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 unconventional Oxford don Gervase Fen's office. 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?The Case of the Gilded Fly is the first Gervase Fen mystery and is the perfect introduction to this most idiosyncratic, eccentric and entertaining detective.
©2012 Edmund Crispin (P)2012 Audible Ltd
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"Witty, Well Written Classic British mystery"
Combine witty, literate writing and a cast of idiosyncratic actors putting on a play in Oxford, and you have a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable classic British mystery. I loved every minute of this story, which is particularly enjoyable for the colorful characters and their interactions with each other. The narrator is perfect.
This is far from Crispin's best. Nicely narrated by Philip Bird, who cannot save it from its top-heavy academic preciousness and a case of systemic sexism which I don't remember from Crispin's other books. Every woman is a girl, every girl has a shapely body and an empty head, and even the clever, independent, professional ones secretly long to have someone "make an honest woman" of them. Crispin does not play fair with the clues (the murderer's motive stems from an unrevealed, unguessable foreign life), and Gervase Fen, who in later books like The Moving Toyshop is funny and clever, here suffers from advanced insufferability, and maunders on about how he knows who did it for half the book in a very annoying way. Skip this one (unless you think women are irretrievably venal and silly, in which case you'll be confirmed in your opinion) and listen to the other Gervase Fen books which are much more entertaining.
"written in the 1940's"
While I enjoy all these 'tongue in cheek' stories, the older ones are better. They are well read by Phillip Bird who sometimes reminds me of 'the book' in Douglas Adam's 'Hitch Hikers Guide', especially when towns (and railway stations) are described. It seems at least one of Crispen;s stories was inspiration for a Dr Who TV show. Even The Doctor reminds me a little of Fen. Food for thought.
The quotes from various authors send me into 'search mode' as I try to track them down.
The earlier Fen is a bit over the top with his self importance.and in this story his solving the crime in 3 minutes and leaving the police to figure it out over the rest of the book is such an example.
Good listening and much more fun than many of his contempories.
"This may be too British for me"
I admit I never finished listening to this book. After multiple chapters of character description I never even made it to the murder. Sorry but I won't be going on with this series.
An excellent story, very well read, with a highly satisfying ending. I am a big Crispin fan and love the little "fourth wall" digs he includes when his characters complain about mystery writers always doing this or that while he is doing it himself. Gervase Fin is an excellent detective although not really the main character in this one. Definitely recommend it for lovers of period british detective fiction.
A very large cast of characters that got confusing. They were introduced in the beginning chapters but I found it hard to remember who was who. It probably would be a better read than listen because you could flip back to the start as necessary. Thouroughly unlikeable victim that should have been killed off sooner and way to many people with really good reasons for doing the deed
"Superficial and Shallow"
In this cheap trick of a mystery novel, Edmund Crispin distracts his audience scene after trivial scene that kill time and fill space while doing nothing to advance the plot. Information is deliberately withheld so the “detective,” who operates on “intuition,” can appear to be as brilliant as he keeps telling us he is by revealing all in the grand finale. Instead of clues dropped the way, there’s a long, unsatisfying explanation at the end. (Actually, any number of explanations could have been devised to explain why any of the characters could be the murderer.) The characters are such clichéd personalities that they could have been called the Director, the Big Star, the Budding Starlet, the Talentless Jezebel, etc., with one being indistinguishable from the other. Having never before heard of Crispin, I had hoped to discover a new treasure, but now I understand why he is not mentioned in the pantheon of great mystery writers of the 20th century.
"written in 1944"
and set in 1940 this story comes alive with the language and society of the time and place.
gervase fenn is the don/detective in this the first book of the series.
well written with good characterisation, there is the investigation with little bits of humour along the way. Philip bird's performance added to the enjoyment. I loved it.
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