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A literary, leisurely debut, reminiscent of Sayers, minus an enlivening Lord Peter Wimsey, set in Cambridge University's fictional Sheepshanks College. Near-alcoholic Pryevian Librarian Ernest Garmoyle is fatally poisoned at a High Table dinner. The guest of honor is Lord Cavesson, there to discuss the disposition of an original Shakespeare manuscript found by Garmoyle among the permanent loan papers of Cavesson's family. Down-to-earth Inspector Bunce of the local force is saddled with ""assistance"" from Scotland Yard's snobbish, effete, incompetent Inspector Pcoklington. Matters are muddled by the disappearance of the manuscript, by an elusive campus rapist wearing velvet mules and by a second murder--this time of inoffensive Russian-history scholar Richard Mutton. Mean-while, amidst the general dislike of Garmoyle, Shakespearean authority Robert Austrey seems to have the strongest motive, coveting both Garmoyle's wife Helen and his librarianship, a job also being eyed by Alan Smythson, n‚e Smith, head of the less prestigious Abbot's Library. Inspector Bunce eventually nails his culprit, mostly through luck and a big assist from his quarry. In sum: an accomplished first novel, too often bogged down by the author's eagerness to educate, but with many fresh touches and near-poetic images. Lovers of the English traditional will look forward to Fiske's next outing.

Pub Date: Jan. 2nd, 1985
ISBN: 0595209238
Publisher: St. Martin's