Sunday, October 31, 2010

Queens of Crime: Margery Allingham

Margery Allingham was born in Ealing, London, on May 20, 1904, the eldest daughter of Herbert J. Allingham and Emmie Allingham (née Hughes), and from a writing family which numbered John Till Allingham, the 19th century melodrama writer. The family relocated to Layer Breton in Essex when Margery was only five years old. Bought up in an atmosphere of ink and writing, she was trained by her father in the skill, and was given a study of her own and the plot of a fairy story at the age of seven, although it took almost a year of rewriting under supervision to complete her first tale. Shortly after, she launched her own magazine, The Wag-Tale, with a number of serial stories, poems and non-fiction features (and adverts) carefully written in an exercise book.

She was otherwise educated at Misses Dobson's (later Endsleigh House) in Colchester from the age of seven, although a severe attack of typhoid at eight meant that she had to remain at home and was taught by governesses until 1915 when she returned to school. Allingham described her education as "unconventional to begin with and rigidly so afterwards; not a very comfortable progression." So uncomfortable, in fact, that she developed a stutter that handicapped her for some years. She later attended Perse High School for Girls in Cambridge in 1919, and although she contributed to the school magazine The Persean and wrote two plays – Fairy Gold and Soldier of Fortune – which were performed by her fellow students, she was unhappy at the school and remained there for only just over a year. After that she had a private tutor and was sent to Regent Street Polytechnic of Speech and Drama. This was a particularly happy time for Margery as her elocution lessons helped her lose her stutter, and she was able to perform recitations.

Margery made her first professional sale in 1917, aged 13, a fairy story entitled "The Rescue of the Rain Clouds" which was sold to her Aunt Maud – Maud Hughes – for publication in Mother and Home. During the autumn of 1921, inspired by family sessions during their summer holiday on Mersea of 'playing the glass' and communicating with the spirits, she wrote Blackerchief Dick, a novel about piracy and smuggling on Mersea Island. It was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 1923.

Her early preference was for writing drama – she even sent one of her plays to George Bernard Shaw for his comments – and her play Dido and Aeneas was produced by her classmates in London in 1922. The play had so impressed her Aunt Maud that she was invited to write up stories for Maud's new paper, The Girls' Cinema, which published 5,000 word short stories based on movies circulating the cinemas.

Towards the end of 1921, Margery met Philip (“Pip”) Youngman Carter; he was one of the few male friends the shy Margery had made through school, and he first asked her to marry him in 1923. By coincidence, the cover of the American edition of Margery’s first novel was also Pip’s first artistic commission.

Her second novel, Green Corn, was turned down by both Hodder & Stoughton and Doubleday in the summer of 1924. Another novel, The Lovers, was abandoned in 1925 after only nine chapters. However, she continued to sell stories to Girls’ Cinema as well as verse and sketches to Joy (1925-28), occasional features to Picture Show, and occasionally completed stories for Aunt Maud’s husband, Edward Wood.

By the spring of 1927, Margery had completed her first crime novel, The White Cottage Mystery, which was serialised in the Daily Express, and she became engaged to Pip, whom she married in September of that year. After a brief honeymoon, they moved into a flat on High Holborn in the centre of London.

Her main output was still cinema stories and verse, although she also wrote for D. C. Thomson, one known series being "The Darings of the Red Rose" in Weekly Welcome (1930), about a girl who takes revenge on eight financiers who have ruined her family leaving a small red rosebud as her trademark. However, it was with her next novel that she was to achieve her first real success.

Written over three months, with Margery dictating to Pip or to A. J. "Grog" Gregory – an artist and caricaturist friend who lived with the Carters, The Crime at Black Dudley introduced her most celebrated character, Albert Campion. The book was immediately accepted by Doubleday, who asked for a sequel featuring Campion – initially created only as a minor character but who proved to be much more fun to write than the intended hero of the first book, George Abbershaw. Mystery Mile was rather more planned, with "Grog" now hired to do the typing (he is the A.J.G. to whom the book is dedicated), and was a Doubleday Crime Club 'Book of the Month' selection in the USA. The follow-up, Look to the Lady was published as The Gyrth Chalice Mystery in America and was also a Book of the Month selection.

