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Sunday, March 03, 2013

The White Cottage Mystery by Margery Allingham

The White Cottage Mystery is the first detective novel (really, more of a novella) by Allingham who became best known for the well-loved Albert Campion, the mysterious gentleman detective who has connections in all levels of society, from highest to lowest.

Campion, however, didn't come along until later, The White Cottage Mystery features Chief Detective W.T. Challenor and his son, Jerry, and was originally serialized for a newspaper.

When Eric Crowther is murdered at White Cottage, there is no lack of suspects.  Every one of the suspects has good reason to wish him dead, and none of them are reticent about announcing their hatred of him.

Challenor is both a kindly detective and a sharp one, but his attitude toward women is definitely from an earlier time period.  He is protective of women, but generally considers them silly and unable to distinguish what is important in the matter of a murder.  Determined to discover the murderer,  he and Jerry follow the clues to Paris and the south of France.

Definitely a cozy, the novella suffers from its original serialized form, but is still a fun and quick read.  I'm glad that Allingham went on to create Albert Campion.

From Net Galley.  ISBN-10: 088184666X

Mystery/Detective Fiction.  Originally publ. 1927.  Republ. by Bloomsbury as an ebook in 2011.  Print version 130 pages.

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