I read The Moving Toyshop for the first time last night. I thought it brilliant, with a proper murder mystery, breathless pace and some outright laugh-out-loud moments.
The book (set in 1938, written in 1946) features Crispin's regular series detective, Gervase Fen, an eccentric Oxford don (is there any other kind? Certainly not in this book). And I suspect that Whovians will find him strangely familiar:
He was a tall, lanky man about forty years of age, with a cheerful, lean, ruddy, clean-shaven face. His dark hair, sedulously plastered down with water, stuck up in spikes at the crown. He had on an enormous raincoat and carried an extraordinary hat.
Then consider his behaviour: He solves the mystery in a single day by dint of hurtling around Oxford with an ever-increasing retinue (one of whom is a blonde shopgirl), improvising frantically, stumbling over implausible coincidences, baffling the official police, blundering into and out of trouble, driving the Chief Constable to distraction with continual telephone calls, stealing vehicles should his own not be to hand, and giving the fourth wall an occasional cheerful prod.
After I'd read the book, I Googled it, and found that: (a) Edmund Crispin, under his real name Bruce Montgomery, wrote the scores for six Carry On films; and (b) Gareth Roberts has described this book as "More like Doctor Who than Doctor Who". I can quite see why.