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With love from the boys

Three Heads are Better than One

Short Story (3,080 words)

The three Head brothers disapprove of their sister's fiancé, but are cajoled into arranging her wedding. They steal a wedding dress, a lorry load of champagne and a wedding cake. At the reception, however, it turns out that the cake is not real but is a plaster-of-paris display cake. The groom assumes this is a deliberate insult and is so exasperated that he takes on the three brothers with his fists, and almost ensures the termination of their club memberships, until somebody notices something in the wreckage of the cake.

This is one of a series of comic stories about the Minerva Club, an association of warm-hearted criminals. The others are The Trojan Crate, Flint's Diamonds, The Ransom of Angelo, and A Stroke of Genius.

Horace Head appears in the story A Stroke of Genius, and is a central character in Canning's unperformed stage play Hole in the Wall.

First published in Today, 6 April 1963, p. 18-20.
Reprinted as "Three Heads are better than one" in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine #242, January, 1964 and in the British edition May 1964.
Reprinted as "Head of the family" in Best Underworld Stories, ed Douglas Rutherford, Faber, 1969, p. 183-192.
Included in the collection The Minerva Club and other stories, ed. John Higgins. USA, Crippen and Landru, 2009.
Included in The Minerva Club, Farrago Books, 2020.