Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Moving Toyshop: Gervase Fen #3 by Edmund…

The Moving Toyshop: Gervase Fen #3 (original 1946; edition 2011)

by Edmund Crispin

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
890369,932 (3.84)106
Title:The Moving Toyshop: Gervase Fen #3
Authors:Edmund Crispin
Info:Felony & Mayhem (2011), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:classic, mystery

Work details

The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin (1946)

Recently added bybongo_x, amy_marie26, kdcdavis, private library, berry25, Balnaves, narbgr01, jklavanian
Legacy LibrariesBarbara Pym



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 106 mentions

English (33)  Spanish (3)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
"With varying vanities, from every part, they shift the moving toyshop of their heart..."

To sum up a book in a sentence is great art; Underneath is an understanding of structure that gives the same pleasure to reading as symmetry to beauty, that is, if it is not interfering, making itself known on behalf of the story. It does not. Enjoyable, a mystery story evolving bordering on a farce, a form that makes the numerous literary allusions unpretentious. Using the mix farce/funny/crime/mystery addressing a very serious theme (which goes almost unnoticed....) tugs in the end (surprisingly!) at the same strings Poe does. ( )
  Mikalina | Dec 17, 2014 |
If there is a word in the English language that means "the use of pompous or arcane words to comic effect", then Edmund Crispin would know it. This charming mystery that romps around the centre of Oxford (and several of its pubs) has added magniloquent, cachinnation and suilline to my vocabulary: there are plenty more but I was already familiar with them. I was so pleased when it took me through the alley past the Lamb and Flag and into Museum Road as I lived there for a while and walked countless times through that same alley. Well-written, quirky characters both gown and town, plenty of red herrings, a pleasure to read. ( )
  overthemoon | Nov 4, 2014 |
3+ Great classic old mystery. I really enjoyed it. I was glad for the map at the front as there was a lot of mad dashing about. Good escape. ( )
  njcur | Jul 30, 2014 |
The writing is so delightful and witty, the characters so charming, the setting so droll, the set-up so interesting, that one forgives The Moving Toyshop for ultimately being a thoroughly implausible, thoroughly artificial "puzzle" mystery whose solution is considerably less interesting than everything along the way.

Set in the 1940s (give or take), The Moving Toyshop follows a poet from London to Oxford where he finds a dead body above a toyshop, gets knocked over the head, and when he finally returns to the scene of the crime with the police both the body and the toyshop are gone. He engages the eccentric, almost schoolboyish Don Gervase Fen to chase around Oxford dodging the police while solving the crime. Along the way they meet a cast of equally eccentric characters, engage the help of a posse of students, and have several hilarious and scenic chases through Oxford.

Ultimately, much of the deeper mystery about the moving toyshop and the basic motives are settled about halfway through with a short suspect list that ultimately makes its way down to one, without a huge amount of interest in which of the short list actually did it (in part because they're all pretty repugnant). ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Robert Bruce Montgomery (1921-1978) wrote comic mystery novels under the pen name of Edmund Crispin, the first of which, "The Case of the Gilded Fly," was published in 1944. Crispin didn't write many novels, but those he did featured the eccentric, absent-minded Oxford don and professor of English and Literature, Gervase Fen. The third of these books is perhaps his best. Titled THE MOVING TOYSHOP, PD James named it as one of the best five mysteries of all time and critic and mystery writer H.R.F. Keating included it among the 100 best crime and mystery books ever published.

The plot centers on poet Richard Cadogan, who stumbles on the dead body of an old lady in an Oxford toyshop late one night right before a blow from an unseen assailant knocks him unconscious. But when he recovers, not only has the woman disappeared, the entire toyshop has vanished, replaced by a grocery store. When the police not surprisingly refuse to believe Cadogan's story, he turns to the only person he thinks can help, his former colleague Gervase Fen. Fen's response is a typical Crisin ploy, a breaking of the fourth-wall illusion, "It's somewhat unusual business, isn't it." "So unusual," replies the poet, "that no one in his sense would invent it." (At another point, Fen dreams up book titles "for Crispin.") Fen sets about solving the impossible crime via his intuition, wits and wit, tossing in various literary references and quotations along the way, including clues based on Edward Lear limericks. ( )
1 vote BVLawson | May 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Not all the gay pageants that breathe
Can with a dead body compare.
Charles Wesley, On the Sight of a Corpse
Philip Larkin
in friendship and esteem
First words
Richard Cadogan raised his revolver, took careful aim and pulled the trigger.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140088172, Paperback)

It is late at night when poet Cadogan stumbles on the dead body of an old lady in an Oxford toyshop. The following morning, the toyshop has vanished and in its place is a grocery store. Nobody, not even the police, seem surprised.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:30 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

'The Moving Toyshop' is a quirky and appealing locked room mystery for all fans of classic crime. Originally published: London: Gollancz, 1946.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
57 wanted3 pay3 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.84)
0.5 1
1.5 1
2 12
2.5 5
3 39
3.5 29
4 71
4.5 11
5 50


2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 96,235,297 books! | Top bar: Always visible