Gervase Fen Books In Publication Order
- The Case of the Gilded Fly (1944)
- Holy Disorders (1945)
- The Moving Toyshop (1946)
- Swan Song / Dead and Dumb (1947)
- Love Lies Bleeding (1948)
- Buried for Pleasure (1948)
- Frequent Hearses / Sudden Vengeance (1950)
- The Long Divorce (1951)
- The Glimpses of the Moon (1977)
- Fen Country (1979)
Collections In Publication Order
- Beware of the Trains (1953)
Non-Fiction Books In Publication Order
- We Know You’re Busy Writing But…. (1969)
Anthologies In Publication Order
- Best SF Vol 1 (1955)
- Best SF Vol 2 (1956)
- Best Tales of Terror (1962)
- Best SF Vol 5 (1963)
- Best Tales of Terror 2 (1965)
- Best SF Vol 6 (1966)
- The Stars And Under (1968)
- Best SF Vol 7 (1971)
- Best Murder Stories 2 (1973)
- Outwards From Earth (1974)
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Edmund Crispin Books Overview
Theater companies are notorious hotbeds of intrigue, and few are more intriguing than the company currently in residence at Oxford University. Center stage is the beautiful, malicious Yseut a mediocre actress with a stellar talent for destroying men. Rounding out the cast are more than a few of her past and present conquests, and the women who love them. And watching from the wings is Professor Gervase Fen scholar, wit, and fop extraordinaire who would infinitely rather solve crimes than expound on English literature. When Yseut is murdered, Fen finally gets his wish. Though clear kin to Lord Peter Wimsey, Fen is a spectacular original brilliant, eccentric and rude, much taken with himself and his splendid yellow raincoat, and given to quoting Lewis Carroll at inappropriate occasions. Gilded Fly, originally published in 1944, was both Fen’s first outing and the debut of the pseudonymous Crispin in reality, composer Bruce Montgomery, whom the New York Times once called the heir to John Dickson Carr…
and Groucho Marx.
Gervase Fen the eccentric Oxford don with a knack for solving impossible crimes made his debut in The Case of the Gilded Fly, which Edmund Crispin in reality, composer Bruce Montgomery wrote to win a bet. With Holy Disorders, Crispin’s skills matured, but Fen remains as maddeningly childish as ever, still deliciously fond of his own wit and erudition, and given to quoting Lewis Carroll at inappropriate occasions. First published in 1945, Holy Disorders takes Fen to the town of Tolnbridge, where he is happily bounding around with a butterfly net until the cathedral organist is murdered, giving Fen the chance to play sleuth. The man didn t have an enemy in the world, and even his music was inoffensive: Could he have fallen afoul of a nest of German spies or of the local coven of witches, ominously rumored to have been practicing since the 17th century? Tracking down the answer pleases Fen immensely only the reader will have a better time. This, said the New York Times Book Review, is Fen at his very best.
Richard Cadogan is at loose ends in Oxford, very late at night. Charmed by the window display of an old fashioned toyshop, he is worried to find the door unlocked; surely the owner should be alerted. And so Cadogan slips into the darkened store and up the narrow stairway to the apartment above. But rather than a snoring toyman, he finds a very dead old lady, the marks of murder still livid on her neck. But when Cadogan returns with the coppers, the toyshop…
has disappeared. This, it seems, is a matter for Gervase Fen.
Hurrah! With the Na*zi’s routed, the British can sing Wagner again. The company assembled in Oxford for the first post war production of Die Meistersinger is delighted, but their happiness is soured by word that the odious Edwin Shorthouse will be singing a leading role. Nearly everyone in the company has reason to loathe Shorthouse, but who could have had the feindish ingenuity to kill him in his own locked dressing room? Answering that question will require a certain finesse, a certain je ne sais quoi, a certain eccentric professor of English Literature with a passion for amateur detecting. Happily, Gervase Fen is on the scene, fresh from his adventures in The Case of the Gilded Fly and Holy Disorders, with his sleuthing skills as sharp as his epigrams.
Professor Gervase Fen is happy to step in when his old friend, the headmaster of the exclusive Castrevenford School, needs a guest speaker for the school’s annual Speech Day. Though the headmaster, it must be said, has his doubts as to whether Fen is ‘capable of the sustained hypocrisy which the occasion demands.’ Fen’s happiness, however, turns to positive glee when it becomes clear that his sleuthing skills are needed: Not only has a student at the local girls’ school been trifled with in some unspecified, clearly fiendish fashion, but poison has been swiped from the chemistry department, and two, yes two teachers have been murdered! Too bad, of course, for the teachers, but for Fen it’s a very good day indeed.
It’s a naughty world, a tiresome world, a world notably lacking in witty epigrams. In short, it’s a world that is crying out for Gervase Fen, and so he has declared himself a candidate for Parliament, ready to serve the good people of?where was it again? Fen’s political ambitions, though, get just a little sidetracked by the murdered policeman who crops up on the campaign trail, not to mention the escaped and naked lunatic who’s convinced he’s Woodrow Wilson. And then there’s the peculiar clergyman and the love struck pig.
Edmund Crispin was in fact a pseudonym for composer Bruce Montgomery, best known for writing the scores to the ?Carry On? films. The film on which Professor Gervase Fen has been hired to consult, though, is a biography of the poet Alexander Pope. But however high minded the subject matter, the actual process of making the movie is a grubby business, from the young actresses of dubious morality to the stogie chomping cameramen, perpetually threatening to strike. And?to Fen?s evident delight?even the showbiz glamour can?t prevent murder from muscling its way onto the scene.
The little village of Cotton Abbas is home to both an irritating influx of England?s newly rich and a deliciously weird clutch of long time locals. Chief among the latter: Colonel Babbington, whose cat, Lavender, is remarkably clumsy and also convinced that he is responsible for saving the world from a Martian invasion. Lavender may be a little? odd, to say the least, but his unusual psychic gifts prove unexpectedly helpful to Fen visiting incognito as he attempts to discover who is responsible for the village?s epidemic of ugly anonymous letters.
First published in 1953, this book includes a selection of short stories by Edmund Crispin.