In August 1931, Margery and Pip moved to Viaduct Farm in Chappel, Essex, and the strain on their finances led to her writing a trio of thrillers for Answers as well as her regular work on Girls' Cinema and her novels. These were later published by Collins under the pen-name Maxwell March. She also partly ghosted the autobiography of her brother Phillip Allingham, Cheapjack (1934). Her Albert Campion books were growing more popular (apart from a blip in American sales for Police at the Funeral), entertainingly escapist without sharing the usual stuffed shirt characters of her female contemporaries in the murder mystery genre. This was important, as Pip's commissions were only occasional and earned little and Margery herself was not always well, suffering from depressions and nervous irritability and overweight because of a thyroid deficiency.

In 1935, the Carters moved to D'Arcy House, in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, the old home of Dr. Salter, a long-standing friend of the Allingham family, especially Margery’s mother, Emmie. The house strained their finances even more. Girls' Cinema had folded in November 1932, replaced by The Film Star Weekly which ran until 1935 before being incorporated into Picture Show. Margery wrote short stories for The Strand and the Daily Herald and reviews for the Express. In February 1938, Allingham took stock of her career and noted that she had published about eight million words, including fourteen thrillers; the other 6½ million words had been penned for the Amalgamated Press, D. C. Thomson and various newspapers and magazines, the majority for Girls' Cinema.

During the war, she volunteered to work as secretary to the local billeting officer, soon taking over the full duties and D'Arcy House became the H.Q. to various brigades as they passed through Essex. These and other interruptions kept her output down throughout the war, although she experimented with a war thriller (Traitor’s Purse, featuring Albert Campion), an historical (Dance of the Years) and the non-fiction The Oaken Heart.

Pip had, early in the war, been conveniently barracked in Colchester with the Royal Army Signal Corps, later serving in North Africa before helping to create Soldier magazine. When he was demobbed, he lived in London working on the Daily Express and later The Tatler, relishing London social life. The small group that had lived at D'Arcy House split, and Margery was finding money a problem again, behind with tax payments and liable for surtax on her earnings, finding herself writing serial stories for American magazines simply to pay tax on earlier earnings. A heavy smoker, she was also suffering from bronchitis and sinusitis and the immediate period after the war was a miserable one for her. Her biggest success was to have her novels published in paperback by Penguin, which bought her to the attention of many more thousands of new readers. In 1950, Penguin published ten of Allingham’s novels in editions of 100,000 – a million copies in total. In America, paperbacks were replacing the old pulp magazines, providing a handy additional income, and, by 1953, sales from Penguin had reached two million.

Illness again slowed her output – only three novels in the 1950s – and there were more troubles with the Inland Revenue in the late 1950s. In 1958, following Pip’s resignation from The Tatler (which he had edited since 1954), the two created P. & M. Youngman Carter Ltd. to try and put their finances on a proper basis, which included renting a room in D'Arcy House (now company owned) on a bed-and-breakfast basis.

In the late 1950s, Margery’s life was further complicated having to care for her aging mother, Em, and Aunts Maud and Grace; sadly all three died within eighteen months of each other. Margery's health was not good throughout the early 1960s and in early 1966 she was hospitalised with a rheumatic virus infection; a tumour was detected and she was admitted to Severalls Hospital in Colchester. Responding well to irradiation treatment, she was allowed home to D'Arcy House in March; in June she suffered a stroke and was readmitted to Severalls where she died on 30 June 1966. She was buried at the churchyard at Tolleshunt D'Arcy.

Her final novel, Cargo of Eagles, was completed by her husband, who wrote a further two novels starring Albert Campion. A third was started but remained incomplete when he died in 1969.

