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Swan Song Paperback – 1 Oct 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (1 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099542145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099542148
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 411,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A splendid reminder of the intricate craft involved in creating a superior locked room mystery... Crispin provides neatly observed characters, clues honestly presented, a denouement which is both outrageous and satisfying and a splendidly offhand opening" (The Times)

"The books are fast, fun and smart, their hero charming, frivolous, brilliant and badly behaved" (New Review)

"One of the most literate mystery writers of the twentieth century" (Boston Globe)

Book Description

TRY A VINTAGE MURDER MYSTERY
As inventive as Agatha Christie, as hilarious as P.G. Wodehouse – discover the delightful detective stories of Edmund Crispin. Crime fiction at its quirkiest and best.

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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This book deserves five stars for the totally ingenious locked room murder alone. Edwin Shorthouse - opera singer - is a totally dislikeable corpse.. The whole cast of the Wagner opera in which he has a part have motives for disposing of him though to many - including the police - it appears to be suicide because no one could have committed the crime.

Of course Gervase Fen discovers a solution to the mystery of how anyone could have done with a little help from a skeleton and the police. I don't always think that Crispin's full length novels work as well as his short stories but this one is excellent with some marvellously amusing scenes and of course the ingenious crime itself. The writing is stylish and assumes a reasonable level of education in the reader. Crispin is a writer whose books bear re-reading as I always find things I missed or failed to appreciate in previous readings.
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Format: Paperback
I adore Edmund Crispin's books but this was not one of his very best - and it grieves me to admit it. So saying, it was enjoyable but when compared to The Moving Toyshop or his masterpiece, Buried for Pleasure, I found it a bit lacking in the pure humour I have come to expect from Mr. Crispin. I would still recommend purchasing it, however, because it's worth reading and completing your collection of Crispins.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
And Swan Song is a good example of his work. This is perhaps the most overtly musical of his crime stories - reminding us that as Bruce Buckingham he was a highly respected writer of film scores. Fen is on top form.
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Format: Paperback
An opera-singer dies in mysterious and inexplicable circumstances in a theatre in Oxford whilst preparing for opening night. Many other characters involved in the same production have motives to kill him. Few of them, however, have watertight alibis... Enter Gervase Fen, erstwhile Professor of English at St Christopher's College and successful, if unorthodox, amateur sleuth.

Sound familiar? That's because it is. Change `opera-singer' to `actor' and you basically have the plot to The Case of the Gilded Fly, Edmund Crispin's first Gervase Fen mystery novel. Unlike the first in the series, however, Gervase Fen does not begin to see what happened, or whodunit, until we are into the last tenth of the novel. Where its predecessor, The Moving Toyshop, was a blur of motion and excitement throughout, Swan Song only sputters into life around page 180. Despite many references to the previous novel and its characters, as well as the re-appearance of Fen's quirky sports car, Lily Christine III, Swan Song is a bit of a let-down in comparison.

There are, however, some entertaining touches. During one of many long conversations, Fen looks out of the window of the Mace & Sceptre and remarks "There's CS Lewis. It must be Tuesday", later on confirming "There's CS Lewis again". It turns out that Tuesday lunchtime was when The Inklings: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and Their Friends- an Oxford University writing group - had their informal meetings in a local pub.
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