Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Review of The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin (1946, Penguin)
The Moving Toyshop is a locked room, crime farce. Crispin writes in taut, tight prose, that is all show and no tell so that the plot moves along a jaunty pace. The characterisation is nicely observed, especially the double act of Cadogan, the poet out of his depth, and Fen, the bright detective who ignores the law. The other principles are also well penned. The plot is quite intricate, and the puzzle is agreeably knotted. A streak of dark humour runs throughout and as the story unfolds the farce deepens, so that by the end there are dozens of people chasing each other round Oxford in a set of caper sequences. The only real issue is that plot does rest on a set of coincidences and actions that are unlikely, which the author tries to paste over by conversing directly with reader (see post yesterday). In many ways this doesn’t really matter as the story remains a very enjoyable romp. Overall, a fun and engaging tale.