Swan Song

Swan Song Before odious Edwin Shorthouse can sing the lead in the first Oxford post war Die Meistersinger someone kills him in his own locked dressing room Gervase Fen eccentric professor of English Literatur

  • Title: Swan Song
  • Author: Edmund Crispin
  • ISBN: 9781933397542
  • Page: 467
  • Format: Paperback
  • Before odious Edwin Shorthouse can sing the lead in the first Oxford post war Die Meistersinger, someone kills him in his own locked dressing room Gervase Fen, eccentric professor of English Literature with a passion for amateur detecting, is on the case American title is Dead and Dumb.
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      Published :2019-02-06T02:55:04+00:00

    916 Comment

    • Bev says:

      I do love me an academic mystery. And Edmund Crispin's delightful series starring Gervase Fen--the Oxford don and quirky amateur detective--is a marvelous example of academic mysteries done right. There is witty, sparkling dialogue. There is intellectual name-dropping--"There goes C. S. Lewis," said Fen suddenly. "It must be Tuesday." There is unashamed references to fellow Golden Age sleuths (H.M Mrs. Bradley and Albert Campion). There is the entertainingly mad brother of the deceased. There is [...]

    • Oscar says:

      Después del placer que supuso leer ‘La juguetería errante’, vuelvo con otra novela del británico Edmund Crispin, protagonizada por el excéntrico profesor de Oxford y detective aficionado Gervase Fen. Las novelas de Crispin están llenas de ironía y humor, y en ellas asistimos a las deducciones de tal peculiar personaje.‘El canto del cisne’ nos propone otro crimen a puerta cerrada, improbable desde cualquier punto de vista, y con múltiples sospechosos. Nos encontramos en Oxford, en [...]

    • Isabel G L says:

      No me ha gustado mucho, y no tanto porque sea un mal libro (que no lo es) como por lo mal que ha sobrevivido al paso del tiempo. Ni le he terminado de pillar el punto al sentido del humor, ni le he cogido el ritmo a la novela que, para que nos entendamos, parecía un Cluedo.

    • Jon says:

      Written in 1946, this book describes the first production, in England after the war, of Die Meistersinger (banned during the war because the Nazis loved Wagner) and several murders that occur during rehearsals. It is a near-perfect example of the old-fashioned English murder mystery at its best. A locked room murder, an eccentric Oxford don as the sleuth, admirably witty, romantic, or waspish suspects. I especially loved it because, even though I caught one of the most important clues early on, [...]

    • S Dizzy says:

      Although I love the eccentric Gervase Fen, I think in this story, one of my favorite characters who doesn't even figure prominently in the story, is John Barfield, who seemed never not to be eating. It's hilarious that when he enters scenes, he seems to be consuming food.I really appreciate the way Crispin stated and described things -"And the situation was this, that she had fallen inexplicably and quite unexpectedly in love with an operatic tenorHow it came about she was never able clearly to [...]

    • Robin Stevens says:

      A charming detective story that's also a really clever impossible crime. Set in an opera company, and mostly in Oxford (the characters take tea at the Randolph and drink at the Bird and Baby!), it's a really fun, fast and enjoyable read, and the denouement is extremely smart. 12+*Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. Please do not use it in any marketing material, online or in print, without asking permission from me first. Thank you!*

    • Ifigenia says:

      Después de haberme leído y reído con la juguetería errante, no podía menos que leer esta novela de este detective aficionado tan excéntrico, por eso se lo pedí a mi amigo invisible.Han pasado unos añitos después de la juguetería errante, y si dije que en la anterior novela el coprotagonista era la literatura, en este, casi estoy por decir, que es la II guerra mundial, encontraremos varias referencias a ella a lo largo de la novela: Que en un mundo en el que los físicos atómicos pasea [...]

    • Tony Renner says:

      Edmund Crispin's Swan Song (1947) features Gervase Fen for the 4th time in what proves to be as much of a romantic comedy as a murder mystery, though Fen does solve an ingenious murder.Barzun and Taylor's A Catalogue of Crime (1971) says"Educated at Merchant Taylors' and St. John's, Oxford, Edmund Crispin is a man of letters and a musician (organist and composer) as well as one of the masters of modern detective fiction since his 22nd year. Reserved in manner, but a charming conversationalist an [...]

