Friday, June 08, 2007
Allingham's Campion Mysteries
Allingham, Margery. Mystery Mile. Albert Campion (a man of many names) appears to be a sort of buffoon (and is referred to as a "silly ass" in The Black Dudley Murder in which he is a minor character) but is actually much more capable than appearances indicate. Campion is supposedly a parody of Sayer's Peter Wimsey, by there also appears to be a bit of the Scarlet Pimpernel in his personality. Mystery Mile is the first in the series featuring Campion, although he appeared as a minor character in two other Allingham novels.
Set in the 1930's, Mystery Mile begins with an attempt on the life of Crowdy Lobbett, an American judge who has survived several attempts on his life. When Campion saves him from yet another attempt, he is enlisted by the Lobbetts to protect the judge and hopefully apprehend those intent on his murder.
1930. 254 pages.
---. The Gyrth Chalice. (Also published as Look to the Lady)The Gyrth family have been the guardians of an ancient chalice for centuries, but there is an organization that revels in stealing objects of this sort and the Gyrth Chalice is on the list. Albert Campion, the rather mysterious adventurer from Mystery Mile, finds himself trying to safeguard the chalice with the help of some diverse friends - his manservant (and former burglar) Lugg, an American professor, a master forger, gypsies, and his old friend from Scotland Yard.
1931. 191 pages.
---. Police at the Funeral. A family with a matriarch who rules with a firm hand, first one murder, and then another. When the fiancee of an old friend requests his aid, Campion agrees to come to Cambridge and see what he can do to help.
1931. 252 pages.
These are the ones Jill sent me. Short and fun, they feature an eccentric protagonist who matures and evolves through the series. Allingham wrote 18 novels featuring Campion, and I will be pursuing his adventures. The Strand published this interesting article about Allingham's favorite character and the BBC featured two series of adaptations starring Peter Davison as Campion and Brian Glover as Lugg. They are going on my Netflix list. Thanks, again, Jill!