Friday, October 27, 2017


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 toy shop and is coshed on the head.  When he comes to he finds the toy shop has disappeared and been replaced with a grocery store.  The police are understandably sceptical of his tale but Richard's former schoolmate, Gervase Fen ( Oxford professor and amateur detective), knows that truth is stranger then fiction.

So begins a brilliant locked room mystery first published in 1946.  Gervase Fen runs around Oxford at a frenetic pace with his friend trying to solve the murder.

The story is peopled with wonderful characters, students, dons and villains.  Crispen continually throws in literary references, i.e to pass the time when locked in a cupboard he has our heroes play,
Unreadable Books, making them list books they have been unable to finish.

Fen is a terrible driver, a lover of a drink and a very good amateur detective.  You read this and it is understandable why this features on 'best of' lists.

Enormous fun, preposterous fun, but so enjoyable.

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