Regular price: $19.62

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
Select or Add a new payment method

Buy Now with 1 Credit

By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Buy Now for $19.62

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Death and decapitation seem to go hand in hand in the Devon village of Aller. When the first victim's head is sent floating down the river, the village's rural calm is shattered. Soon the corpses are multiplying and the entire community is involved in the murder hunt. While the rector, the major, the police and a journalist, desperate for the scoop of the century, chase false trails, it is left to Gervase Fen, Oxford don and amateur criminologist, to uncover the sordid truth.
©2012 Edmund Crispin (P)2013 Audible Ltd
Show More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Sires on 04-28-13

Excellent Narration of A Satirical British Mystery

This was my first run-in with Philip Bird, but I am really pleased with his work on this book. He manages to differentiate the characters very well-- which isn't easy when the speaking characters are mostly male. I thought this was as close to a five star performance as makes no difference.

As for the story. This is the last book published by Edmund Crispin (aka Robert Bruce Montgomery). His popular detective, Oxford Don Professor Gervase Fen, is house sitting for a couple of friends traveling in Canada while writing a book on the post WW II modern novel. About eight weeks before the beginning of the story, a murder had been perpetuated against a most deserving victim. However, it was the events that occurred after the murder that led to the arrest and incarceration in an insane asylum of Hagbert, a local eccentric with a mania for work.

As usual Crispin populates his story with a host of amusingly looney characters. There's also some jokes that don't quite come through in the narration. For instance one character is named Thouless who is composer of music for movies-- he is currently working on music for a horror movie title Unalive. Crispin under his real name, Bruce Montgomery, composed music for movies including the first six "Carry On" movies. There's also a tortoise named Ellis with an underbite who needs his pansy petals premasticated; an overly amorous tom cat named Stripey; the Major who despite his years of service in the Cavalry disliked horses, mainly because he had never been thrown; and assorted other local characters including Titty and Tatty (Titania and Tatiania) a pair of elderly sisters who had one deaf aid between them and a devotion to what they fondly imagined was a Botticelli painting of the Assumption of the Virgin.

So part of the time the book is a mystery and part of the time it is a farce. And I have to believe that the ridiculously drawn out denouement was intentional. There's also sly literary references everywhere.

Recommended highly for those who are willing to accept a satire of the mystery genre and delight in ferreting out Crispin's donnish humor (or humour, I guess I should say).

Read More Hide me

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Anniebligh on 06-09-13

lighthearted listen and a murder mystery

“There is humour which for the cheerful friends we got, and for the thinking parties there is a plot”

Taking some time in Devon, Fen meets up with the Vicar and the Major at a time when a few peculiar murders are done. A journalist joins the trio and together they, like everyone elce in town, talk about who might have 'done it'..
In amongst the Church Fete, Anti Hunting protests,. misbehaving power lines, a gift of a pigs head to make brawn and promiscuous people, the plot unfolds.
Scatterings of Donish quotes from often obscure authors and creative observations are here in plenty. ( 'as insubstantial as ectoplasm at a séance').

Tongue in cheek as usual, this is a delightful listen so well narrated by Phillip Bird.

The following is the order of writing/publishing (not all available yet from Audible)

The Case Of the Gilded Fly..(1944)
Holy Disorders
The Moving Toyshop
Swan Song
Love Lies Bleeding
Buried for Pleasure
Frequent Hearses
The Long Divorce
Beware of the Trains
The Glimpses of the Moon (1977)
Fen Country (posthumously)

Read More Hide me

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

See all Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By PFK on 04-07-13

Such fun!

This is one of the funniest, zaniest detective stories I know, beautifully written in dead-pan style. The plot is weirdly wonderful but the characters and the events are the books real joy. This title is one I turn to when I am feeling ill and depressed.

Read More Hide me

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Avril on 08-03-14

What an treasure for my library

Any additional comments?

I can hardly believe that I have not read or listened to any Fen mysteries before now. What a treasury of perfect, gentle and humorous, English detective stories unsullied by sex and unnecessary gore. I am now well on the way to acquiring all available audiobooks in this series. Beautifully read by Philip Bird.

Read More Hide me

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

See all Reviews
© Copyright 1997 - 2018 Audible, Inc