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The Paddington Mystery

Detective Club Crime Classics
Narrated by: Gordon Griffin
Series: Dr. Priestley, Book 1
Length: 5 hrs and 35 mins
4 out of 5 stars (45 ratings)

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Summary

A special release of the very first crime novel by John Rhode, introducing Dr Priestley, the genius detective who would go on to appear in more than 70 best-selling crime novels during the golden age.

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.

©2018 John Rhode (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"One always embarks on a John Rhode book with a great feeling of security. One knows that there will be a sound plot, a well-knit process of reasoning and a solidly satisfying solution with no loose ends or careless errors of fact." (Dorothy L. Sayers in The Sunday Times)

"He must hold the record for the invention of ingenious ways of taking life." (Sunday Times

"Any murder planned by Mr Rhode is bound to be ingenious." (Observer)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

very transparent plot, boring.

Struggled to finish hardly describes it. Not recommended. I usually enjoy dated Ktimis but this was a flop.

1 person found this helpful

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Entertaining but predictable

I enjoyed the writing and the verbal delivery, but the solution to the mystery was blindingly obvious.

3 people found this helpful

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Dull

Fairly predictable story, which would be okay if anything actually happened in it. Instead it's just a logical problem dealt with from the armchair of Dr Priestly with a bit of befuddled questioning by the main character and Priestly's unbelievably wet daughter.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Fine story, but who's the other reader?

'Read by Gordon Griffin.' Three chapters are read by somebody else. Who and why? It somewhat spoils the continuity. Gordon Griffin (assuming it was he who read most of the book) was preferable.

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Not the star ratings I would choose

The automatic star rating system wouldn’t let me give it 1star. I couldn’t get into it and therefore returned it.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 22-11-18

Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea, But I Enjoyed It

Mostly because I have a soft spot for that between-the-wars world of P. G. Wodehouse, when, before the Internet, life was less instantaneous, gentlemen were still expected to act gently, women were ladies and fictional crime, even when tinged with the lurid, was written of in a hands-off manner that robbed it of most of its voyeuristic thrills. Also, I have absolutely no objection to a mystery in which, before the final summing up, I’m able to figure out some—not all, but some—of the solution.

I bought this one on the strength of a short story by John Rhode in Tony Medawar’s Bodies from the Library, a collection of until-now lost or forgotten mysteries from crime fiction’s Golden Age. And I will continue to use that helpful volume as a Baedeker to the works of the less-remembered lights of that era.

For all that, I do have some reservations. Chiefly, The Paddington Mystery lacks that buoyant sense of humor that sustains the storylines of the better Golden Age works. And I admit that, at times, I did feel the story could have moved a tad more quickly. Finally, through 13 chapters Gordon Griffin sounds as if he has a stuffed-up nose. Then, at chapter 14, he suddenly gets better: crisper, cleaner. It’s not his fault, of course; someone was asleep at the soundboard. In spite of that, he still does a fine job; characters are easily distinguishable, and he understands and can express the shape and cadence of well-wrought English sentences.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Virginia
  • 01-01-19

Give it a try

A little slow to get going but then was really enjoyable. I will be reading more by John Rhode.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Laura
  • 25-02-19

Very dated, not in a good way

Every plot point is telegraphed a mile away, and the characters aren't defined enough to compensate. VERY heavy anti-Semitic stereotyping. The style is "tell, don't show". Interesting as an artefact of the time if Golden Age detective novels are you thing, but I'd go for stronger novels, Iles or Sayers. Narrator does his best with thin material.

3 people found this helpful