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Edmund Crispin books in order

Edmund Crispin was the pseudonym of English crime writer and composer Robert Bruce Montgomery, better known as Bruce Montgomery.

He is best known for his Gervase Fen crime series, as well as his musical contribution in the early films of the Carry On series.

Born in Buckinghamshire, England, he attended St John's College, Oxford, where he graduated with a BA in modern languages.

An editor of science fiction anthologies and a regular crime fiction reviewer for The Sunday Times, Crispin was known to be friends with the likes of Philip Larkin, Kingsley Amis and Agatha Christie.

Although he was a gifted writer and composer, his struggle with alcoholism greatly inhibited his work, which is why he went for many years without writing anything—more so during his latter years.

Crispin died on 15 September 1978 due to alcohol related complications..

More about Edmund Crispin

Genres: Crime Suspense, Mystery

Born: 1921 / Died: 1978

United Kingdom

Pseudonym: Edmund Crispin


  1. Beware of Trains (1953)

Gervase Fen

  1. The Case of the Gilded Fly (1944)
  2. Holy Disorders (1945)
  3. The Moving Toyshop (1946)
  4. Swan Song (1947)
  5. Love Lies Bleeding (1948)
  6. Buried For Pleasure (1948)
  7. Frequent Hearses (1950)
  8. The Long Divorce (1951)
  9. The Glimpses of the Moon (1977)
  10. Fen Country: Twenty-Six Stories Featuring Gervase Fen (1979)

Detailed book overview


Beware of Trains

How acute are your powers of perception? Do they begin to match those of Gervase Fen, Oxford don and sleuth supreme?

First published in 1953, Beware of the Trains is a collection of sixteen short mysteries. Fen must link a missing train conductor to the murder of a thief, decipher cryptograms to solve the death of a cipher expert and puzzle out a locked-room mystery on Boxing Day.

Author: Edmund Crispin
First Release: 1953
ISBN: 978-1448217465
Publisher: Bloomsbury Reader

Gervase Fen

The Case of the Gilded Fly

It is October 1940 and at Oxford the Full Term has just begun. Robert Warner, up and coming playwright known for his experimental approach, has chosen an Oxford repertory theater for the premiere of his latest play, Metromania.

Together with his cast he comes to Oxford to rehearse a week before the opening, but Warner's troupe is a motley group of actors among whom is the beautiful but promiscuously dangerous Yseut Haskell . She causes quite a stir with her plots, intrigues and love triangles.

When she is found shot dead in the college room of a young man who is infatuated with her, everyone is puzzled and worried –most of the actors have had a reason to get rid of the femme fatale and few have alibis.

The police are at loss for answers and are ready to proclaim the incident as suicide, but Gervase Fen, an Oxford don and professor of literature, who thrives off solving mysteries, is ready to help.

Author: Edmund Crispin
First Release: 1944
ISBN: 978-0008275150
Publisher: Collins Crime Club
Holy Disorders

Holy Disorders takes Oxford don and part time detective Gervase Fen to the town of Tolnbridge, where he is happily bounding around with a butterfly net until the cathedral organist is murdered, giving Fen the chance to play sleuth.

The man didn’t have an enemy in the world, and even his music was inoffensive: could he have fallen foul of a nest of German spies or of the local coven of witches, ominously rumored to have been practicing since the 17th century? Tracking down the answer pleases Fen immensely – only the reader will have a better time.

Erudite, eccentric and entirely delightful – Before Morse, Oxford’s murders were solved by Gervase Fen, the most unpredictable detective in classic crime fiction.

Author: Edmund Crispin
First Release: 1945
ISBN: 978-1911295297
Publisher: Ipso Books
The Moving Toyshop

When a poet, Richard Cadogan, receives an unexpected £50 advance from his publisher for his new poetry book, he decides to go to Oxford for a well deserved holiday. The change of scenery and peace of mind is what he needs to recover his inspiration for writing, but little he suspects that what he envisioned as a leisurely time spent on long walks and visiting friends will turn into a mystery solving adventure full of unexpected and dangerous twists.

After an eventful train journey, Cadogan arrives in Oxford late at night only to realise that he has forgotten the exact address of his stay. Relying on a distant memory of the place he boarded in years ago he accidentally enters a toyshop where, to his surprise and fright, he finds the dead body of a women. Before he knows he is knocked out and spends his first night of the holidays locked in the backroom of the shop.

When he finally recovers from the concussion the body is gone and the toyshop turned mysteriously into a grocery store, and Cadogan himself is accused of trespassing and stealing food.

