Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (March 6)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

It’s been a while since I’ve featured crime fiction in this meme and today I’ve decided to see how one of the classic crime writers chose to open their novel.

The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin was published in 1946 and was nominated by P.D. James as one of her five “most riveting crime novels.” Another fan is Val McDermid said of the novel “”A classic crime novel with a surreal streak… It’s a clever, energetic romp, written with wit.”


Richard Cadogan, poet and would-be bon vivant, arrives for what he thinks will be a relaxing holiday in the city of dreaming spires. Late one night, however, he discovers the dead body of an elderly woman lying in a toyshop and is coshed on the head. When he comes to, he finds that the toyshop has disappeared and been replaced with a grocery store.

The police are understandably sceptical of this tale but Richard’s former schoolmate, Gervase Fen (Oxford professor and amateur detective), knows that truth is stranger than fiction (in fiction, at least). Soon the intrepid duo are careening around town in hot pursuit of clues but just when they think they understand what has happened, the disappearing-toyshop mystery takes a sharp turn… Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Richard Cadogan raised his revolver, took careful aim and pulled the trigger. The explosion rent the small garden and, like the widening circles which surround a pebble dropped into the water, created alarms and disturbances of diminishing intensity throughout the suburbs of St. John’s Wood. From the sooty trees, their leaes brown and gold in the autumn sunlight, rose flights of startled birds. In the distance a dog began to howl. Richard Cadogan went up to the target and inspected it in a dispirited sort of way. It bore no mark of any kind.

‘I missed it,’ he said thoughtfully. ‘Extraordinary.’

Well I want to know more, how about you? What do you think?


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

19 thoughts on “First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (March 6)

  1. Surreal! Yes I’d read on. One of Crispin’s short stories, ‘Beware of the Trains’ is in Martin Edwards’ collection of ‘Miraculous Mysteries’. It’s a clever and baffling story about a lost train driver – the train disappears, just like the toyshop.


  2. Since this is on my own TBR I’m really glad I like the opening paragraph! I won’t get to it for a few months though, so I’ll be intrigued to hear what you think of it…


  3. Oh, this is a classic, I think, Cleo. I’m very glad you’re reading it, and I’ll be very interested in knowing what you think of it. 🙂


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