Pinehurst (1930) by John Rhode

pinehurstA simple case of manslaughter due to drunk driving. Or is it? Luckily, Superintendent Hanslet is on the scene and is bothered by the case. Was the driver really so drunk that he forgot that he had knocked someone over and then put them into the back of his car, only for the body to be discover when, due to the “being drunk” bit, he subsequently crashes the car? And if that was the case, what happened to the plaster bust that he thought was in the car?

Enter Dr Priestley, sufficiently intrigued by the case to investigate. But he is more concerned with Pinehurst, the estate of the victim of the crime. It seems to be under siege from a slew of burglars, both before and after the death. Are the thefts and the death related? How does it tie into the boat moored on the estate? Is there hidden treasure to be found?

Oh dear. I’ve mentioned before that the general consensus of Rhode’s work is that it starts strong and generally tails off. Pinehurst, alternatively known as Dr Priestley Investigates, is only the ninth book in the Dr Priestley series, directly following the excellent Peril At Cranbury Hall. In fact, I was so certain of the strength of this one, I even bought a second (cheapish) copy in my role as blogging Secret Santa. Sorry, Kate, but this one is an utter stinker.

It gets bogged down quickly into the secret of Pinehurst itself and for large portions forgets about the initial death, but it’s not until a late massive infusion of backstory that things start to make anything approaching sense. But, to be honest, I’d tuned out by then and really couldn’t give a flying monkeys about what was hidden where. But with so little that can be worked out or even guessed at until this information dump happens, there is little here to hold the reader’s attention.

So, nice to see that Rhode has another string to his bow, but a shame that it’s such a weak one. A massive disappointment – whatever you do, don’t make this your first Rhode. Not Recommended.


    • That’s the cover from the first reprint circa 1946 published by Geoffrey Bles. All of the Rhode releases/reprints from this range have got black and white (mostly black) photo covers. What interests me more is the fact that this is apparently “John Rhode’s Mystery Novel” He did write more than one, and the rest are mostly much better than this…


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