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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

Story:
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.

Review:
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.

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