About Margery Allingham
All I Did Was This. Chapters of autobiography, by Youngman Carter, with additional autobiographical material by his wife Margery Allingham (autobiography). London, Sexton Press, 1982.
Mr. Campion’s Career, by B. A. Pike. Bowling Green State University, Popular Press, 1987.
Ink in Her Blood. The life and crime fiction of Margery Allingham, by Richard Martin. U.M.I., Research Press, 1988.
Margery Allingham. A biography, by Julia Thorogood. London, William Heinemann, 1991; revised as The Adventures of Margery Allingham by Julia Jones, Golden Duck, 2009.
Margery Allingham: 100 Years of a great mystery writer. Thorndon, Suffolk, Lucas Books, 2004.

The Margery Allingham Society

Margery Allingham Cover Gallery 1

Blackerchief Dick. A tale of Mersea Island (London, Hodder & Stoughton, Aug 1923; as Black’erchief Dick, Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Page, 1923)
No known paperback editions.

The White Cottage Mystery (London, Jarrolds, 1928; revised, London, Chatto & Windus, 1975; New York, Carroll & Graf, 1990)
Jarrolds Jackdaw, 1938.
Penguin Books 0140-04616-X, 1978, 139pp.
——, 1983, 139pp, £1.50. Cover by George Hardie
Penguin Books 0140-08785-0, 4th imp., n.d., 139pp, £3.99. Cover by Andrew Davidson
Seven people might have murdered Eric Crowther, the mysterious recluse who lived in the gaunt house whose shadow fell across the White Cottage. Seven people had good cause. It was not lack of evidence that sent Detective Chief Inspector Challenor and his son Jerry half across Europe to unravel a chaos of clues.
__The White Cottage Mystery was Margery Allingham's first detective story, published initially as a newspaper serial. Her sister Joyce has now skilfully revised the text to reveal a sharply plotted period piece stamped with the genius of a great and familiar hand.
The Crime at Black Dudley (London, Jarrolds, 1929; as The Black Dudley Murder, Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran, 1929)
as The Black Dudley Murders, Amalgamated Press Thriller Library, 1935.
Penguin Books 770, 1950
——, 2nd imp., 1953, 208pp, 2/-.
——, 3rd imp., 1960.
——, 4th imp., 1961, 208pp, 2/6.
If George Abbershaw had dreamed that his week-end visit to Black Dudley, that mysterious old house on the remote Suffolk coast, would develop into such an extraordinary series of adventures, that precise little scientist would certainly never have gone there.
__As it was, however, he and a whole company of light-hearted young people were pitchforked, in all innocence, into the amazing affair.
__The sinister dagger ritual, murder, the peculiar profession of Mr Albert Campion, and the man who believed in force -- they came upon them unawares within the walls of that gaunt old house of sombre history.
__If you like your thrills one after the other in a tumultuous procession, your characters modern and alive, and the whole story spiced with humour and made piquant with romance, this is a book you will certainly relish.
Mystery Mile (London, Jarrolds, 1930; Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran, 1930)
Penguin Books 761, 1950
——, 2nd imp., 1952, 254pp, 2/6.
——, 3rd imp., 1959, 254pp, 2/6.
——, 4th imp., 1960; 5th imp., 1963
——, 6th imp., 1964, 254pp, 3/6. Cover by John Sewell
——, (revised edition), 7th imp., 1968.
Penguin Books 0140-12240-0, 8th imp.,222pp, £3.50. Cover photo by David Edwards [FC: Peter Davison]
Crowdy Lobbett was a man who knew too much -- and too little. As an American judge he had for too long had to deal with the evil consequences of the Simister gang, and he had succeeded in bringing many of them to their just deserts. Furthermore he was in possession of information which was the clue to the identity of Simister himself; for nobody knew who Simister was, and Lobbett's information  did not disclose all. Not that Simister knew this, for his idea was to eliminate Lobbett, and thus avoid the danger of discovery. He followed Lobbett everywhere, or more truly his minions did, and he tried to kill him again and again. He followed him across the Atlantic: he followed him to the heart of the English countryside where ... But this story tells what happened there at Mystery Mile. Sufficient to say that Albert Campion was also present, and that Albert and Simister had not met before.
Look to the Lady (London, Jarrolds, 1931; as The Gyrth Chalice Mystery, Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran, 1931)
Penguin Books 773, 1950
——, 2nd imp., 1953; 3rd imp., 1956
——, 4th imp., 1960
——, 5th imp., 1961, 279pp, 3/6.
The Gyrth family had guarded the Chalice for hundreds of years. It was held by them for the Crown. Its antiquity, its beauty, the extraordinary legends that were connected with it, all combined to make it unique of its kind. It was irreplaceable. No thief could hope to dispose of it in the ordinary way. And indeed no ordinary thief would dream of trying. But there are others besides those who make their living by robbery, others whose immense wealth and passion for collecting renders them less immune to the practical considerations that must guide even the less honestly minded citizens. These people cherish a desire to possess for their own private treasure that cannot be bought. And it was by this sort of person that the Chalice, and the lives and happiness of its guardians, were now threatened.
Police at the Funeral (London, William Heinemann, 1931; Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran, 1932)
Penguin Books 219, 1939
——, 2nd imp., 1939; 3rd imp., 1940
——, 4th imp., 1960
——, 5th imp., 1961, 252pp, 2/6.
——, Xth imp., 1966. Cover design by C/F/F/G

