As an exponent of the classic detective novel in its pure form, Leo Bruce is unquestionably in the front rank. These stories complete the oeuvre of a major detective novelist. Here Bruce's gift for entertaining dialogue is at its peak, and so is his extraordinary gift for mystery: he teases, tangles and contrives with cunning. Even the slightest of the stories is deft and telling, skillfully narrated, with economy and point. The best are worthy additions to the canon, elegant, clever and satisfying. All but one story in this collection were written for the London Evening Standard, where they appeared between 1950 and 1956. This collection contains twenty-eight stories, only two of which have been previously collected: ten feature Sergeant Beef, eight feature Sergeant Grebe and ten have no series character. They add to our knowledge of Sergeant Beef, one of the most colorful of fictional detectives (and one whose full-length cases are too few in number); they introduce an unexpected second detective, the astute and resourceful policeman, Sergeant Grebe; and they offer a last chance to encounter anew their author's characteristic wit and ingenuity. Few writers so adroitly avoid the formulaic quality of crime writing by the variety and vitality of their characters.