Considered purely as a mystery, Puzzle actually is better than some of his later works, a point that led me to wonder, given the use of what admittedly seems rather dated Chinese material, whether Street in composing the novel drew on older, unpublished work.
On the other hand, some of his later novels, like Bones in the Brickfield (1958) and Return from the Dead (1959) are stronger, so this may not be the case. In any event, even though I actually at some length addressed accusations of racism and ethnocentrism which have been made against Street in my book Masters of the "Humdrum" Mystery (Street is hardly alone in having been the subject of these accusations; they have been made against most Golden Age mystery writer of note at one time or another), I barely considered The Chinese Puzzle in Masters. I believe the only place I mentioned the novel is in a footnote when I noted that China was supposed to be one of the many areas of expertise of Desmond Merrion, the gentleman amateur sleuth in the Miles Burton series.
So, whatever the impression given by the William Randell dust jacket pictured above (a graphically striking piece of work by one of the great Collins jacket artists, but likely in itself to raise eyebrows today), it is not a Rohmeresque extravaganza, but rather a typical Burton provincial English mystery, though with the exception of having a goodly number of Chinese characters. And that latter aspect is, of course, the crux of the matter.
I also have a piece on Patricia Wentworth coming up which I think should interest readers, so stay tuned to this channel!