Dr. Priestley Detective Series


This post was intended as a private note for my reference only, but I thought it may be of some interest for readers of this blog.

Cecil John Charles Street, MC, OBE, (1884 – 1964), known as CJC Street and John Street, began his military career as an artillery officer in the British army. During the course of World War I, he became a propagandist for MI7, in which role he held the rank of Major. After the armistice, he alternated between Dublin and London during the Irish War of Independence as Information Officer for Dublin Castle, working closely with Lionel Curtis. He later earned his living as a prolific writer of detective novels.

He produced two long series of novels; one under the name of John Rhode featuring the forensic scientist Dr Priestley, and another under the name of Miles Burton featuring the investigator Desmond Merrion. Under the name Cecil Waye, Street produced four novels: The Figure of Eight; The End of the Chase; The Prime Minister’s Pencil; and Murder at Monk’s Barn. The Dr. Priestley novels were among the first after Sherlock Holmes to feature scientific detection of crime, such as analysing the mud on a suspect’s shoes. Desmond Merrion is an amateur detective who works with Scotland Yard’s Inspector Arnold.

Critic and author Julian Symons places this author as a prominent member of the “Humdrum” school of detective fiction. “Most of them came late to writing fiction, and few had much talent for it. They had some skill in constructing puzzles, nothing more, and ironically they fulfilled much better than S. S. Van Dine his dictum that the detective story properly belonged in the category of riddles or crossword puzzles. Most of the Humdrums were British, and among the best known of them were Major John Street. (Source: Wikipedia and Goodreads)

So far the following titles in the Dr Priestley detective series are available on Kindle format at Amazon.es

Mystery at Olympia (1935) (U.S. title Murder at the Motor Show)

In Face of the Verdict (1936) (U.S. title In the Face of the Verdict)

Proceed with Caution (1937) (U.S. title Body Unidentified)

Death of a Bridegroom (1957)

Murder at Derivale (1958) 13562889

Death Takes a Partner (1958)

Licensed For Murder (1958)

The Fatal Pool (1960)

I’m currently reading The Fatal Pool (NightHawk Books, 2016, Kindle format, ASIN: B01MQH1NV6) as my third contribution to Crimes of the Century hosted at Past Offences. The year for this month is #1960.

Book Description: The Fatal Pool, (book no. 71 in the Dr. Priestley series) was originally published in 1960 by Dodd, Mead & Company, New York. Author John Rhode, a pen name of Cecil Street (1884-1964), was a prolific writer of mostly detective novels, publishing more than 140 books between 1924 and 1961. In The Fatal Pool, the family and friends of Colonel Gayton have gathered together at Framby Hall, and while most of the guests are at breakfast, Yvonne Bardwell is found drowned but with bruises on her shoulders indicating that she was held under the water. The mystery centers around the fact that as nearly the entire household was eating breakfast together, how could one of them have slipped away and murdered Yvonne?

3 thoughts on “Dr. Priestley Detective Series

  1. Pingback: Warning!!! | A Crime is Afoot

  2. Just thought it was worth pointing out – I’m not convinced how legit these releases are. All of the titles are available for free (if not legally in this country) on the Internet Archive. I’m really not sure if the publisher has the rights to these from the estate…

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