In The Paddington Mystery published in 1925 by John Rhode, Harold Merefield comes home drunk one night after spending the evening at the trendy nightclub the Naxos. As he takes off his jacket, he finds a strange man in his bed. But then he is alarmed to find that the person is dead, and both the man and the need are soaked with water. The evidence suggests that the man jumped into the canal next to Harold’s room, swimming across it in order to pry open the window of Harold, a man he doesn’t know, and then die in Harold’s bed. No one steps forward to identify this body either. Even though the inquest jury returns a verdict of natural death, Harold falls under suspicion by everyone around him, so he decides to turn to an old friend math professor, Dr. Priestley, for help.
Dr. Priestley uses his mathematical mind to analyze the clues in the case and proves that using logic can outsmart the police detectives in the case. Using cold, deliberate reasoning, the professor comes alive from his typical absentmindedness. Dr. Priestley’s first client, Harold Merefield, becomes his assistant in later cases.
The Paddington Mystery is the first of 72 novels written by John Street about Dr. Priestley under the name of John Rhode. In addition, Street wrote 61 books about retired naval officer Desmond Merrion under the name of Miles Burton. Plus, he penned six more novels under the name of John Rhode, two under Miles Burton, and four more under the name Cecil Waye.
Gordon Griffin performs the audio edition of The Paddington Mystery, giving a solid performance. Griffin uses creative voices for such characters as the aging Dr. Priestley and ? . The recording does have a shift in sound quality between chapters 14 and 15, which made me feel put off by the recording.
The Paddington Mystery was of real interest, following in the footsteps of Dr. Thorndyke in the use of legal science. It took a while to get involved in the book, but it picked up as it continued. I give the book three stars.
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