    • Damaskcat says:

      This book deserves five stars for the totally ingenious locked room murder alone. Edwin Shorthouse - opera singer - is a totally dislikeable corpse The whole cast of the Wagner opera in which he has a part have motives for disposing of him though to many - including the police - it appears to be suicide because no one could have committed the crime.Of course Gervase Fen discovers a solution to the mystery of how anyone could have done with a little help from a skeleton and the police. I don't al [...]

    • Christine Cody says:

      What I enjoy so much about Crispin’s work is that he seems to enjoy writing the books so very much. His books reveal joyfulness in the writing and in the humor woven throughout. Gervase Fen is of course a unique and thoroughly wonderful protagonist, which makes these stories on a par with the very best mysteries of all time. Once Fen enters the story, I know I’m going to be on the right path for the rest of the book. Although the editors tout this as a great locked room mystery, it’s much [...]

    • Shannon says:

      He got me! I am not usually fooled by the author, but I have to admit that this time, I was! However, at least I figured out one of the murder weapons, if not the person who applied it.The devices used for the main murder (there are two deaths) were ingenious, but also too complex for me to think of or even grasp fully when explained. I felt a little bit cheated due to the intricacy of the method, but the author played fair concerning murderer and motive.Gervase Fen as an erudite private detecti [...]

    • Pat says:

      I enjoyed the book until the end. The solutions of these types of stories are just too ridiculous. I can't imagine anyone going to all that trouble. When did he do his research? Where was his spouse? How did he happen to know.well you get it. Just too far fetched for me. It really spoils the book to, in my opinion, really have no ending. I'd prefer a more likely scenario.

    • Carol Berkman says:

      Charming but fantastic. Not much more to say beyond my title - Crispin is a wonderful writer with a wry sense of humor and grand delivery, but the solution to the crime was too too odd. Nonetheless I'm off in search of more by the same author.

    • Sharla says:

      This had one of the most interesting solutions/conclusions I've ever seen in all my years of reading mystery fiction.

    • Mariano Hortal says:

      Publicado en lecturaylocura/el-canto-deEn la dedicatoria inicial a Godfrey Sampson (profesor de composición que fue amigo y mentor de Bruce Montgomery (Edmund Crispin), este último le comenta su especial homenaje personal ubicando la obra policíaca con el incomparable telón de fondo de “Los maestros cantores de Nuremberg” debido a la admiración que ambos sienten por ella diciéndole: “Acepta esta historia, por tanto, aunque solo sea por el escenario, y como un aperitivo hasta el día [...]

    • Cirrus Minor says:

      Es ist mal wieder an der Zeit, einige Bücher auszusortieren, die ich doch nicht lesen möchte - dieses gehört dazu.

    • Alger says:

      This is a work of nostalgia. A lovely little period piece that is always looking back at the interwar period when arsenic and gentleman detectives were thick on the ground, and there was at least the illusion that Britannia still ruled the waves. This book is so thoroughly backward looking that one character's musings that "As he grew older he lived more and more in the past. It meant that the end was not far off, and he was sufficiently satiated with living to be indifferent", reads like a summ [...]

    • Becca says:

      I was fairly excited to read this book, having just really enjoyed another Edmund Crispin novel. Unfortunately, I rapidly discovered I was actually just rereading the same book.I knew that the setting would be the same, and that the theme would be theater people, but I was unprepared for just how similar the two books were.- The first few chapters focus on how much everyone hates one particular character.- The hated character dies suspiciously.- Everyone has a motive; no one has an alibi. Severa [...]

    • John says:

      This is the book that introduced me to Edmund Crispin and his fictional Oxford English literature don/amateur detective Gervase Fen.Two things I particularly like about "Swan Song":1. A "seedy-looking little man" who makes his entrance on Page 174 and his exit on Page 175. But before he leaves, he delivers a speech:"Tryin' ter take yer own life," said the little man reproachfully. "Ungodly, that's what it is.""Think of the nice birds," he added encouragingly, "and the nice trees, and the nice bl [...]

    • The Rags of Time says:

      It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a mystery writer in need of a good murder will sooner or later turn to opera. I have literally lost count of the books in which opera singers, opera performers or opera houses figure, not to mention opera loving detectives. This, I suppose, is Crispin's contribution to the long list of operatic murders, and while it's not bad, it suffers from the same problem as The Gilded Fly – the clues are simply too obvious and I had the whole thing figured out [...]

