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Allingham, Margery

novels campion

(British, 1904–66)

Allingham published the first of her Albert Campion detective novels at the age of 23. Campion has his roots in the tradition of gentlemen detectives—modest, frighteningly intelligent, and with impeccable aristocratic connections which are never fully revealed. However, he develops in stature, and there is a tone of ironic humour and a fondness for eccentricity in much of Allingham's work which distinguishes her from her contemporaries. Novels such as Dancers in Mourning (1937), The Fashion in Shrouds (1938), and Police at the Funeral (1931) can be enjoyed as much for their milieu as the plot. Campion likes to play his cards close to his chest, only revealing all at the end; the reader is thus often as much in the dark as the novels' characters. Allingham's later, and best, novels, such as More Work for the Undertaker (1948) and Tiger in the Smoke (1952), are as much psychological thriller as murder mystery.

Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L. Sayers. See CRIME  KB

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