Sweet Danger (London, William Heinemann, 1933; as Kingdom of Death, Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran, 1933; as The Fear Sign, New York, Macfadden, 1933)
Penguin Books 769, 1950
——, 2nd imp., 1951; 3rd imp., 1954; 4th imp., 1956; 5th imp., 1960
——, 6th imp., 1963. Cover by Romek Marber
——, 7th imp., 1965; 8th imp., 1968; 9th imp., 1971
——, 10th imp., 1973, 251pp, 35p. Cover design by Minale/Tattersfield/Provinciali
——, 11th(?) imp., 1975. Cover by Paul May?
Penguin Books 0140-12243-5, 19th imp., n.d., 251pp, £3.50. Cover photo by David Edwards  [FC:  Peter Davison, Lysette Anthony]
What was Albert Campion up to in the Hotel Beauregard, Mentone? Posing as the king of a tinpot Balkan state looking for his lost crown. It was all to intriguing for Guffy Randall, so he joined in the treasure hunt... to the bitter end. Even when it got very nasty indeed.
Death of a Ghost (London, William Heinemann, 1934; Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran, 1934)
Penguin Books 379, 1942
——, 2nd imp., 1949; 3rd imp., 1958; 4th imp., 1959.
——, 5th imp., 1961, 253pp, 2/6.
Penguin 0140-11552-8, 11th imp., n.d., 253pp, £2.99. Cover photo by Chris Capstick [FC: Peter Davison, Andrew Burt]
John Sebastian Lafcadio, R.A., was a great artist, and he knew it, but he wanted to make quite sure that future generations would appreciate that fact as well, so he painted a number of pictures about which very few people knew at the time, and had them stored away. He ordered that ten years after his death these pictures were to be exhibited one by one, year after year, so that interest in his work and the reputation of his name would outlast that dangerous period usually so fatal to the fame of great men, when immediately after their death their work seems to have been meagre and unimportant. Belle, his wife, faithfully carried out this injunction with the able assistance of Max Fustian, art dealer and self-appointed publicity agent to the family. This one-picture exhibition became very fashionable and so it was that one spring afternoon when the eighth picture was being exhibited for the first time, at the Lafcadio, a number of well-known people were gathered. It was when the lights failed for a few minutes that one amongst them stabbed young Tommy Dacre.
Flowers for the Judge (London, William Heinemann, 1936; Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran, 1936; as Legacy in Blood, American Mercury, 1949)
Penguin Books 459, 1944
——, 2nd imp., 1945, 9d.
——, 3rd imp., 1950; 4th imp., 1951
——, 5th imp., 1957, 253pp, 2/6.
——, 6th imp., 1959
——, 7th imp., 1961, 253pp, 2/6.
The green Queen Anne house in the cul-de-sac at the end of Jockey's Fields in Holborn which bore the sign of the Golden Quiver was worthy of the work carried on within its walls, for it was here that the ancient firm of Barnabas conducted its business. It was a well-established and inherently conservative firm, and not even the disappearance of one of the directors in the early years of the century had upset the settled order of things. Yet it was certainly rather disconcerting when some twenty years later the same thing happened again. At first nobody thought fit to enquire what had happened. Paul was such a violent and impulsive person, he had been known to do odd things before. John Widdowson, his cousin, and senior member of the firm, affected to ignore the incident. Gina, Paul's pretty American wife, was too used to her husband's behaviour, whilst Mike, the youngest partner and in love with Gina, tried hard not to think about it at all. Yet all were forced to acknowledge the upset in their lives, when a few mornings after Paul's disappearance he was found dead in the firm's strong-room. Not even the presence of Albert Campion, friend of the family, could overcome the unpleasantness that ensued and the fearful persistence of the police who established that Paul had been murdered.
The Case of the Late Pig (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1937; with additional stories as Mr. Campion Criminologist, Doubleday, 1937)
Penguin Books 276, 1940
