Over at Nick Fuller’s great GAD website, The Grandest Game in the World, Nick calls Residence “the most tedious Burton I’ve read so far” and complains, with justification, that “the solution is obvious by the end of Chapter 3.” I wouldn’t describe this book as tedious; it reminds me just how consistent Cecil John Charles Street is as a writer. His plotlines and prose never really mystify or dazzle (at least they don’t for me), but they are usually modestly engaging and keep the investigation reliably moving forward. (There is certainly no inner monologuing or overdescription of setting that other mystery writers might indulge in, and that is modestly admirable.) The criticism of the puzzle being over-obvious is a fair one, and it is not exclusive to this Rhode/Burton title; if the reader has figured out the details, then we are waiting for the author to have his detective catch up, hence the tedium.
This Undesirable Residence was published in the U.S. as Death at Ash House (Doubleday, Doran & Co., also 1942). I am grateful for a robust academic interlibrary loan system that lets me sample these desirable properties in a market that would otherwise be well out of my price range.