Book Review: Dr. Priestley Lays A Trap by John Rhode (Dr. Priestley, 6)

Dr. Priestley Lays a Trap is a classic golden age mystery novel that offers readers a thrilling and complex puzzle to solve. The book takes place in the 1930s, a time when motor rallies were popular in England. The story starts with the tragic deaths of two men, Lessingham and Purvis, who were involved in a car accident during a race. While the accident seems like a tragic mishap, Sergeant Showerby, a local police officer, becomes suspicious and starts to investigate. His findings catch the attention of Inspector Hanslet of Scotland Yard, who brings in the renowned criminologist, Dr. Priestley, to help solve the case.

The plot of the novel is cleverly constructed and full of unexpected twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the end. The story is narrated in a straightforward and unassuming manner, with the focus on the investigation and the gathering of clues. The novel is not action-packed or filled with thrilling chases or shootouts, but rather it is a cerebral mystery that challenges readers to use their intellect and reasoning skills to uncover the truth.

One of the strengths of the book is its well-developed characters. Each character is unique, with their own quirks and flaws that make them interesting and believable. The book’s central character, Dr. Priestley, is an enigmatic and highly intelligent criminologist who approaches the case with a meticulous and methodical style. He is not a typical detective in the sense that he does not go out into the field to gather clues but rather works from his office, relying on his extensive knowledge of criminal psychology to solve the case.

The supporting characters are equally well-drawn, from the local police officers to the suspects and witnesses. The suspects are all plausible, and the author does a good job of creating a sense of doubt and uncertainty around each of them. The author’s attention to detail and his ability to create a sense of time and place also add to the novel’s appeal. The story is set in the English countryside, and the descriptions of the landscapes, the towns, and the people give readers a vivid sense of the era.

The novel’s pacing is steady and deliberate, with the story unfolding at a steady pace that keeps readers engaged. The book’s length is relatively short, and the author does a good job of keeping the story focused and free from unnecessary diversions. The mystery itself is complex, with plenty of red herrings and false leads that keep readers guessing until the end.

One potential weakness of the book is its somewhat dated language and style. The novel was written in the 1930s, and the language and phrasing reflect the era. Some readers may find the language archaic or stilted, but for those who enjoy classic mysteries, this will not be an issue.

Dr. Priestley Lays a Trap is a well-crafted and entertaining mystery that will appeal to fans of classic whodunits. The book’s characters, plot, and setting contribute to its overall appeal, and the author’s skillful writing and attention to detail make it a pleasure to read. The book may be short and lacking in action, but it is an intelligent and engrossing mystery that will challenge readers to use their minds to solve the case. You can get a copy of this book from Amazon here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s