Wang: Let out one more small detail, Mr. Twain. Who victim?
Twain: Is the. Is the. Who is the victim? That drives me crazy.
Maybe writing a review of this book now isn't the best idea. It's been almost a month since I read it and I've read many books in between. It's all a bit hazy. The headache I have isn't helping too much either. Well, you might even say it is kinda hindering my faculty to write in semi-proper English. But as waiting even longer probably isn't going help my foggy memories of the book, I'd better write it down now.
I am not sure how I feel about this book, actually. It is a very well structured novel, with a neat solution to the locked room. As a Queen-reader, you'll always catch my attention with a multi-layered solution. And this book has no less than four, all deviously logic and clever. In short, it is a good detective.
Yet, it is also clearly a parody on detective novels in general, featuring three slightly familiar detectives. The three are parodied very amusingly, all acting like their counterparts. Bruce, through the voice of narrator Townsend, also sneaks in some wonderful witty remarks regarding the detective genre. I would totally quote an awesome line from the book, if I had taken notes. I usually forget to take notes whenever I read in the train...
And I like parodies. A lot. The 'problem' is that I love my parodies to be... slightly extreme. They have to exaggerate the theme. Even if it's a detective. Higashino's Meitantei Tenkaichi ("Great Detective Tenkaichi") series is a hilarious parody of the genre, which presents classics like the locked room or alibi tricks in a 'possible-yet-totally-bizarre' way. My favorite, 33pun Tantei ("33 Minutes Detective"), is a Police Squad!-styled TV-drama which parodies everything of the genre, all the way to the very essence of the genre (while every case is solved within the first 5 minutes of the show, the detectives forcefully pads out the show with crazy, impossible deductions in order to fill in the total length of the show). The manga Shoujo Tantei Kaneda Hajime no Jikenbo ("The Casefiles of Girl Detective Kaneda Hajime") features a ventroquilist-pathologist (yes, he uses dead bodies) and killer-snails.
Case for Three Detectives is just too tame as a parody. And I suppose I could just look at it like a normal, neutral pastiche, like Nishimura Kyoutarou's Meitantei ("Great Detective") series with Akechi Kogorou, Poirot, Ellery Queen and Maigret. But the fact that those three detectives appear (with those names), as well as all those sharp observations put the book, for me, more in the parody genre, where it kinda fails because it is too much like a normal detective. Don't get me wrong, though, this is a great book. But I can't really 'shoehorn' it in my comfy categorial bookcases in my head and that makes my feelings about the book somewhat ambiguous.
But maybe it's just the headache talking. I might say something totally different on a clear mind.