Edmund Crispin

Crispin - photo.jpg

Pseudonym of Bruce Montgomery

Born: 2 October 1921, Chesham Bois, UK

Died: 15 September 1978, London


Edmund Crispin (pseudonym of Bruce Montgomery) was one of the last writers of detective stories in the classic mould.  His delightful books are distinguished by high spirits and a brilliant sense of humour.

Penguin gave this biog:

Edmund Crispin was born in 1921 of Scots-Irish parentage. He was educated at Merchant Taylors’ and St. John’s College, Oxford, where he read Modern Languages. He has been a pianist, organist, and conductor since the age of fourteen and was for two years an assistant master at a public school. He travelled a certain amount before the war, where he totally failed to prognosticate the subsequent course of events.

Edmund Crispin’s real name is Bruce Montgomery, and he is a composer as well as a writer. His recreations are swimming, excessive smoking, Shakespeare, the operas of Wagner and Strauss, idleness, and cats. His antipathies are dogs, the French Film, the Renaissance of the British Film, psychoanalysis, the psychological-realistic crime story, and the contemporary theatre. His favourite detective novelist is John Dickson Carr.

Mr. Crispin is the author of nine detective stories and two volumes of short stories.

Crispin’s series detective was Professor Gervase Fen, Professor of English Language and Literature in the University of Oxford. Fen is as ‘a tall, lanky man, about forty years of age, with a cheerful, lean, ruddy, clean-shaven face. His dark hair, sedulously plastered down with water, stuck up in spikes at the crown.’ He is usually to be seen wearing ‘an enormous raincoat and carried an enormous hat.’

Fen should really be played by Tom Baker.  He is eccentric and often childish; interested in everything; and one of the most loveable detectives in fiction.


Gervase Fen in all novels.

  1. The Case of the Gilded Fly (1944; published in the US as Obsequies at Oxford)
  2. Holy Disorders (1945)
  3. The Moving Toyshop (1946)
  4. Swan Song (1947; published in the US as Dead and Dumb)
  5. Love Lies Bleeding (1948)
  6. Buried for Pleasure (1948)
  7. Frequent Hearses (1950; published in the US as Sudden Vengeance)
  8. The Long Divorce (1951; also published as A Noose for Her)
  9. Beware of the Trains (1953; short stories)
  10. The Glimpses of the Moon (1977)
  11. Fen Country (1979; short stories)