Monday, February 28, 2011
Rec. #60: The Moving Toyshop
What: Late one night, a poet stumbles upon the dead body of an old woman in a toyshop (as you do). When he returns the next morning with the police, the toyshop has vanished and in its place is a grocery store. (NB: Contrary to all expectation, this is not down to drink.) Mix in Oxford don/amateur detective Gervase Fen, a mysterious will, villains on bicycles, and some Edward Lear limericks, and you have a veritable romp through Oxford. This classic crime novel is much beloved, and with good reason. The first time I read it, I think I actually heard my brain say, "Wheee!"
Comparable to: Edmund Crispin's Gervase Fen resembles Margery Allingham's Albert Campion more than he does Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, Roderick Alleyn, or Lord Peter Wimsey.
Representative quote: "I repeat --- I am getting old and stale. I act with calculation. I take heed for the morrow. This morning I caught myself paying a bill as soon as it came in. This must all be stopped. In another age I should have devoured the living hearts of children to bring back my lost youth. As it is . . . I shall go to Oxford."
You might not like it if: You are just not a fan of the genre.
How to get it: Oh, mes amis, it is very sad --- The Moving Toyshop is currently out of print. This is library and used book territory.
Connections to previous Wreckage: Another author from the Golden Age of detective fiction is Ngaio Marsh. Her Death and the Dancing Footman was Rec. #37.