Although I've chosen one of his novels for today's Forgotten Book, the happy truth is that Edmund Crispin has never been entirely forgotten as a crime writer. I was recently interviewed about Crispin by a magazine in Colombia, of all places. I was told that Crispin's name is no longer very familiar over there, but I think I'm right in saying that he's always had some admirers in the US. And certainly the recent reissue of several of his books in the UK has kindled further interest here.
In Buried for Pleasure, Gervase Fen rather rashly decides to stand for Parliament, and finds himself staying in a rickety inn in Sanford Angelorum, meeting an assortment of unlikely characters. These include a vicar who is plagued by a poltergeists, and although some of the scenes bear only a limited relation to the central mystery plot, they are never less than amusing and well-written.
Fen comes across an undercover police officer, investigating a questionable recent death - occasioned by consuming - guess what? - poisoned chocolates. Soon the police officer himself is murdered, and there is an obvious suspect. But we all know that obvious suspects are innocent, right? (Unless the author is Agatha Christie, that is, and she has a cunning double-bluff in mind).
I enjoyed this book. It's short and entertaining, and even if the murder mystery is flawed in some ways (I was irked that Fen's conversation with the deceased was censored so as to deprive us of vital information, but the whole story depended on this) it makes for a very good relaxing read - ideal for a holiday. The political stuff also is handled with a light touch. It's such a shame that Crispin's career was so short-lived. But he left a considerable literary legacy.