The Moving Toyshop

Crispin, Edmund - The Moving Toyshop (1946)



Review by Nick Fuller


"It's a somewhat unusual business, isn't it?"

"So unusual that no one in his senses would invent it."


Crispin's third book is a curious mixture of farce and detection. But it is a strikingly successful melange à deux. The opening — an intrusion of magic into reality — lures the reader into the gleeful romp that is Toyshop. The detection consists of finding five highly unlikely characters named after the nonsense poems of Edward Lear. One of these five is the murderer, and not a particularly exciting villain (as always in Crispin, the murderer’s identity is disappointing — the pleasure of these books comes from the humour, not from the plots themselves), but, what with the minor characters (a Welsh hypochondriac, a malevolent medium, D.H. Lawrence-spouting truckies, and Wilkes at his best) and the chases, the reader is having too much fun to object. Note that the book is dedicated to Philip Larkin, who wrote the dialogue on poetry at the beginning of Chapter 12. The chapter titles are strongly reminiscent of Nicholas Blake's The Smiler with the Knife.


See also

See also