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Publisher's Summary

As inventive as Agatha Christie, as hilarious as P.G. Wodehouse - discover the delightful detective stories of Edmund Crispin. Crime fiction at its quirkiest and best.

Richard Cadogan, poet and would-be bon vivant, arrives for what he thinks will be a relaxing holiday in the city of dreaming spires. Late one night, however, he discovers the dead body of an elderly woman lying in a toyshop and is coshed on the head.

When he comes to, he finds that the toyshop has disappeared and been replaced with a grocery store. The police are understandably skeptical of this tale but Richard's former schoolmate, Gervase Fen (Oxford professor and amateur detective), knows that truth is stranger than fiction (in fiction, at least).

Soon the intrepid duo are careening around town in hot pursuit of clues but just when they think they understand what has happened, the disappearing-toyshop mystery takes a sharp turn...

Erudite, eccentric, and entirely delightful - Before Morse, Oxford's murders were solved by Gervase Fen, the most unpredictable detective in classic crime fiction.

©1946 Edmund Crispin (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

Critic Reviews

"A clever, funny and rightly famous story set in Oxford 30 years before Morse started pounding the beat." (The Times, 100 Best Crime Novels of the Twentieth Century)
"The characters were so engaging and the writing so mischievous, that I thoroughly enjoyed it." (Miles Kington, Independent)
"Hilarious adventures." (Washington Post)
"One of the undiscovered treasures of British crime fiction: Crispin's storytelling is intelligent, humane, surprising and rattling good fun." (A.L. Kennedy)
"A classic crime novel with a surreal streak... It's a clever, energetic romp, written with wit." (Val McDermid, The Week)

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • K
  • 11-05-17

Weird

This is a very whimsical story. Some people may find that an original and attractive and attractive quality but for me it meant the plot was thin in places and unnecessary convoluted in others. It 's not a logical story and the characters are strange - on purpose. It's clearly a period piece and may have amused the entitled and possibly bomb-happy undergraduates of the post-war years but it's all a bit too consciously jaunty for my own rather sober and perhaps, by comparison, Bolshevik tastes.

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  • Hepwood Flutey
  • 02-13-16

Brilliant - possibly the best Gervase Fen novel!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would totally recommend this to a friend. All the Gervase Fen (not Phinn!) novels are hilarious, and quirky, and satisfying.

What did you like best about this story?

I can't isolate one thing - the characters, old friends by now; the plot - wow! Who would have thought?! The great writing - too much to love to isolate one thing. Enjoyed Paul Panting's reading too.

Which character – as performed by Paul Panting – was your favourite?

Well, Gervase Fen is irascible and erratic and impertinent and brilliant, so I suppose he must take the trophy.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

If I had that long just to listen I would!

Any additional comments?

It is excellent - don't know what other superlatives to add. If you like classic mysteries, I would think you would enjoy this!

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  • Ginger
  • 12-09-15

Fun story

Well written, atmospheric descriptions of place, weather etc. Interesting vocabulary and literary illusions. This has been penned by an academic having fun.

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  • Mrs. K. I. Richards
  • 08-27-15

i want some excitement in my life

Any additional comments?

that's what poet Richard cadogan tells his publisher and heads off to oxford to be with gervase fen an old friend. . he gets more than he bargained for when he inadvertently finds himself in a deserted toy shop. he then finds a dead body, so begins the third book in the series and it has everything you could wish for, following clues, chases both on foot and in a car, and funnier than the previous books. loved it.<br/>recommended.

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  • Janey
  • 07-08-17

Awful

I could only endure the first few chapters of this book. The monotonous narration drove me mad. The voices were indistinguishable and I could not get into the story at all. Deleted it immediately and have tried to return it.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful