ffb: Our Jubilee Is Death by Leo Bruce

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

Our Jubilee Is DeathCarolus 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)

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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10 Responses to ffb: Our Jubilee Is Death by Leo Bruce

  1. First, well done on your 9th century – bloody hell, you’ll have to break out the bunting for the mellennium! I have only read his Beef books – thanks for all the details on this series Richard, I think I have one of these on the shelf, somewhere ….

  2. Good deal on the 900th.

    This is one author I’m not familiar with.

  3. I’m getting very tempted to read some of the Leo Bruce books I have stacked up. Nice review!

  4. Richard, I’m with Randy and George on both counts, although in my case this is the first time I heard of Leo Bruce and both his series.

  5. Ronald Smyth says:

    While I’m a huge fan of the Sgt. Beef series I found this book to be absolutely terrible. I thought that the whole plot was just absurd. I have read one or two others in the Deene series that were much better.

  6. Richard says:

    Ronald, I agree this is a weak entry in the series. My favorite of those I’ve read so far remains Murder At Hallows End. I’ll be reading a couple more in the series soon and expect to like them better.

  7. Richard says:

    Prashant, thank you. This is a series that tends to be uneven, but many of the books are enjoyable. I have only read one of the Sgt. Beef books, but have a couple more on the way. I tend to read Bruce “when I’m in the right mood”, if you know what I mean.

  8. Yvette says:

    Congrats on your 900th post, Richard. I love the sound of this series – the author of which I’d never heard of before. I’m adding the series to my TBR list of stuff I must hunt around for. I’ll check my library but I’m not hopeful.

  9. Richard says:

    Yvette, my library has none by him, I got these from Paperback Swap.

  10. Deadman says:

    I have provided texts of several Leo Bruce books which are out of print at The Books of Leo Bruce and, as soon as I can locate other, rare, out-of-print books, I shall provide those as well.
    This month, for instance, I republished Death by the Lake, and I shall republish A Bone and a Hank of Hair during November.

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