The Crispin Chronicles
Love Lies Bleeding
In many ways, this must have been Fen's most frustrating case. A professor of, and lover of, English literature, he stumbles across tantalisingly fleeting references to the existence of the manuscript of Shakespeare's lost (if ever written) Love's Labour's Won only never to lay hand or eye on it, and to see what purported to be it consumed in flames.
Invited by his friend Dr Stanford to present the prizes at Castrevenford School, Fen, as was his wont, soon stumbles into not one, but two, murders, that of the pedantic and scholarly master Love, and of Love's erstwhile protege, Michael Somers, now also teaching at the school. In the end,of course, he resolves the case, but never does determine if the manuscript was genuine.
The story is bereft of the sort of chasing and high spirits first seen in Moving Toyshop, and when Fen meets Daphne Savage, and finds she's a friend of Sally Carstairs (from that adventure) he admits to be older and more sober than he was those ten years before.
The story remains an excellent one, with Fen called on to exercise considerable ingenuity. It also introduces some more eccentric characters of the sort Fen seemed to attract: Superintendent Stagge, with his perpetual look of surprise, the homicidal (trimensually) and singularly inappropriately named Mr Merrythought, and Mr Philpotts the running Master.
Fen is again involved in one of those fantastic chases he seemed to specialise in, though this one did not lead to the capture of the killer, who died while trying to escape.