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The Case of the Gilded Fly (The First Gervase Fen Mystery) Paperback – June 1, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
Fen solves both the mystery of the Gilded Fly, and the mystery within the ghost story.
Crispin specialized in creating 'impossible' murders for his Oxford don to investigate. A murder usually acquires the label 'impossible' at the death scene, when someone blurts out, "No one could have gotten past the gate keeper (or into the locked room or through the sky light). This is impossible!"
In "The Case of the Gilded Fly," we have:
"...Accident practically impossible. And murder, apparently, quite impossible. So the only conclusion is---
"The only conclusion is," put in the Inspector, "that the thing never happened at all."
Now Fen is off and running! A whole troupe of actors and actresses had motives for killing their colleague, and all of them (of course) have alibis.
The story begins when playwright Robert Warner mounts his latest experimental drama at the Oxford Repertory Theatre. His previous play bombed in London and he wants to try out "Metromania" in the provinces before opening it on the West End. His current mistress accompanies him to Oxford, and he unwisely gives his former mistress a role in his new play. Both ladies have other admirers. Their admirers have admirers.Read more ›
Gervase Fen is an Oxford don who specializes in English literature but really wants to work on murder cases. His longtime friend, Sir Richard Freeman, Chief Constable of Oxford, really wanted to study and critique English literature. These two made wonderful counterpoints because they both wanted to concentrate most on the thing the other did for a living. These two characters are wonderfully written by Edmund Crispin. Mainly, for me, because we get to see the best of both professions but given to us from the point of view of the character we would not necessarily expect.
The book opens in a most clever way. All the characters make the railway journey from London to Oxford within days of each other. Each is described during the train trip in wonderful detail concerning their reasons for going to Oxford and the reader is thoroughly acquainted with the characters by the time they all arrive at their destination. Because of the abrasive nature of one character, it is pretty obvious who the murder victim will be but Crispin takes his time leading up to the murder. By the time it happens, you are very much in sympathy with whoever decided to do this person in and Fen's quandry about whether or not to prove the person guilty is rather easy to understand.Read more ›
This is not necessarily a remarkably unique closed-room case. It relies heavily on the characters to carry it along. I rather enjoyed the university setting of the book. Fen is certainly not my favorite literary academic, but he's well-drawn enough to keep me entertained. I was less interested in the world of the theater. Actors can be very tiresome. I'm hoping that the later installments in this series dispense with the theater and focus on the university
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I definitely learned some new vocabulary words reading this book. Luckily I read it on my iPad; in book form I would have needed a dictionary close by. Read morePublished 7 days ago by mary corso
Caveat: much of this work depends on the reader having a U.K. education in English and the classics. Rely on Wikipedia if you're from the U.S. with lesser qualifications. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was an old style detective story, too outmoded for my taste. I did finish it and I didn't hate it but it was too expository with not enough action. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Nana
This was the first of Edmund Crispin's popular mysteries featuring Professor Gervase Fen of Oxford. It's not the best in the series, but it's an incredibly polished, witty book to... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Whistlers Mom
I only wish Crispin had been recommender to me sooner. This is my 3rd Crispin book and I willed them all. But, not all at once. Read morePublished 9 months ago by JMacdD
See my comments posted: all the Crispin books are excellent.Published 10 months ago by Auldwrykynian
Edmund Crispin (pseudonym for Bruce Montgomery) wrote “The Case of the Gilded Fly” in 1944 while he was still an undergraduate at St. John’s College, Oxford. Read morePublished 12 months ago by ealovitt
I had been looking forward to reading Crispin for the first time, especially this one for its Oxford setting. It was fine, but the sexism dates it. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Ally