Death and decapitation seem to go hand in hand in the Devon village of Aller. When the first victim's head is sent floating down the river, the village's rural calm is shattered. Soon the corpses are multiplying and the entire community is involved in the murder hunt. While the rector, the major, the police and a journalist, desperate for the scoop of the century, chase false trails, it is left to Gervase Fen, Oxford don and amateur criminologist, to uncover the sordid truth.
©2012 Edmund Crispin (P)2013 Audible Ltd
Love having someone read me a story. Fires in the hearth, rain on the roof, sunny days and surf. Good friends, good food and J S Bach.
“There is humour which for the cheerful friends we got, and for the thinking parties there is a plot”
Taking some time in Devon, Fen meets up with the Vicar and the Major at a time when a few peculiar murders are done. A journalist joins the trio and together they, like everyone elce in town, talk about who might have 'done it'..
In amongst the Church Fete, Anti Hunting protests,. misbehaving power lines, a gift of a pigs head to make brawn and promiscuous people, the plot unfolds.
Scatterings of Donish quotes from often obscure authors and creative observations are here in plenty. ( 'as insubstantial as ectoplasm at a séance').
Tongue in cheek as usual, this is a delightful listen so well narrated by Phillip Bird.
The following is the order of writing/publishing (not all available yet from Audible)
The Case Of the Gilded Fly..(1944)
The Moving Toyshop
Love Lies Bleeding
Buried for Pleasure
The Long Divorce
Beware of the Trains
The Glimpses of the Moon (1977)
Fen Country (posthumously)
I like mysteries (particularly British ones, historical fiction and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.
This was my first run-in with Philip Bird, but I am really pleased with his work on this book. He manages to differentiate the characters very well-- which isn't easy when the speaking characters are mostly male. I thought this was as close to a five star performance as makes no difference.
As for the story. This is the last book published by Edmund Crispin (aka Robert Bruce Montgomery). His popular detective, Oxford Don Professor Gervase Fen, is house sitting for a couple of friends traveling in Canada while writing a book on the post WW II modern novel. About eight weeks before the beginning of the story, a murder had been perpetuated against a most deserving victim. However, it was the events that occurred after the murder that led to the arrest and incarceration in an insane asylum of Hagbert, a local eccentric with a mania for work.
As usual Crispin populates his story with a host of amusingly looney characters. There's also some jokes that don't quite come through in the narration. For instance one character is named Thouless who is composer of music for movies-- he is currently working on music for a horror movie title Unalive. Crispin under his real name, Bruce Montgomery, composed music for movies including the first six "Carry On" movies. There's also a tortoise named Ellis with an underbite who needs his pansy petals premasticated; an overly amorous tom cat named Stripey; the Major who despite his years of service in the Cavalry disliked horses, mainly because he had never been thrown; and assorted other local characters including Titty and Tatty (Titania and Tatiania) a pair of elderly sisters who had one deaf aid between them and a devotion to what they fondly imagined was a Botticelli painting of the Assumption of the Virgin.
So part of the time the book is a mystery and part of the time it is a farce. And I have to believe that the ridiculously drawn out denouement was intentional. There's also sly literary references everywhere.
Recommended highly for those who are willing to accept a satire of the mystery genre and delight in ferreting out Crispin's donnish humor (or humour, I guess I should say).
no. It was hard to keep track of the characters and frankly they just weren't very interesting.
I bought it to listen to on a long trip with my husband, he couldn't understand the British accent of the reader. We haven't had this problem before with British narrators. I wish I hadn't wasted my credit on this book.
There wasn't any cursing.
"What an treasure for my library"
I can hardly believe that I have not read or listened to any Fen mysteries before now. What a treasury of perfect, gentle and humorous, English detective stories unsullied by sex and unnecessary gore. I am now well on the way to acquiring all available audiobooks in this series. Beautifully read by Philip Bird.
This is one of the funniest, zaniest detective stories I know, beautifully written in dead-pan style. The plot is weirdly wonderful but the characters and the events are the books real joy. This title is one I turn to when I am feeling ill and depressed.
"some very funny moments"
the humorous parts, made brilliant by the narration
the Major, he was so matter of fact
the intonation of the different characters
i found it funny and entertaining
"Fun and different"
This was a fun book and very different from my usual listening. The story was amusing the characters well drawn and a rich variety of people is depicted.
Story and characters so different from the norm
This is the only one to date
It made me laugh several times
I shall look out for more by the author
Edmund Crispin's use of the English language is second to none, which makes his stories a pleasure to read on so many levels. I doubt many writers today have such a grasp of the breadth and beauty of our rich language.
Glimpses of the Moon is the funniest of the Gervaise Fen mysteries that I have read. He brings together an eclect cast of characters into a witty whodunnit with a clever twist.
Very entertaining and enjoyable!
well written with murder and humour this is the last book in the series.
in this story I liked the major who burst into song singing the advert jingles.
enjoyed the series and recommend it.
Philip bird performed all the books making them an enjoyable listening experience.
"Smug, sarcastic and trying too hard to be funny"
Having read other reviews, I was so disappointed. I think perhaps this is one of those books that you either love or hate - I hate it! I’ve listened for three hours and I can’t go on. The author’s ‘voice’ is very strong, he makes cynical and sarcastic descriptions that interrupt the ‘reality’ of the story. It’s trying far too hard to be funny and to me it just comes across as smug and unpleasant. I love the English Country House Murder Mystery genre but I prefer the light spoofing humour of James Anderson more than this sarcastic, cynical offering. Not for me!
This was Crispin's last Fen book and I think this is the funniest. Also beautifully read and characterised by Philip Bird. I have read the book and listened to the audio book countless times. A real comfort blanket of a detective novel.
"Quirky and well plotted"
I'm so glad to have discovered the Gervais Fen series. Edmund Crispin has a genius for drawing endearingly quirky and quintessentially English characters while at the same time plotting a bloody good mystery with a satisfying ending. Quite a mean feat!
In this book Crispin's excelled himself. An intricate plot twists and turns around the activities of a colourful cast of characters and the often farcical (and very funny) events of a small rural village.
Brilliantly read by Philip Bird, I'd recommend this audiobook as a thoroughly enjoyable listen.
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