bent a little forward; and the brim of the rakish gray hat shaded his face. He might have been a grotesque parody of Little Jack Horner, if it had not been for the widening bloodstains on the left breast of his jacket. His umbrella lay beside him, also looking oddly childish like his posture. Under each roof corner of the elevator there was a tiny electric light; these four little lights illumined even the wrinkles on the backs of the man’s hands, and glittered on the pieces of broken glass.
Published in the United Kingdom as Drop to His Death
When Harold Merefield returned home in the early hours of a winter morning from a festive little party at that popular nightclub, the ‘Naxos’, he was startled by a gruesome discovery. On his bed was a corpse.
There was nothing to show the identity of the dead man or the cause of his death. At the inquest, the jury found a verdict of ‘Death from Natural Causes’ – perhaps they were right, but yet . . . ?
Harold determined to investigate the matter for himself and sought the help of Professor Priestley, who, by the simple but unusual method of logical reasoning, succeeded in throwing light upon what proved to be a very curious affair indeed.
This Detective Club classic is introduced by crime writing historian and expert Tony Medawar, who looks at how John Rhode, who also wrote as Miles Burton and as Cecil Waye, became one of the best-selling and most popular British authors of the Golden Age.