“The murders are
most ingeniously planned and executed, and even Dr. Priestley is put to a
severe test before the story is ended.” —The New York Times
Constable Frean had
an unpleasant sensation that he was not, as he seemed to be, patrolling a
respectable London suburb, but was back at the Front in the year 1918, enduring
a particularly vicious bombardment. Crash! With a roar like a bursting shell
the roof of a nearby house blew off. Heading a rescue party, the constable
found part of the house in ruins, and the owner, Sir Andrew Wiggenhall,
missing. Eventually, his remains, or part of them, were discovered in the
garden. Thus passed the Chairman of the Board of Porslin Ltd.
Some months later
another member of the same board of directors died in mysterious circumstances.
Still another followed shortly.
“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.
Victor Harleston awoke with uncharacteristic optimism. Today he would be rich at last. Half an hour later, he gulped down his breakfast coffee and pitched to the floor, gasping and twitching. When the doctor arrived, he recognised instantly that it was a fatal case of poisoning and called in Scotland Yard.
Despite an almost complete absence of clues, the circumstances were so suspicious that Inspector Hanslet soon referred the evidence to his friend and mentor, Dr Lancelot Priestley, whose deductions revealed a diabolically ingenious murder that would require equally fiendish ingenuity to solve.
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
Published in the
United Kingdom as The Motor Rally Mystery
“For sheer ingenuity in plot and execution,
John Rhode has few if any equals in detective fiction.”—The Saturday Review
The death of Lessingham and his companion,
Purvis, was, indeed, a tragic affair; but an automobile accident, especially
one occurring in a race, rarely arouses suspicion. Sergeant Showerby, however,
was a conscientious soul. His duty was to investigate thoroughly and
investigate he did, with results that were suspicious enough to arouse
Inspector Hanslet of Scotland Yard and, through him, the great criminologist,
At first, there is so little evidence that
one cannot understand Dr. Priestley’s interest in the case. Then, one by one,
clues appear—not the ordinary clues which fall fortuitously in a detective’s
lap, but clues that are found because the Doctor, by his famous process of
logical deduction, knows where to look for them. Gradually a pattern forms so
diabolical in its simplicity and effectiveness that Dr. Priestley is forced to
set a dramatic trap which very nearly ends the lives of both detective and
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.
The new Comet was fully expected to be the sensation of the annual Motor Show at Olympia. Suddenly, in the middle of the dense crowd of eager spectators, an elderly man lurched forward and collapsed in a dead faint. But Nahum Pershore had not fainted. He was dead, and it was his death that was to provide the real sensation of the show.
A post-mortem revealed no visible wound, no serious organic disorder, no evidence of poison. Doctors and detectives were equally baffled, and the more they investigated, the more insoluble the puzzle became. Even Dr Lancelot Priestley’s un-rivalled powers of deduction were struggling to solve this case.