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Swan Song by Edmund Crispin

Swan Song (original 1947; edition 1981)

by Edmund Crispin

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285739,557 (3.82)19
Title:Swan Song
Authors:Edmund Crispin
Info:Avon Books (1981), Edition: First Thus, Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:My Library

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Swan Song by Edmund Crispin (Author) (1947)



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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Another fun outing with one of mystery's most eccentric amateur detectives. ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
Another fun outing with one of mystery's most eccentric amateur detectives. ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
Another fun outing with one of mystery's most eccentric amateur detectives. ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
I was fairly excited to read this book, having just really enjoyed another Edmund Crispin novel. Unfortunately, I rapidly discovered I was actually just rereading the same book.

I knew that the setting would be the same, and that the theme would be theater people, but I was unprepared for just how similar the two books were.

- The first few chapters focus on how much everyone hates one particular character.
- The hated character dies suspiciously.
- Everyone has a motive; no one has an alibi. Several people announce that they had considered killing the dead person themselves.
- The police think it is suicide; Gervese Fen thinks it is murder. Everyone tells Fen he should leave well enough alone because the world is better off without the dead person.
- Fen spends quite a while with a moral dilemma; meanwhile, two couples fall in love and become engaged.
- One member of the newly engaged couples is also murdered. Everyone is surprised and alarmed.
- By the end, the murderer(s) is dead, saving Fen from his dilemma.

I liked the first one enough to give Crispin another shot, so I've got one more book to read. If this one has the same plot, I give up. ( )
  MizPurplest | Sep 21, 2015 |
A thoroughly unpleasant opera singer is found hanged in his dressing room. He also seemed to have ingested a lethal dose of sleeping pills found in a bottle of gin. Although nobody is particularly sorry about the singer's death, Professor Gervase Fen is not convinced it was suicide.

A very funny mystery, which would probably be even more so if I knew anything at all about Wagner's Meistersingers. ( )
  Robertgreaves | May 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Crispin, EdmundAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Innes, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saarikivi, JukkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Godfrey Sampson

My dear Godfrey,

You're not, I fancy, an habitual reader of such murderous tales as this, and in the ordinary way I should be decidedly shy of dedicating one of them to you. But a book with a background of Die Meistersinger--well, what else could I do? It was you who first introduced me to that noble work (in the days when the sum of my musical activity consisted in trying to evade piano lessons), and our mutual admiration of it is not the least of the many bonds of friendship between us. Accept the story, then, for the sake of its setting, and as a foretaste of the day when Wagner's masterpiece returns to Covent Garden--without, let us hope, any of the dismal impediments which beset it in the following pages.

Yours as ever,
Devon, 1946
First words
There are few creatures more stupid than the average singer.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
UK title Swan Song; US title Dead and Dumb; both in 1947.
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From the book cover:
Murder at the opera. No one was sorry silver-voiced Edwin Shorthouse was dead. He had set the stage for his own murder by making enemies with every aria he sang. Now not one highbrow creased with care at the gruesome sight of his gin-soaked corpse swinging slowly from a hangman's noose backstage.
But Gervase Fen, delightful Oxford don and amateur sleuth nonpareil, knew he must crack the conundrum of this locked-dressing-room murder before the killer brought down the curtain on the rest of the cast. And as more dastardly deeds were played out against the backdrop of a grand opera, it was up to fearless Fen to stop the show with a solution to this grand whodunit.
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When an opera company gathers in Oxford for the first post-war production of Wagner's Die Meistersinger their happiness is soon soured by the discovery that Edwin Shorthouse will be singing a leading role. Nearly everyone involved has reason to loathe him but who amongst them has the fiendish ingenuity to kill him in his own locked dressing room?… (more)

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