Glimpses of the Moon by Edmund Crispin

The continued wanderings of a newly minted librarian

Crispin, E. (1977). The glimpses of the moon. New York: Walker and Company.

Glimpses of the Moon is the last of the Gervase Fen mysteries which Crispin authored.  It was written later in life (1977) before Crispin died (1978). This work takes place in the Devon countryside and features a great deal of humor in the Devon dialogue and in general. However, this humor is in stark contrast to the quick but gruesome descriptions of the mutilated bodies. The descriptions really aren’t that gruesome, but in contrast to the humor throughout the rest of the book they stand out all the more.

Gervase Fen is visiting the Devon countryside in which there have been two recent murders. One, a local man is found decapitated and the rest of his limbs hacked off and rearranged—another local man is arrested for the deed (but Fen isn’t sure if he is really guilty of the murder). The second is the mysterious death of a woman from a bridge (did she jump or was she pushed?). While Fen, the Major, and Padmore (a journalist trying to write a book on the first murder) discuss ideas and attend the local country fete, another murder/ decapitation occurs.  Now Fen, the Major, Padmore, and the Rector (it happened at his fete) are trying to figure out what is going on while the police are going nuts trying to track down body parts (they lose the head of the second victim before he can be identified).

While the murders are being investigated, there is also a traveling con-artist who is posing as a utility company employee. He tries to steal a locked chest from the Rector but is blocked by a humorous traffic jam (3 hunt participants are blocked by the vehicle of some hunt protesters which in turn blocks a cattle drive and a motorcycle race and the police). 

In the end Fen, as usual, provides the answers (multiple murderers one of whom is a police officer, and one man who didn’t commit a murder, but did hack up a body). A thoroughly enjoyable entertainment.