“Gervase, I’ve lost a toyshop.”
Poet Richard Cadogan came to Oxford looking for a change of scene, but this isn’t exactly what he had in mind. Arriving on the outskirts of the city late at night, he happens upon an unlocked toyshop with a dead woman inside. When Cadogan returns with police, not only is the body gone—so is the toyshop.
A baffled Cadogan turns to his old friend, Oxford don and amateur detective Gervase Fen, to solve this most unusual case. A disappearing corpse is one thing, but a disappearing crime scene is something else altogether Continue reading “The Moving Toyshop (1946) by Edmund Crispin”
“You see a figure ahead of you, solid, three-dimensional, brightly colored. Moving and obeying all the laws of optics. Its clothing and posture is vaguely familiar. You hurry toward the figure for a closer view. It turns its head and—you are looking at yourself. Or rather a perfect mirror image of yourself only—there is no mirror. So, you know it is your double. And that frightens you, for tradition tells you that he who sees his own double is about to die…”
Atmosphere is so important in cultivating the very best kind of school, and Brereton is certainly that. If a teacher creates a disturbing environment at the school, then that teacher has to go, even in the middle of the term. So the headmistress is sure Faustina Crayle understands why she is being dismissed.
But Faustina doesn’t understand. All she knows is that she’s been an outcast ever since she arrived at the school and no one will tell her why. Her only friend, Austrian refugee Gisela von Hohenems, asks Basil Willing to investigate.
What he discovers is impossible: Faustina has a doppelgänger. Can the same woman really be in two places at once? And what if one of them commits murder?
Continue reading “Through a Glass, Darkly (1950) by Helen McCloy”
“Good God, you don’t go and kill people because you don’t like them—nobody does. It would be stark insanity for [someone] to kill a girl because she got on his nerves a bit.”
Parents, why not send your children to Santley House School? Nestled in a charming Oxfordshire village, Santley House is the modern, experimental school for “more-or-less intelligent and more-or-less impecunious members of the middle and lower-middle-classes.” Here, youngsters are free to grow and learn at their own pace—if they live that long.
Continue reading “Scandal at School (1935) by G.D.H. and Margaret Cole”
“Heaven forbid I should ever meet up with another Wentworth girl. If they’re all like Grace Hough, that place must be a congregation of female vipers.”
For the other girls at Wentworth College, campus life is an endless round of parties and dates. They even use a school-approved “cultural” outing to sneak into a nightclub. Grace Hough has never quite fit in, though, especially since her bankrupt father killed himself. So her roommate Lee Lovering is happy when Grace starts getting special delivery letters from an admirer. She even lets Grace wear her fur coat to meet this secret boyfriend.
After a hectic night out in New York City, Lee runs into Grace, leaving the theater with a red-haired naval officer. She will never see her roommate alive again.
Continue reading “Death and the Maiden (1939) by Q. Patrick”