As I have said before, of all the Leo Bruce mysteries that I have read, I think the one I have enjoyed the most is "Case For Three Detectives," the 1936 novel that introduced Bruce's first detective, the phlegmatic, stolid - and thoroughly reliable - Sergeant Beef. It is a marvelous satire of the classic mystery, complete with a clever impossible crime. To solve the murder, Sergeant Beef must make way (on orders from his superiors) for three "gifted" amateur detectives likely to be quite familiar to most classic mystery readers. There's the elegant Lord Simon Plimsoll, the brilliant M. Amer Picon, and that mysterious man of the cloth, Monsignor Smith.
Readers will recognize the parodies of Lord Peter Wimsey, M. Hercule Poirot and Father Brown, to be sure. But never fear - the three detectives come up with three different and quite brilliant solutions to the crime. The only flaw, alas, is that they are all wrong. The real murderer is discovered by the dull and quite unspectacular Sergeant Beef, who is filled with admiration for the wonderful solutions from the detectives, even as he waits for them to stop their theorizing so he can make an arrest - but then, he has been saying all along, throughout the book, "I know who done it!"
I reviewed this book here a few years back. It's a great deal of fun, a good and very clever mystery that pokes not-so-gentle fun at the so-called "great" detectives. Academy Chicago Publishers has brought it back, and it's a light-hearted and enjoyable read.