Friday, May 8, 2009

Edmund Crispin/THE MOVING TOYSHOP

In the early hours of the morning a young poet, recently arrived in Oxford seeking adventure, stumbles into a toy shop to find a body occupying the upper flat. When he returns to the scene with the police, he finds not only has the body disappeared, the toy shop is now a grocery. He relates his adventure to his friend and mystery hunter Gervase Fen. What follows is a whimsical locked room type mystery full of literary allusions and witty dialogue. Fen is a likable, eccentric Don who recruits his bawdy students to aid him in his pursuit to solve the mystery. (One would not be at all surprised if Bertie Wooster wandered through at some point).

The Moving Toyshop, published in 1946, is a golden age British murder mystery; it is slightly dated. Perhaps it relies too much upon coincidence. I don't find this to be problematic as most mysteries rely on coincidence, implausible use of technology, or an almost supernatural intelligence. Overall it is a fast paced, easy, entertaining read. I enjoyed it immensely, but if British cozy mysteries with a pre-WWII atmosphere are not your thing, then possibly you should pass this one by.

1 comment:

moonrat said...

book... about... oxford....

must... resist...