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Glimpses of the Moon by Edmund Crispin
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Glimpses of the Moon (1977)

by Edmund Crispin

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Published 1977, this is the final in the Gerase Fen series written by Bruce Montgomery, aka Edmund Crispin. Crispin has published eight Fen mysteries between 1955 and 1955, and then a short story collection in 1956, before his alcoholism, apparently, shut off the creative flow. In 1976 he married is secretary, Ann, and it was she who encouraged him to finish Glimpses of the Moon. He died in 1978 from alcohol-related problems.

I haven't, I admit, read anything else by him so I am unable to compare this work to his previous novels. Glimpses is charming, a country-cosy mystery, full of odd-ball eccentrics as only the British can write them, and lots of clever dialogue. There's a vicar, and a tortoise, a mildly-insane cat and a horse with narcolepsy and, of course, a retired army major longing for another war. And there's a dismembered body, the head of which floats downstream on a raft.

I found it clever, and amusing, but a little long-winded in parts and some of the comedy seemed brittle, a little forced. The murder plot played second fiddle to the goings-on in the village, which is fine, if you're in the mood for this sort of thing.

Not, I hope, his best book, but a solid read for cottage-mystery fans. ( )
  Laurenbdavis | Mar 25, 2014 |
This was a very fun book. It took me a little while to get into it, but it was worth the trouble. Great characters, good story, lots of laughs. I was very glad to have it on my Kindle. Edmund Crispin uses a lot of archaic language. Having a dictionary at my fingertips was really helpful. I really enjoyed this book and am ready to read it again. My enthusiasm convinced my husband to read it. I'll be glad to have someone to share it with. Thank you to NetGalley for introducing me to this delightful book. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
This book was written after Crispen let Gervase Fen rest for about 25 years. It took me a while to appreciate the change of era as well as a change in the style of writing but once I settled in I was thoroughly engrossed in what was much more a comedy of manners in the flower power years than a mystery. It was witty, farsical and fun. ( )
  Condorena | Apr 2, 2013 |
Professor Gervase Fen has retreated to a rural idyll to work on a book, but the tranquility is shattered by the discovery of a headless body at the church fete - a discovery which bears disturbing similarities to another recent case which seemed to have been resolved.

By some way, this was my least favourite of Crispin's books: the wit and the stylish prose of the earlier works are still there, but there a very bitter tone at times. The misogyny and racism are stronger, or at least far more noticeable, than in his books of 25 or 30 years earlier, with the former in particular being strong and constant. (It may simply be that they stand out more in a work from the late 1970s than the 1940s or early 1950s, where they are more easily dismissed as being the attitudes of the period.)

The plot is somewhat rambling - there are long sections where very little happens to much purpose, and some lengthy scenes which seem to serve no purpose at all - and the resolution is not particularly satisfactory. This is one of Crispin's longer books, and certainly lacks the sharpness of some of the others: it could have benefited considerably from losing a few dozen pages. ( )
1 vote CatyM | Aug 18, 2012 |
I enjoyed this book immensely although it could never really be classified as a murder mystery; there is really no hope of guessing who did the murders and they almost seem to be incidental to the plot. There really wasn't much of a plot either.

Nevertheless, the author obviously had immense fun introducing a range of extremely eccentric characters and amused himself by using a great number of words which I have never come across before and in many cases wondered if they were actually words or whether, like the characters in the book were "not based in any way on real words".

I'll give it a few weeks and read the book again WITH A DICTIONARY. ( )
1 vote pinkozcat | Jul 22, 2012 |
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"That's another of them, don't you know," said the Major.
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Death and decapitation seem to go hand in hand in the Devon village of Aller. When the first victim's head is found floating down the river the villages rural calm is shattered.. soon the corpses are multiplying and the entire community is involved in the hunt! Gervase Fen is staying at the calm and quiet village, writing a book, which gets interrupted to uncover the truth! Police find then lose two heads. Wacky characters abound.
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Several inhabitants of an English village try to learn the identity of the killer responsible for a series of murders.

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