——, 2nd imp., 1954, 138pp, 2/-.
——, 3rd imp., 1956, 138pp, 2/6.
Penguin Books 0140-11553-6, 9th imp., 138pp, £2.99. Cover photo by Chris Capstick [FC: Peter Davison, Brian Glover]
In this book Albert Campion, the unassuming bespectacled Mr Campion of penetrating intelligence and deceptive mildness, tells the story of one of his earlier adventures. It started with the funeral notice of a man whom Campion remembered all too vividly as the school bully of his childhood, Pig Peters. There was something distinctly shady about this funeral, and a few months later when Campion was called in to investigate a murder at a highly respectable country club it appeared that Pig's funeral had been the prologue to a series of particularly unpleasant crimes which very nearly ended in violent death for both Campion and his invaluable mountain of a servant, Lugg.
Dancers in Mourning (London, William Heinemann, 1937; Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran, 1937; as Who Killed Chloe?, New York, Avon, 1943)
Penguin Books 667, 1948
——, 2nd imp., 1958; 3rd imp., 1960
——, 4th imp., 1961, 284pp, 3/6.
——, Xth imp., 2/6. Cover by Denis Piper
Jimmy Sutane, a talented dancer and the idol of musical revue, is the victim of a series of particularly vicious practical jokes. This inane persecution attains such a degree that Mr Campion is invited to investigate. Mr Campion visits White Walls, Sutane's country house, and on his first night there the first of a number of pointless, seemingly irresponsible murders is perpetrated. The victim is Chloe Pye, an intriguing unscrupulous woman, and her death could have been an accident or perhaps suicide, but in either case it was extremely convenient for quite a few people.
__In an atmosphere of bewildering and increasing tension, and a situation not assisted by Mr Campion's emotional entanglements, the story is carried through to an unexpected, exciting climax.
The Fashion in Shrouds (London, William Heinemann, 1938; Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1938; revised as The New Fashion in Shrouds in Mr. Campion’s Ladies)
Penguin Books 771, 1950
——, 2nd imp., 1954, 288pp, 2/-.
Georgia Wells was an exceedingly lucky woman—and a very good actress. Her marriages and her affairs were always so well arranged. They began with such a flourish; they ended most conveniently. There was never any scandal. Yet it did seem strange to Albert Campion that the conditions under which her menfolk were whisked from the scene appeared at times to be strangely familiar. Albert had never met Georgia Wells—although he had heard about her of course, for who had not?—until she started to become interested and then enamoured of Alan Dell who up till then had been very much in love with Albert's sister. It was then that for very obvious reasons he became really interested in Georgia. A meeting was not too difficult to arrange—it occurred quite casually, in fact, but what came to fascinate him was not so much the woman herself but the bewildering sequence of circumstances that seemed to happen with such glaring suspicious repetition and in which she was always involved. This was no ordinary case, it was a positive maze of peculiar facts and figures which had one very simple exlanation, and it was the explanation that took such a time to find out about.
Mr. Campion and Others (London, William Heinemann, 1939; with different contents, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1950)
Penguin 762, 1950
——, 2nd imp., 1954; 3rd imp., 1959.
——, 4th imp., 1960, 284pp, 3/6.
——, Xth imp., 1975. Cover by Paul Mays
These stories might be more accurately described as studies in the social arts and graces as practised by Mr Campion. In nearly every case the trouble is blackmail or the predicament some charming young lady has landed herself in. Very often Albert Campion finds himself assisting or being assisted by Superintendent Oates of Scotland Yard. These two present a formidable obstacle to any criminal who tries to fool them, yet the excitement and interest is maintained and the reader cannot see how they will solve their problems.

