Mystery author # 40: Edmund Crispin

Title: The Case of the Gilded Fly
Series detective: Gervase Fen, professor of English at Oxford University
No. in series: 1
Year of publication: 1944
Type of mystery: Murder
Type of investigator: Gifted amateur
Setting & time: Oxford, England, during World War 2

An obnoxious young actress is murdered. Several people heard a gunshot, but no-one actually saw a thing, and with supreme assurance of his success, Oxford professor Gervase Fen steps in to solve the case.

The writing is not bad and the plotting is not too bad, but for some reason I found myself not liking this book. Possibly it’s because I have rarely come across a less likeable sleuth (not even Poirot or Gideon Fell), or possibly it is because there is something too smug about the tone of the book for my taste. Also, I dislike books where all the characters are described in detail right at the start, but the clincher was when I was still not able to tell some of them apart without looking at said descriptions. It did have a nice, if improbable, twist at the end, which saved it from being a total loss. Don’t be mistaken, this was not a wallbanger, it was too dull for that.

I’m glad I got the book from the library. I do have another Gervase Fen mystery by Crispin, but it will be some time before I venture to read it. If and when I do, I will post an author review.

Rating: A disappointing mystery. 2 stars.


Popular Posts