Cecil John Charles Street was born in 1884 and died in 1964. Little else seems to be known of his life, though he had a distinguished military career, reaching the rank of Major, and was awarded the Military Cross.
Major Street was also awarded the O.B.E. (Order of the British Empire) although we have been unable to confirm whether this was for his military or literary work. We personally suspect the former, if the latter, then presumably on the grounds of of volume!
We should be very interested to hear from anyone who has more information on Street.
Street was a prolific author, with 3 pseudonyms, John Rhode, Miles Burton and Cecil Waye. He published a total of 140 novels, seventy-seven as Rhode and sixty-three as Burton.
For a complete list of his works, please see the John Rhode bibliography which also includes many more jacket illustrations.
Street's first novel was A.S.F.. Published in 1924, it was a thriller based on the cocaine trade in England. His main series character, Dr. Lancelot Priestley, made his debut in 1925 in The Paddington Mystery. Priestley is more understated than the other great detectives of the time, but is still a well crafted character. Street's work is somewhat formulaic and can seem a little pedestrian when read today. He does however, give a real flavour of the Golden Age period. His main strength was in devising methods of murder which, whilst often ingenious, focussed mainly on the puzzle and tended to leave many of the characters somewhat flat.
Street's work under the name of Miles Burton did not enjoy quite the same popularity and success as that as John Rhode, presumably due to the already established series character Dr. Priestley. Burton introduced Desmond Merrion and Inspector Arnold as his series characters and the books were just as well plotted as his other work.
With the Burton novels, Street did seem to flesh some of his characters out a little more, though the books remain firmly plot-driven.
Major Street certainly deserves his position and standing amongst collectors and readers alike, which still remains strong to this day.
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Text © 2004 R.D. Collins
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