Contains: The Widow; The Name on the Wrapper; The Hat Trick; The Question Mark; The Old Man in the Window; The White Elephant; The Frenchman's Gloves; The Longer View; Safe As Houses; The Definite Article; The Meaning of the Act; A Matter of Form; The Danger Point.
Part 2 follows tomorrow.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Margery Allingham Cover Gallery 2

Black Plumes (London, William Heinemann, 1940; Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1940)
Penguin Books 737, 1950
——, 2nd imp., 1954, 238pp, 2/-.
——, 3rd imp., 1966, 4/6.
——, 4th imp., 1969, 5/-. Cover by Michael Trevithick
Lucar was an unpleasant being, intolerably so at times. It was hardly surprising that nobody liked him, even though he had saved Robert Madrigal's life and was his right-hand man at The Gallery, the ancient and reputed Art centre of the West End, whilst the owner and director, who was, incidentally, Madrigal's father-in-law, was abroad. Naturally, when Madrigal was found murdered and Lucar was discovered to have left the country, everyone jumped to the conclusion that it was only a question of tracking down Lucar and the murderer was found. But then Lucar reappeared as blithely brazen as before, and so, to everyone's stupefaction, did the former lover of Madrigal's wife. These sudden comings and goings, the bewildering succession of clues that confused and then cancelled each other out, created a dreadful unhappiness for the household that was stricken by this tragedy and which, under the aged and indomitable Mrs Gabrielle Ivory, had always preserved a semblance of dignity and decorum that even Scotland Yard found hard to ruffle.
Traitor’s Purse (London, William Heinemann, 1941; Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran, 1941; as The Sabotage Murder Mystery, New York, Avon, 1943)
Penguin Books 772, 1950
——, 2nd imp., 1954, 208pp, 2/-.
He simply could not remember anything, not a thing: his mind was a blank, his memory gone: his brain groped for knowledge as a baby's would. Yet he was acutely conscious that he had to do something quickly, and he became increasingly, urgently aware that something was of immense consequence. At first, when he awoke in the hospital bed alone, untended and in the dark, he could not react at all. But then afterwards, once he had managed, by some incredible fluke, to get out of the place, to get away in a car, to be picked up, people seemed to accept him. Not just accept him, but expect him to do something. What is more, they were prepared to allow for the oddest behaviour—and no questions asked. That something was not simply very important, it was vital, it was Life itself. And inexorably the sequence of events which he could not control, yet knew he must master or go under, that march of time raced on. And he must race faster—beat it and break the problem confronting them all, and bring back his own sane self. Would they ever know? Would they dare tell? Would you?
Dance of the Years (London, Michael Joseph, 1943; as The Galantrys, Boston, Little Brown, 1943)

