Edmund Crispin

The Dastardly Past:  Edmund Crispin.

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On October 2, 1921, Robert Bruce Montgomery, pen name Edmund Crispin, was born.  Crispin attended St. John’s College, Oxford, and began producing his breezy mystery novels at a young age.  Employing a facetiousness that bordered on the farcical, Crispin is a writer you either love or you don’t.  He lampoons academia, indulges in outrageous puns, and uses exaggeration in a way more reminiscent of P. G. Wodehouse than P. D. James.  Detractors have referred to his style as “coy.”

Crispin’s best known work is The Moving Toy Shop, which relies on outrageous plot devices yet remains beloved of mystery aficionados the world over.  Sadly, Crispin ran out of writing steam in the 1950s.  Afterwards he concentrated on music and became a prominent critic of detective fiction, often writing for the Sunday Times.  Nevertheless, his novels have remained in print and fans return to them again and again, if not for the puzzles they contain, then for the tone and wit in which he presents them.

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