this is my 900th post, and the 155th in my series of forgotten or seldom read books
Our Jubilee Is Death by Leo Bruce © 1959, this edition Academy Chicago Publishers, 1986 paperback, mystery – featuring Carolus Deene
Carolus Deene receives a letter from his niece saying there’s been an unpleasant occurrence in the seaside town of Blessington-on-Sea. It seems a woman has been found on the beach, buried standing up with only her head above the sand. The tide has washed over her at least once, and she is quite dead. Her relatives and members of her household are frantic and afraid. Could Carolus please come and straighten things out?
Well of course he could, it’s just the sort of thing he does on vacation from his position as Senior History Master at Queen’s School, Newminster. He has a reputation for solving difficult crimes, though the police are not always pleased with his “interference” which is certainly the case this time.
Denne arrives on the scene and begins to question the household, both relatives and hangers on. The deceased is a famous and wealthy mystery writer, much disliked by everyone for her arrogant, controlling, belittling ways. Deene immediately discovers two things: they all had a motive and they all are lying to him and the police. Stonewalled as he is, the slightest slip of the tongue or inconsistency between what one and another say is about all the help he is likely to get.
Naturally the murderer is discovered, but not before another murder – or is it suicide? – occurs, and as the lies continue Deene throws hands up and quits the case. But then, as he is leaving Blessington-on-Sea, there is yet another death… Of course he must stay and see the thing out.
Bruce writes the Carolus Deene books with a good deal of humor, coming close to the edge of my admittedly low tolerance for such in a mystery, but it does add entertainment value. I have read several of these, my favorite remains Death at Hallows End but this is a weak but entertaining entry in the series. Bruce also writes the Sgt Beef stories, which are quite entertaining.
Several of the Bruce books listed below have been reprinted by Chicago Academy Publishers.
Sergeant Beef series
- Case for Three Detectives (1936)
- Case Without a Corpse (1937)
- Case With Four Clowns (1939)
- Case With No Conclusion (1939)
- Case With Ropes and Rings (1940)
- Case For Sergeant Beef (1947)
- Neck and Neck (1951)
- Cold Blood (1952)
Carolus Deene series
- At Death’s Door (1955)
- Dead for a Ducat (1956)
- Death of a Cold (1956)
- Dead Man’s Shoes (1958)
- A Louse for the Hangman (1958)
- Our Jubilee Is Death (1959)
- Furious Old Women (1960)
- Jack on the Gallows Tree (1960)
- Die All, Die Merrily (1961)
- A Bone and a Hank of Hair (1961)
- Nothing Like Blood (1962)
- Such Is Death (1963)
- Death in Albert Park (1964)
- Death at Hallows End (1965)
- Death on the Black Sands (1966)
- Death of a Commuter (1967)
- Death at St. Asprey’s School (1967)
- Death on Romney Marsh (1968)
- Death with Blue Ribbon (1969)
- Death on Allhallowe’en (1970)
- Death by the Lake (1971)
- Death in the Middle Watch (1974)
- Death of a Bovver Boy (1974)