Luckily for the puzzled poet his old university friend, the professor of literature, Gervase Fen is there ready to plunge into the midst of this mystery.

Author: Edmund Crispin
First Release: 1946
ISBN: 978-0008124120
Publisher: Harper Collins
Swan Song

When an opera company gathers in Oxford for the first post-war production of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger its happiness is soon soured by the discovery that the unpleasant Edwin Shorthouse will be singing a leading role. Nearly everyone involved has reason to loathe Shorthouse but who amongst them has the fiendish ingenuity to kill him in his own locked dressing room?

In the course of this entertaining adventure, eccentric Oxford don and amateur sleuth Gervase Fen has to unravel two murders, cope with the unpredictability of the artistic temperament, and attempt to encourage the course of true love.

NB: This book is also known as Dead and Dumb.

Author: Edmund Crispin
First Release: 1947
ISBN: 978-1911295303
Publisher: Ipso Books
Love Lies Bleeding

Castrevenford school is preparing for Speech Day and English professor and amateur sleuth Gervase Fen is called upon to present the prizes.

However, the night before the big day, strange events take place that leave two members of staff dead. The Headmaster turns to Professor Fen to investigate the murders.

While disentangling the facts of the case, Mr Fen is forced to deal with student love affairs, a kidnapping and a lost Shakespearean manuscript. By turns hilarious and chilling, Love Lies Bleeding is a classic of the detective genre.

Author: Edmund Crispin
First Release: 1948
ISBN: 978-1911295310
Publisher: Ipso Books
Buried For Pleasure

In the sleepy English village of Sanford Angelorum, professor and amateur detective Gervase Fen is taking a break from his books to run for Parliament.

At first glance, the village he’s come to canvass appears perfectly peaceful, but Fen soon discovers that appearances can be deceptive: someone in the village has discovered a dark secret and is using it for blackmail. Anyone who comes close to uncovering the blackmailer’s identity is swiftly dispatched.

As the joys of politics wear off, Fen sets his mind to the mystery but finds himself caught up in a tangled tale of eccentric psychiatrists, escaped lunatics, beautiful women and lost heirs.

Author: Edmund Crispin
First Release: 1948
ISBN: 978-1911295327
Publisher: Ipso Books
Frequent Hearses

Stars, starlets, floozies, and factotums to the film world--Gervase Fen suspects them all...

A young actress, Gloria Scott, drowns after throwing herself off Waterloo Bridge. The news sends shock-waves around her film studio where Gervase Fen, Oxford Don and amateur criminologist, just so happens to be working.

With help from friend the Inspector Humbleby, the tragic loss of young life leads them to many more dark places. Young Ms. Scott's apartment has been searched, and all signs of her real identity have been removed, and what's more, minutes before Humbleby interrogates her co-workers, one of them, a lecherous cameraman, is poisoned.

Equal parts compelling, witty, and ingenuous, this novel is a classic example of great British detective fiction.

NB: This book is also known as Sudden Vengeance.

Author: Edmund Crispin
First Release: 1950
ISBN: 978-1448216895
Publisher: Bloomsbury Reader
The Long Divorce

The peaceful and prosperous village of Cotten Abbas has a very unpleasant problem. Long inhabited by a collection of proudly offbeat locals, there has been a recent influx of the newly rich and very well to do…and not everyone is happy about it.

New arrivals are receiving anonymous letters that know a little too much about dark secrets and dirty laundry and they don’t seem likely to stop.

Gervase Fen is summoned to the scene, but soon finds more than he bargained for. A suicide on Friday, a murder by Sunday, and some villagers that seem hell bent on keeping this mystery unsolved…

NB: This book is also known as A Noose for Her.

Author: Edmund Crispin
First Release: 1951
ISBN: 978-1911295334
Publisher: Ipso Books
The Glimpses of the Moon

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 hunt for the murderer. Whilst many chase false trails, it is left to Gervase Fen, Oxford don and amateur criminologist, to uncover the sordid truth.

Author: Edmund Crispin
First Release: 1977
ISBN: 978-1448216901
Publisher: Bloomsbury Reader
Fen Country: Twenty-Six Stories Featuring Gervase Fen

Dandelions, hearing aids, a blood-stained cat, a Leonardo drawing and a corpse with an alibi…Just some of the unusual clues that Professor Gervase Fen and his friend Inspector Humbleby are confronted with in this sparkling collection of short mystery stories. Employing a skillful balance of ingenuity and humor, Crispin lays out all the clues.

Can you solve the case before Professor Fen?

Author: Edmund Crispin
First Release: 1979
ISBN: 978-1448217472
Publisher: Bloomsbury Reader