Case for Three Detectives
Leo Bruce (Rupert Croft-Cooke) © 1936, this edition 1997 trade paper published by Academy Chicago Publishers
Leo Bruce is the pseudonym of Rupert Croft-Cooke, who wrote two series, one featuring Carolus Deene, the other featuring Sgt. Beef. The majority of the Sgt. Beef books have “Case for” beginning the title.
Here is a typical English country estate type mystery, combined with a locked room puzzle. There are several guests at the manor, each with a history. When the lady of the manor has her throat cut and her pearls stolen in a locked room, Three detectives arrive on the scene, each determined to solve the crime.
Each of these private detectives is a parody of a famous fictional sleuth: Sir Peter Whimsy, Hercule Poirot, Father Brown. They all investigate the crime, and one after the other each gives his perfectly plausible – at least in this setting – explanation of the method and motive of the crime, then announces the identity of the killer. But no two of them agree, and it’s left to the stolid, plodding Sgt. Beef to have the last word.
Unusual and entertaining.
A note on the availability of this and other books by Leo Bruce: This is the only Sgt. Beef novel in print by Academy Chicago Publishers. Also available is a collection of stories, Murder in Miniature and Other Stories several of which feature Sgt. Beef. Also in print are several of the Carolus Deene books, in which Deene solves a variety of murders and related crimes through the use of logic and his understanding of human nature.
Don’t forget to see Patti Abbott’s web-blog here for the list of all Friday Forgotten Book reviews, each week!