“The Case of the Gilded Fly”, by Edmund Crispin

Novel, 1944

Golden Age whodunnit set around a play being put on in Oxford and featuring the eccentric Don and amateur sleuth, Gervase Fen. As a whole, this book unwinds rather gently, curiosities piqued as chapters conclude less with dramatic flourishes than an air of gentle expectation. The details of backstage bickering, organists and academia are all well done and the writing is witty and fluent, although the pace lags here and there, almost as a result. Not, therefore, a book for those looking for the ‘crash-bang-wallop’ often identified with the genre, but more a solid and revealing read for those who enjoy sleepier, rattled character types portrayed here, not least the rather twitchy, self-absorbed Fen himself.

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