By John Rhode
First published: UK, Bles, 1953; US, Dodd Mead, as The Case of the Forty Thieves
Police procedural, with Waghorn on the trail of a criminal gang. Hard to get excited about.
Observer (Maurice Richardson, 16th August 1953):
Poisoning of a foxy fellow in a very modern village pub prompts a lively Waghorn investigation into a new pilfering racket. (It sounds rather promising; you order goods and hi-jack them while they are in transit to you.) Cosily told as ever, with some snug sessions at Westbourne Terrace…but I could do with some more domestic details about Dr. Priestley’s standard of life. He is becoming rather too dry and phantasmal, like the shadow of a piece of toast melba. As for that equivocal secretary, Harold Merefield…
NY Times (Anthony Boucher, 7th February 1954, 50w):
Superintendent Jimmy Waghorn’s bit-by-bit unveiling of these clever rackets sustains a fair amount of interest in a story weak on action and characterisation.
San Francisco Chronicle (L.G. Offord, 7th February 1954, 70w):
It’s a pretty good hunt for a gang leader, done (while Waghorn is in charge) in Rhode’s best vein. C plus.
NY Herald Tribune Bk R (James Sandoe, 14th February 1954, 100w):
This is a police novel, making its way by chain-deduction, and working here at a nicely ingenious puzzle. And it represents the steady Mr. Rhode in sound form.