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.
"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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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By K on 05-11-2017
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.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By twigs way on 28-06-2018
totally spoilt by appalling narration.
Gervase Fen is meant to be a professor of English - a 'fiction' totally spoilt by the fact this narrator failed to pronouce many of the words correctly and failed to put the correct emphasis within the sentance structure leaving the listener unsure at times who was referring to what. Listening was painful. I am sure there used to be a copy of this book narrated by Philip Bird who does Fen so well. I had to give up on this version after a couple of hours it was so awful.