Here is the plot of the most brilliant "author plays fair" crime novel I ever saw: an arrogant professor faked a poem by a famous poet and "sells" this as a great discovery. He was so hubristic that he made the first letters of the poem spell his name (and since the poem is printed on the first page, the author gives the murderer away likewise!). A colleague of his who is as good at wordplay threatens to expose him, so he murders him. The end of the book is a nude chase during the Thames Boat Race. I remember the German title to be "Landschaft mit toten Deans" but googling gives nothing. The title might coincide with the Martinez novel but googling, again, of course gives only the latter since that even has been filmed.

Year must be heyday of the "fair crime novel", so maybe early 1900+. Language obviously English, I expect a British author.


1 Answer 1


Your recollection of the German title (was a translation published?) suggests Robert Robinson's Landscape with Dead Dons.

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    The poem is on page 7 of the 1963 edition. Chaucer's Boke of the Leoun is mentioned near the end of The Canterbury Tales but the work is lost. Commented Feb 2 at 15:01
  • Bingo! I never had the idea to google a back-translated title. (And Chaucer's poem is even real? It's getting better and better...) Commented Feb 3 at 17:48

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