Search This Blog

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Glimpses of the Moon by Edmund Crispin

The Glimpses of the Moon, a Net Galley ebook, is a quirky, amusing, and literary mystery full of allusions and comical characters, set in rural Devon.  A delightful satire.

The novel is something of  a parody, and the characters are more important than the murders.  Professor Gervase Fen is writing a book on the post-modern novel while staying in the house of vacationing friends in the Devon countryside and finds the original murder of a character named Routh uninteresting, although his friends and neighbors are fascinated.  Since Routh's head is missing, I can better understand the friends' reaction than Fen's!

The mystery, the murders are convoluted and the curiosity about who killed whom and how and why is a source of conversation and curiosity for the Major and the Rector (oh, I love both of these characters), and the visiting journalist.  The spinster sisters Titty and Tatty who display their "Botticelli" at the annual fete and share a hearing aid,  the  hypochondriac composer (who composes music for horror films), the local pig farmer with the belligerent German giantess for a wife, the owner of the local hostelry who never leaves his bed, and other characters who are droll, daft, and full of idiosyncrasies kept me intrigued and chuckling.

Stripey the cat:
"Stripey slumbered on, resting his gonads so as to be fit for another public-spirited bout of propagation when darkness fell."
Stripey the cat:
"...Stripey the cat had absented himself on one of his priapic itineraries."
The Rector:  
"I don't approve of speaking ill of people," the Rector said. "On the other hand, if you didn't speak ill of Routh, you'd never be able to mention him at all." 
Fen working on his book on the post-modern novel:
"Edna O'Brien," he muttered, "is the Cassandra of female eroticism."  Certainly Edna O'Brien's women didn't seem to get much fun out of sex.  If he were they, he would give it up altogether."
Most of the best quotes were too long and can't effectively be taken out of context.  The novel is NOT fast-paced, but I found it a genuine pleasure and will be looking for more of Edmund Crispin's witty work.

About the Author
Edmund Crispin was the pseudonym of Robert Bruce Montgomery (usually credited as Bruce Montgomery) (2 October 1921 - 15 September 1978), an English crime writer and composer.

Montgomery wrote nine detective novels and two collections of short stories under the pseudonym Edmund Crispin (taken from a character in Michael Innes’s Hamlet, Revenge!). The stories feature Oxford don Gervase Fen, who is a Professor of English at the university and a fellow of St Christopher’s College, a fictional institution that Crispin locates next to St John’s College. Fen is an eccentric, sometimes absent-minded, character reportedly based on the Oxford professor W. E. Moore. The whodunit novels have complex plots and fantastic, somewhat unbelievable solutions, including examples of the locked room mystery. They are written in a humorous, literary and sometimes farcical style and contain frequent references to English literature, poetry, and music. They are also among the few mystery novels to break the fourth wall occasionally and speak directly to the audience. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition. 
(from Amazon site.
Mystery.  Originally published in 1978; republished by Bloomsbury, 2011.

No comments:

Post a Comment