coat-of-arms-crest-flag-swiss-key-emblemLocked Room Mysteries

Find an impossible murder!

A Proud Amazon Associate!


Edmund Crispin


647The novels of Edmund Crispin continue the development of the sophisticated literary style of mystery that largely began with Dorothy Sayers, but takes this to a point that will leave many modern readers reaching for the reference shelf. At another level, Crispin also attempts to continue the device of a professorial detective investigating impossible locked room mysteries. Gervase Fen is essentially an Oxford edition of Gideon Fell, the main contribution of John Dickson Carr, though Crispin’s mysteries will never match that great master of the locked room genre.

Edmund Crispin was actually the pseudonym of Robert Bruce Montgomery (1921 – 1978), who is remembered for both his Gervase Fen mystery novels and his musical compositions. Born in Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire, Montgomery graduated from St John’s College, Oxford, in 1943, with a BA in modern languages. He also spent two years as this school’s organ scholar and choirmaster – a position which plays a central role in ‘The Gilded Fly’. He first became known for his mysteries and was only later recognized as a composer of vocal and choral music, including ‘An Oxford Requiem’ (1951). He eventually turned to film work, writing the scores for many British comedies, including the famous ‘Carry On’ series. Montgomery also authored the screenplay and score of ‘Raising the Wind’ (1961).

More on Edmund Crispin
More on Gervase Fen


See all Fen / Edmund Crispin titles at GoodMystery.com


Locked Room Novels


Gilded FlyThe Case of The Gilded Fly (1944)
AKA: Obsequies at Oxford (US)
Oxford Don Gervase Fen

 

 

Locked Room Review
****

Available in ebook, paperback & audible formats

Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca

Note: An ingenious solution! 

One of three classic locked room titles in these very literary, often witty, golden age classics. A theater company, currently opening a new play in Oxford, is consumed by rivalries and intrigue. The beautiful, malicious Yseut is a mediocre actress, but has a real talent for destroying men, including a few members of this cast. There are few tears when she is found dead in a sealed room, but Professor Gervase Fen – scholar, wit, and fop extraordinaire – soon finds the ingenious solution to this impossible crime. 

More on ‘The Case of The Gilded Fly’


Moving ToyshopThe Moving Toyshop (1946)
Oxford Don Gervase Fen

 

 

Locked Room Review
*****
Available in ebook, paperback & audible formats

Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca

Note: Probably the best Crispin novel

One night, Richard Cadogan, poet and would-be bon-vivant, finds the body of an elderly woman in an Oxford toyshop, and is then hit on the head. When he comes to, he finds that the toyshop has disappeared and been replaced with a grocery store. Gervase Fen is called upon to find a solution to this quirky mystery.

More on ‘The Moving Toyshop’


Swan SongSwan Song (1947)
AKA:’Dead and Dumb’
Oxford Don Gervase Fen

 

 

Best Review
****
Available in ebook, paperback & audible formats

Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca

Note: Wagner in post WWII England?

The odious Edwin Shorthouse is about to perform the lead in the first Oxford post-war production of  Wagner’s ‘Die Meistersinger’, when someone kills him inside his own locked dressing room. Gervase Fen, the eccentric professor of English Literature with a passion for amateur detecting, must once again solve a great locked room case.

More on ‘Swan Song’


Locked Room Short Stories


beware of trainsBeware of The Trains (1953)
AKA: “Nine Minus Nine Equals One” (EQMM, March 1951)
Oxford Don Gervase Fen
Collection: Beware of The Trains

 

Best Review
****

Available in ebook, paperback and audible editions

Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca

Note: Train engineer disappears from a guarded station

“It’s occurred to me that he may be dead and cut up into little pieces. But I still can’t find any of the pieces …. Good Lord, Fen, it’s like — it’s like one of those Locked-Room Mysteries you get in books: an Impossible Situation.” (page 16)

Fen connects the disappearance of a train engineer with the death of a burglar. 


beware of trainsThe Name on The Window
Oxford Don Gervase Fen
Collection: Beware of The Trains

 

Best Review
****

Available in ebook, paperback and audible editions

Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca

Note: Death in a pavilion & only the victim’s footprints lead to the scene!

“Humbleby leaned forward earnestly. ‘Here is the point: windows nailed shut; no secret doors — emphatically none; chimney too narrow to admit a baby; and in the dust on the hall floor, only one set of footprints …'” (page 108)

D.I. Humbleby presents Fen with a “locked-room” problem on Boxing Day. The murder of an architect involves two clues. One is a puzzling palindrome, while the other involves Dr. Gideon Fell’s famous locked-room lecture. 


Fen CountryDeath Behind Bars
AKA: Too Clever for Scotland Yard (EQMM: September, 1960)
Collection: Fen Country

 

 

Best Review
****

Available in ebook, paperback and audible editions

Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca

Note: Death by poisoning in a locked cell

The story is written in the form of a ten-page letter from the Assistant Commissioner of the CID to the Home Secretary concerning the death of Dr. Harold Wynter. The cause of death was nicotine poisoning, but was it self-administered and exactly how was it done? “Despite the external appearance of what thriller-writers describe as an ‘impossible murder’ or a ‘locked-room mystery,’ the ingenious yet simple way in which Wynter had in fact been murdered was easily deduced from the facts I have given above.” (p. 88)  No Fen, but still a good puzzle! 


Fen CountryBlack for a Funeral
Oxford Don Gervase Fen
Collection: Fen Country

 

Best Review
***

Available in ebook, paperback and audible editions

Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca

Note: The ‘impossible crime’ is rather thin!

“At ten o’clock on the evening of July 24th, 1951, Police-Constable Albert Tyler set out on his bicycle from the little police-station in the village of Low Norton … P.C. Tyler struck out on the road eastwards and was presently swallowed up by the night. Thus began the curious affair of the disappearing car, the black neck-tie, and the abortive burglary.” (pages 95-96)

Fen solves this case through a process of elimination. He rejects the impossible-crime element quite early, as an attempt to cover an error made by the murderer. Not on some lists of locked room mysteries, but technically still an impossible crime case.


Fen CountryThe Hunchback Cat 
Oxford Don Gervase Fen
Collection: Fen Country

 

Best Review
****

Available in ebook, paperback and audible editions

Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca

Note: The Copping Case

“Let me tell you about the Copping case”, Fen announces at a party. Clifford Copping, a highly neurotic individual, is discovered murdered. “There was a kitchen knife and a severed throat and an almost inconceivable mess of blood” in a locked room inside a medieval tower. (quotes from pages 21-23) 


See all Gervase Fen/Edumnd Crispin titles at GoodMystery.com


Edmund Crispin Bibliography


The Locked Room Mystery home



Comments

Edmund Crispin — No Comments

Leave a Reply