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Gervase Fen

This page lists books that feature the amateur detective Gervase Fen.

Many of the novels listed have been published a number of times. The cover images shown are, where possible, the first UK edition and a recent mass market paperback edition.

 

Gervase Fen: Novels and short story collections

The Case of the Gilded Fly

Edmund Crispin

Gollancz

1944

"Yseut Haskell, a pretty but spiteful young actress with a talent for destroying men's lives, is found dead in a college room just metres from the office of unconventional Oxford don and amateur detective, Gervase Fen. The victim is found wearing an unusual ring, a reproduction of a piece in the British Museum featuring a gold gilded fly but does this shed any light on her murder? As they delve deeper into Yseut's unhappy life the police soon realise that anyone who knew her would have shot her, but can Fen discover who could have shot her?"
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Holy Disorders

Edmund Crispin

Gollancz

1945

"Holy Disorders takes Oxford don and part time detective Gervase Fen to the town of Tolnbridge, where he is happily bounding around with a butterfly net until the cathedral organist is murdered, giving Fen the chance to play sleuth. The man didn't have an enemy in the world, and even his music was inoffensive: could he have fallen foul of a nest of German spies or of the local coven of witches, ominously rumored to have been practicing since the 17th century? Tracking down the answer pleases Fen immensely - only the reader will have a better time."
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The Moving Toyshop

Edmund Crispin

Gollancz

1946

"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."
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Swan Song

Edmund Crispin

Gollancz

1947

"When an opera company gathers in Oxford for the first post-war production of Wagner's Die Meistersinger its happiness is soon soured by the discovery that the unpleasant Edwin Shorthouse will be singing a leading role. Nearly everyone involved has reason to loathe Shorthouse but who amongst them has the fiendish ingenuity to kill him in his own locked dressing room? In the course of this entertaining adventure, eccentric Oxford don and amateur sleuth Gervase Fen has to unravel two murders, cope with the unpredictability of the artistic temperament, and attempt to encourage the course of true love."
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Love Lies Bleeding

Edmund Crispin

Gollancz

1948

"Castrevenford school is preparing for Speech Day and English professor and amateur sleuth Gervase Fen is called upon to present the prizes. However, the night before the big day, strange events take place that leave two members of staff dead. The Headmaster turns to Professor Fen to investigate the murders. While disentangling the facts of the case, Mr Fen is forced to deal with student love affairs, a kidnapping and a lost Shakespearean manuscript. By turns hilarious and chilling, Love Lies Bleeding is a classic of the detective genre."
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Buried for Pleasure

Edmund Crispin

Gollancz

1948

"In the sleepy English village of Sanford Angelorum, professor and amateur detective Gervase Fen is taking a break from his books to run for Parliament. At first glance, the village he's come to canvass appears perfectly peaceful, but Fen soon discovers that appearances can be deceptive: someone in the village has discovered a dark secret and is using it for blackmail. Anyone who comes close to uncovering the blackmailer's identity is swiftly dispatched. As the joys of politics wear off, Fen sets his mind to the mystery but finds himself caught up in a tangled tale of eccentric psychiatrists, escaped lunatics, beautiful women and lost heirs."
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Frequent Hearses

Edmund Crispin

Gollancz

1950

"Stars, Starlets, Floozies and factotums to the film world Gervase Fen suspects them all... The young actress, Gloria Scott, drowns after throwing herself off Waterloo Bridge. The news sends shock-waves around her film studio where Gervase Fen, Oxford Don and amateur criminologist, just so happens to be working. With help from friend the Inspector Humbleby, the tragic loss of young life leads them to many more dark places. Young Ms. Scotts apartment has been searched, and all signs of her real identity have been removed, and whats more, minutes before Humbleby interrogates her co-workers, one of them, a lecherous cameraman, is poisoned. Equal parts compelling, witty and ingenuous, this novel is a classic example of great British detective fiction."
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The Long Divorce

Edmund Crispin

Gollancz

1951

"The peaceful and prosperous village of Cotten Abbas has a very unpleasant problem. Long inhabited by a collection of proudly offbeat locals, there has been a recent influx of the newly rich and very well to doÖ and not everyone is happy about it. New arrivals are receiving anonymous letters that know a little too much about dark secrets and dirty laundry and they donít seem likely to stop. Gervase Fen is summoned to the scene, but soon finds more than he bargained for. A suicide on Friday, a murder by Sunday, and some villagers that seem hell bent on keeping this mystery unsolved."
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Beware of the Trains

Edmund Crispin

Gollancz

1953

"These sixteen short stories are classic examples of Fen's crime-solving prowess. A professor of English at Oxford by trade, he is also an eager amateur criminologist and this leads to him becoming involved in a whole host of compelling murder mysteries. His intuition uncovers the most insoluble clues whenever even the best brains in the police force are frankly baffled. These stories also allow you, the reader, to flex your own crime-solving muscles: each one contains all the clues needed to anticipate its outcome, using a delicate combination of logic and common sense... with a bit of ingenuity thrown in!"
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The Glimpses of the Moon

Edmund Crispin

Gollancz

1977

"Death and decapitation seem to go hand in hand in the Devon village of Aller. When the first victim's head is sent floating down the river, the village's rural calm is shattered. Soon the corpses are multiplying, and the entire community is involved in the hunt for the murderer. Whilst many chase false trails, it is left to Gervase Fen, Oxford don and amateur criminologist, to uncover the sordid truth. Equal parts compelling, witty and ingenuous, this novel is a classic example of great British detective fiction."
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Fen Country

Edmund Crispin

Gollancz

1979

"Dandelions, hearing aids, a blood-stained cat, a Leonardo drawing, a corpse with an alibi, and a truly poisonous letter... are just some of the unusual clues that Oxford don/detective Gervase Fen and his friend Inspector Humbleby are confronted with in this sparkling collection of short mystery stories by one of the great masters of detective fiction. Employing this skilful balance between ingenuity and humour, Crispin lays out all the clues so that the reader is given the opportunity to solve each crime by themselves before it is done so immaculately by the eccentric but immensely gifted Professor Fen."
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Last updated January 2018