Monday, September 19, 2022

Butcher's Dozens:The Thirteen Best John Rhodes and the Thirteen Best Miles Burtons

Cecil John Charles Street was both John Rhode and Miles Burton, so it's cheating a bit to allow him two sets of bests, I suppose, but then we are talking 140 novels!  I think the man deserves it.

Best John Rhodes (all with Dr. Priestley)

The House on Tollard Ridge 1929 classic case of Rhodian murder gadgetry and some good spookery

The Davidson Case 1929 Early use of a famous gambit, which Dashiell Hammett thought unfair, with some interesting philosophical reflections 

The Claverton Affair 1933 classic poisoning case in gloomy house with spiritualism too

The Robthorne Mystery 1934 dares to use twins, in violation of Father Knox--can you go to Hell for that?

Poison for One 1934 another classic poisonings

Shot at Dawn 1934 the last word on tides

The Corpse in the Car 1935 yet another classic poisoning with some acute satire

Death on the Board 1937 classic multi-murder case with a multiplicity of ingenious murders, with some acute social commentary

Invisible Weapons 1938 a rare venture into locked rooms

The Bloody Tower 1938 family curses and rural squalor

Death at the Helm 1941 another classic poisoning, with serious treatment of love triangle

They Watched by Night 1941 classic wartime tale

Death in Harley Street 1946 death that is neither accident nor suicide nor murder???

Best Miles Burtons

The Secret of High Eldersham 1930 a classic treatment of the witchcraft theme

Where Is Barbara Prentice ? 1936 high  jiggery pokery with a body

Death in the Tunnel 1936 if you want to stage a railroad tunnel murder, this is the way to do it

Death Visits Downspring 1941--wartime mystery; the butler didn't do it but it was done to him

Murder M. D. 1943 (strong character interest in this one)

The Three Corpse Trick 1944 striking complexity in a tiny habitation

The Cat Jumps 1946 one of the early cat mysteries and a locked room situation

Situation Vacant 1946 Why do the secretaries keep dying in the village?

Death Takes the Living 1949 not his most brilliant plot but an interesting look with disgruntlement at post war England

Ground for Suspicion 1950 excellent postwar provincial mystery

Murder in Absence 1954 partially a cruise mystery, though it's a tramp steamer

The Moth Watch Murder 1957 notably unique specimen

Bones in the Brickfield 1958 excellent late village mystery involving a found dinosaur fossil


  1. So - no Vegetable Duck or Family Affairs?

  2. Thanks for this list as well as the Rhode/Burton ones you did last year by time period / decade. With an author as prolific as Cecil John Charles Street under the Rhode / Burton / Waye pseudonyms, I leverage impressive bloggers' knowledge like yours to curate the best of the best titles reading the great ones and avoiding the others ... especially given how rare and (way too) expensive used copies are. I am not someone who likes e-books.

    I agree with Nick that Vegetable Duck is one of the better titles and I remember that you rated it highly at five stars in your Rhode / Burton lists last year.

    1. I got the itch to change it a bit around! But Vegetable Duck was on the cusp, also Family Affairs as Nick suggested. Would have knocked out Death at the Helm and Bloody Tower, probably! As pure detective novels I would rate those two higher.

      One thing that struck me doing this list, I still think Rhodes are better than Burtons in Street's prime, but in the Fifties Burtons were better than Rhodes, on the whole.