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Glimpses of the Moon, by Edmund Crispin

December 23, 2013

Today’s Specials: Glimpses of the Moon; Police at the Funeral

For our continuing Allingham & Crispin sale, we give you two very different kinds of books: Edmund Crispin’s The Glimpses of the Moon, his last, and Margery Allingham’s Police at the Funeral.

Police at the Funeral, number 4 in the Campion series, is the first outing in which we catch a glimpse of the real person behind the amiable fool persona that Albert Campion puts on, especially in the early novels. Set amidst a family in which middle-aged children are ruled over with an iron fist by an aging matriarch, the novel paints remarkably vivid portraits of characters that are not immediately sympathetic. And, furthermore, you’ll never guess the plot twists.

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The Glimpses of the Moon came out a full 26 years after the preceding mystery in the Gervase Fen series. In the intervening years Crispin had written reviews and edited anthologies, most notably a series of science fiction anthologies for Faber. This last novel is an absolute riot, set in a very strange Devon village, reminiscent perhaps of Crispin’s own surroundings, whose inhabitants include a reluctant movie composer most likely based on Crispin himself (who made his living writing film music). Summarizing this novel is an impossibility: there is a severed head that keeps turning up places, a malfunctioning electricity pylon that terrorizes the village, and a tortoise on a rampage. True story: the proofreader who worked on this novel for Felony & Mayhem reported taking laugh-out-loud breaks.

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