The Case of the Gilded Fly by Edmund Crispin

Some time ago, I started a page with the recommendations Kate @ Cross Examining Crime and requested a lot of books from my library (8 is the limit, but I am ignoring that for the glory of an exaggeration). This was the first that I managed to get my hands on. Quite understandably, it has been a prolonged process from requesting to actually getting the books, and I have never been an exceedingly patient person. Hopefully, with the complete reopening of facilities this week, I might get luckier.


The first stumbling block I had with this book were the names for the characters. I was super confused until almost halfway through. We have a Rachel and a Helen, a Jane and Jean and a Nicholas and a Nigel. I have always skimmed the names of any book and just use the feeling each character the rest of the time to focus my attention. In this case, it was exceedingly hard to do that, and this put a damper on the speed of my reading because I had to keep going back to the introductory chapter and see everyone’s entry again. Then there was the Latin. Usually, most books of an older time provide explanations as soon as obscure phrases are used, but in this case, there were none. The cast were mostly well-read men, and this added an extra hurdle. This is where my complaints end, though. I move on to the story itself.

There is a new drama being presented, and all the leading players are making their way to Oxford. We are given detailed descriptions to all their nitpicking and background information of the jealousies and all the other petty (and some not so petty) grievances. The worst character introduced to us is shown as a horrible person in no uncertain terms. It takes a while for her to meet her end, but once she does, events quickly progress. It was an intriguing plotline, and I did not guess the ending and liked the writing. The wry tone and the subtle jabs at people were quite entertaining. As were the different and intense personal dynamics which are handled quite directly. I will be reading more books by the author but will probably be mixing up a few other recommendations set in this time period in between since at least have one already in the queue.


6 thoughts on “The Case of the Gilded Fly by Edmund Crispin”

    1. I think the names threw me off too much 😅😅I scheduled my review of the long farewell Michael innes tomorrow, but from your suggestions it’s the hours before dawn by celia fremlin..have to go pick it up

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll look out for your review of the Long Farewell – Innes can be something of a divisive author! Also very intrigued as to what you’ll make of Hours Before Dawn.


  1. Same. I was also confused by the number of characters presented quickly, and had trouble keeping up with who doesn’t like who and who’s dating who. But I love reading mysteries when everyone hated the victim!

    Liked by 1 person

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