|Major (Cecil) John (Charles) Street|
|Died||8 December 1964
World War I
Irish War of Independence
Cecil John Charles Street, MC, OBE (1884 – 8 December 1964; widely reported as January 1965 due to a very late obituary), who was known to his colleagues, family and friends as 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.
- 1 Novelist
- 2 Bibliography
- 2.1 Dr. Priestley Novels
- 2.2 Other Books written as John Rhode
- 2.3 Books written as Miles Burton
- 2.4 Books written as Cecil Waye
- 2.5 Books written as F.O.O (Forward Observation Officer)
- 2.6 Books written as I.O (Intelligence Officer)
- 2.7 Books written as C J C Street
- 2.8 Short Stories
- 2.9 Non Fiction – newspapers and magazines
- 2.10 Theatre
- 2.11 Unpublished material
- 2.12 Radio
- 3 References
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 Dr Thorndyke 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 ...". Symons opinion has not however prevented the Rhode and Burton books becoming much sought after by collectors and many of the early ones can command high prices. Jacques Barzun and Wendell Hertig Taylor in their A Catalogue of Crime offer a different perspective to Symons, praising several of the Rhode books in particular, though they only review a small proportion of the more than 140 titles Street produced. Curt Evans has written the only detailed account of Street's life and works "I wrote my new book, Masters of the "Humdrum" Mystery: Cecil John Charles Street, Freeman Wills Crofts, Alfred Walter Stewart and the British Detective Novel, 1920–1961 (published by McFarland Press) in part to give a long overdue reappraisal of these "Humdrum" detection writers as accomplished literary artists. Not only did they produce a goodly number of fine fair play puzzles, but their clever tales have more intrinsic interest as social documents and even sometimes as literary novels than they have been credited with having.
This bibliography has been confirmed against a standard reference.
Dr. Priestley Novels
Other Books written as John Rhode
- A.S.F.: The Story of a Great Conspiracy (1924) (U.S. title The White Menace)
- The Double Florin (1924)
- The Alarm (1925)
- Mademoiselle From Armentieres (1927)
- Drop to His Death (1939) (U.S. title Fatal Descent) with "Carter Dickson", a pseudonym of John Dickson Carr
- Night Exercise (1942) (U.S. title Dead of the Night). Sir Hector Chalgrove, acerbic businessman and Home Guard Colonel, disappears during a World War II night exercise. Major Ledbury (Officer Commanding the Wealdhurst Company, Home Guard) assists police to find the killer and assuage local suspicion of his guilt.
Books written as Miles Burton
Series characters: Inspector Henry Arnold and Desmond Merrion, except The Hardway Diamonds Mystery and Murder at the Moorings.
Books written as Cecil Waye
Series characters: Christopher and Vivienne Perrin – 'Perrins, Private Investigators'.
Books written as F.O.O (Forward Observation Officer)
- With the Guns (Eveleigh Nash Company), 1916
- The making of a gunner, 1916 at Internet Archive
- The Worldly Hope (Eveleigh Nash Company), 1917, a war novel.
Books written as I.O (Intelligence Officer)
- The Administration of Ireland, 1920, 1921 at Internet Archive
Books written as C J C Street
- Ireland in 1921, 1922 Full text at Internet Archive
- Hungary and Democracry, 1923 Full text at Internet Archive
- East of Prague, 1924 Limited view at Google Books
- The Treachery of France, 1924 Limited view at Google Books
- Lord Reading, 1928 Limited view at Google Books
- President Masaryk Ayer Publishing, 1970 Limited view at Google Books
- Vauban, Builder of Fortresses, by Daniel Halvey, translated with notes, 1929
- The Life and Voyages of Captain Cook, by Maurice Thiery, translated with notes, 1929
- On the High Seas, Cassell's Magazine of Fiction, September 1920
- The Ship's Doctor, "Sea Stories", 5 October 1923
- The Elusive Bullet, Short Stories of Detection, Ed. Dorothy L Sayers, 1936
- The Yellow Sphere, Sunday Dispatch, 3 April 1938
- The Vanishing Diamond, 1st publication unknown
- The Purple Line, Evening Standard, 20 January 1950
Non Fiction – newspapers and magazines
- Propaganda behind the Lines, Cornhill Magazine, November 1919
- Transport Problems and Reconstruction, Windsor Magazine, December 1919
- The Wireless Telephone and the Development of Modern Communications, Windsor Magazine, June 1920
- Railways of Czechoslovakia, as by Major CJC Street, "The Railway Gazette", 14 December 1923
- Slovak Peasant Art, Illustrated Review, 1923
- Slovakia Past and Present, Illustrated Review [Not confirmed], 1923
- Eastward through Czechoslovakia, Illustrated Review [Not confirmed], 1923
- In the Land of the Ruthvenes, Illustrated Review [Not confirmed], 1924
- Why People Like Detective Stories, The Listener, 2 October 1935
- Unsolved Mysteries No. 6: Solution to the "Mystery of the Murdered Lieutenant", The Star, 1938
- Sixpennyworth, featuring Inspector Jimmy Waghorn (Unperformed). The play is set in the lounge of The Spotted Dog, a pub in a town whose name is not given, "emphatically so", and involves a neat method of creating an instant blackout.
- Untitled, 48-page typescript of the opening chapters of an apparently non-series novel, set in the villages of Kildersham and Dreford and concerning a death at a pheasant shoot.
- Dr. Priestley, BBC Empire Service, talk as part of the series 'Meet the Detective', 1935
- The Strange Affair at the Old Dutch Mill, play featuring Inspector Jimmy Waghorn, BBC National Service, 7 October 1938, as part of the series 'What Happened at 8:20"
- Death Travels First, play featuring Inspector Jimmy Waghorn, BBC Home Service, 2 and 9 July 1940 as part of a series of plays by members of the Detection Club
- Director 'M.I.7(b)(1)' from April – November 1918
- The Administration of Ireland, 1920 Reprint, 2001 by Athol Books. Introduction by Dr. Pat Walsh p5
- T. J. Binyon (1989). Murder will out. Oxford University Press. pp. 50–51. ISBN 0-19-219223-X.
- Symons, Julian (1974). Bloody Murder. London: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-003794-2.
- Hubin, Allen J. (1980). Crime fiction, 1749–1980: A Comprehensive Bibliography. New York: Garland Publishing. ISBN 0-8240-9219-8.