    • Tony says:

      SWAN SONG. (1947). Edmund Crispin. ****.From the back flap:“Hurrah! With the Nazis routed, the British can sing Wagner again. The company assembled in Oxford for the first post-war production of Die Meistersinger is delighted, but their happiness is soured by word that the odious Edwin Shorthouse will be singing a leading role. Nearly everyone in the company has reason to loathe Shorthouse, but who could have had the fiendish ingenuity to hill him in his own locked dressing room? Answering tha [...]

    • Ian says:

      A locked room murder to solve for Fen, this time occurring during the rehearsals for the first post-war production of a Wagner opera - Die Meistersinger. I enjoy all the 1940s thoroughly English beastliness, but the further into Fen's sleuthing career I get, the less three dimensional he becomes and the more obvious does the author make his presence felt. Thus the murder of Edwin Shorthouse in his dressing room seems less of a crime for Fen to solve and more of an insoluble puzzle designed by Cr [...]

    • Irene says:

      The book is a very good murder mystery and offers a good view of the opera world of the 1970's. However, the plot is a little obvious in the sense that the reader inmediately knows who cannot possibly be the murderer. The plot also centers in the lives of the characters, as well as in the murder, but both things are carried to an end very abruptly and the modus operandi is too complicated to be understood at the first read. But once you undersand the way and give a little though to the character [...]

    • Sally says:

      I haven't read all the Gervase Fen mysteries yet, but this was one I particularly enjoyed, probably because I could easily picture the processes of getting an opera production ready for performance. Getting down to explaining how a man was murdered when it seemed it would have been impossible, yet not possibly suicide either, was a good hook (slight pun here, in case you read the book) for mystery lovers. I have a long way to go to cover all the Fen mysteries, but possibly I'll eventually get to [...]

    • Susan says:

      It's obvious that operatic basso Edwin Shorthouse committed suicide before starring in the first post-World War II production of Wagner's Der Meistersinger. Between the medical evidence of time of death, and the fact that the one door to his dressing room was under observation, none of the people who had cause to disliked Shorthouse could have killed him. Oxford don Gervase Fen, however, doesn't really think the obnoxious singer would have done everyone such a favor, and he goes to work investig [...]

    • Craig W. says:

      Well crafted, erudite mystery. Gervase Fen, an Oxford don, works with friendly police to sort out the locked room murder of an obnoxious opera star. There are plenty of suspects but no insight as to the method until near the end. There is a second murder, a near miss and a surprising resolution. Crispin keeps us amused along the way with lively dialogue and a bit of action. The only bit of a flaw is that he has fallen into a habit of having the bad guys try to bump off his protagonists with gas. [...]

    • Miles says:

      Enjoyable Fen mystery involving apparent locked-room hanging of lecherous and detestable though talented operatic tenor. The solution to the locked room problem is highly original (and gruesome) but also comes with the let down that usually accompanies a solution involving a mechanical contraption (nor is the relevant suspect ever presented to the reader as mechanically-minded, IIRC). Likeble characters, though, plus lively pacing and nice bits of comedy, but not nearly in the same league as The [...]

    • Nimbex says:

      Lo he disfrutado muchísimo, aún más que La juguetería errante. Es divertido, intrigante, muy movido y los personajes son todos geniales, especialmente Gervase Fen que se está convirtiendo en uno de mis detectives literarios favoritos. Si tuviera que ponerle alguna pega sería que la resolución del misterio es un poco enrevesada, pero eso no consigue que disminuya mi gusto por la historia en general.

    • Jenn Estepp says:

      Ah, Fen. I've missed you. Not quite sure why I waited so long to get back to you. If you like your vintage mysteries with a dash of absurdity and humor, Crispin isn't a bad way to go. Swan Song wasn't *quite* as rollicking as a book whose descriptions begins with "Hurrah!" ought to be, but still lots of fun and it goes down quickly. Also, it's very twisty, in a good way. It's not necessary to have read the earlier books to enjoy it, although if you have, some of the bits will be even funnier.

    • Sandi says:

      Classic golden age type mystery featuring Gervase Fen, an Oxford don, who is a well known crime solver. The book is set just after World War 2 in Oxford where an opera house is preparing to perform Wagner for the first time since the war but murder soon intervenes. The plot was suitably tricky, the characters all well rounded, and I enjoyed picking up bits and pieces about Wagner while listening. The audio narration was performed by Philip Bird who did a stellar job.

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