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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!

Fiction. Mystery.


  1. I love Allingham. I'm so glad you've 'found' her. It was reading one of her books that finally reconciled me to my synesthesia. One of the characters has the same variant and it's because of this that the 'baddie' is caught. it stopped me feeling the odd one out, so I owe her a gift of thanks.

  2. I haven't heard of this author before, but it sounds like she's definitely worth checking out. Thanks for the review!

  3. I like the title of your blog....reading a book can really be like carrying a garden in your pocket.

    If you have big enough pockets to fit a book in. :-)

  4. I like the BBC version quite a bit. :)

  5. The really good news is that Margery Allingham was actually quite prolific so you have many interesting mysteries ahead of you! II am so glad you liked the books, Jen.

  6. I read Allingham many years ago, but your post has encouraged me to search out some more to revisit. Thanks a lot.


  7. I've not read any Margery Allingham before but I'd really like to. These stories sound fun. Plus, I feel like I need to read some of the early mysteries just to see how the genre has changed (or not). I've finally read Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers so maybe Allingham will be next :)

  8. Ann - :) I have to thank Jill for sharing them! I find the idea of synesthesia fascinating, Ann, and have wondered what it must be like.

    LF - I'd never heard of her before either, but she obviously has a lot of fans!

    Butterfly - Getting my books into a pocket would be a challenge, but the idea works!

    Emma - I'm looking forward to these; I'm a Peter Davison fan!

    Jill - At least 15 more!

    Heidi - I'm glad I reminded you!

    iliana - Together, these authors are responsible for so many mystery readers!