The Bloody Tower by John Rhode, also published as The Tower of Evil
“Any murder planned
my Mr. Rhode is bound to be ingenious.”—The Observer
The old man dragged his dilapidated chair
to the window. With difficulty, he slowly extended a gnarled, shaking hand and
pointed toward a distant, formless bulk outlined against the sunset. “The tower
still stands,” he said in a high-pitched, quivering voice, which seemed to
conceal a note of triumph.
Strange words from a man who has just been
told that his eldest son lies dead, killed by the inescapable explosion of his
own shotgun. To be sure, the body had been found near the tower, but what could
be the significance of this ungainly structure that the old man should mention
it so mysteriously? Could the key exist within the old letter bearing biblical
citations alongside a cipher of odd, hand-drawn shapes?
Subsequent developments draw Jimmy Waghorn
and Inspector Hanslet far from the actual crime scene in their search for the
murderer. When they finally bring their theory to that intrepid
scientist-detective, Dr. Priestley, he offers a strangely enigmatic suggestion
which throws new light on the case and sets them on the track of an amazing
“There are times when I think he is the
finest detective story writer of them all.”—The Manchester Evening Star
“He must hold the record for the invention
of ingenious ways of taking life.”—The Sunday
“It is the soundness of his method that
keeps him in the front rank of detective story artists.”—The London News
“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.
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.