Holy Disorders - Gervase Fen Mysteries Author:Edmund Crispin Gervase Fen--the eccentric Oxford don with a knack for solving “impossible” crimes--made his debut in The Case of the Gilded Fly, which Edmund Crispin (in reality, composer Bruce Montgomery) wrote to win a bet. With Holy Disorders, Crispin’s skills matured, but Fen remains as maddeningly childish as ever, still deliciously fond of his own wit an... more »d erudition, and given to quoting Lewis Carroll at inappropriate occasions. First published in 1945, Holy Disorders takes 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 afoul 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. This, said the New York Times Book Review, is “Fen at his very best.”« less
The reason to read this is mostly because Crispin is a highly literate writer. The story takes place in a small town with the local cathedral playing a big part, so nice scenes of English village (and pub) life. And I was surprised by the ending, but it crosses over to the ludicrous at the end, and is one of the weaker Gervase Fen books.