Coroner’s Pidgin (London, William Heinemann, 1945; as Pearls Before Swine, Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran, 1945)
Penguin Books 736, 1950, 256pp, 1/6.
——, 2nd imp., 1952, 256pp, 2/6.
——, 3rd imp., 1957, 256pp, 2/6.
Albert Campion was used to surprises, in his life as a private detective, and after years overseas during the war 'on a mission', as he put it, 'so secret that even I never discovered what it was'. All this had taught him to expect the unusual, yet there were times when even so wary an investigator as Mr Campion was caught unawares. After all, there was no reason to anticipate any complication. Here he was, just safely back in wartime London after years abroad, lazing in the bath, placidly planning the next few hours which were to culminate in a leisurely journey to the station, and so home for a long leave; no rush, and no fuss. Then he heard steps on the stairs outside, heavy steps that betokened no good. Into the room clamped two persons carrying a third, and as Mr Campion peered out of the bathroom door, he could make out Lugg, his factotum, a lady of unmistakably aristocratic bearing, and the corpse of a woman. It was unnerving, to say the least, but he determined to avoid the consequences. He even went so far as to disclaim any responsibility he might incur as owner of the flat, and he left behind this disconsolate group of people who had hoped for his help. He even got into a taxi to go to the station, but alas, it was not an ordinary taxi, and indeed, after all, he was impelled to take an interest in the mystery of the corpse, the extraordinary behaviour of a well-known public figure, and the alarming disappearance of some well-known art treasures. A disappearance which had more than an ordinary interest for Scotland Yard.
More Work for the Undertaker (London, William Heinemann, 1948; Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1949)
Penguin Books 864, 1952, 282pp, 2/6.
——, 2nd imp., 1954, 282pp, 2/6.
——, 3rd imp., 1959.
——, 4th imp., 1961, 282pp, 3/6.
——, 5th imp.
——, 6th imp., 1965. Cover by Romek Marber
——, Xth imp, 1978. Cover by Paul May
'The victim's name is Palinode, and two vital characters are Jas Bowels and his son Rowley Boy, the Apron-Street undertakers, with Harry James, bank manager, intervening. The "old and valued clients" to whom More Work for the Undertaker is dedicated will have guessed the author before I mention Albert Campion and Stanislaus Oates: only Margery Allingham's creations have these impudently inevitable names.
__'Here are not only the impeccable detection one demands of any practitioner, but style, character, and characteristic dialogue, to say nothing of a macabre chase and a loving eye for a London streetscape.
__'Miss Allingham carries literacy lightly, and if a couple of her latest characters do occasionally converse in quotations from George Peele and the Gentleman's Magazine that is only, I'm sure, her little dig at the esoteric erudition of the dons who dabble in death. For me, she may jest at any would-be rival: among living writers she has precious few peers and no superiors.'—Christopher Pym, The Sunday Times.
Take Two at Bedtime (as Deadly Duo, Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1949; as Take Two at Bedtime, Kingswood, Surrey, The World’s Work, 1950)
Penguin Books 1374, 1959

Contains: Wanted: Someone Innocent; Last Act.

The Tiger in the Smoke (London, Chatto & Windus, 1952; Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1952; abridged, with an introduction, glossary and notes by Elizabeth Haddon, London, Heinemann Educational Books, 1966)
Penguin Books 1216, 1957
——, 2nd imp., 1959, 224pp, 2/6.
——, 3rd imp., 1961.
——, 4th imp., 1965, 224pp, 3/6. Cover by David Caplan
The Tiger in the Smoke is both a novel of remarkable range and quality and a book which makes the usual 'suspense story' read like a parish magazine. The 'tiger' is Jack Havoc. When he breaks out of jail his path cuts across the lives of various Londoners, innocent and not so innocent: old Canon Avril, his charming daughter and her fiance, Mr Campion and Chief Inspector Luke, Lugg and Amanda, that sinister doer of good, Mrs Cash, and Doll the Albino, with his macabre band of street musicians. These are superb character studies, drawn against the brilliantly realized landscape and atmosphere of 'the smoke'; faded squares of shabby-genteel houses, furtive alleys, flaring pub windows in the raucous streets. Almost more striking, perhaps, than Miss Allingham's power of characterization and her ability to set the scene is her supreme gift of story telling. The tension is almost agonizing: in Miss Allingham's masterly hands the reader shares every tremor of excitement and suspense up to the final and breathtaking climax.
No Love Lost. Two stories of suspense (Kingswood, Surrey, The World’s Work, 1954; Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1954)
Penguin Books 1416, 1959
——, 6th imp., n.d., 208pp, £3.99. Cover by Andrew Davidson
Confronted by the desperately beautiful, terribly ill wife of her ex-lover, a jilted doctor could hardly be blamed for wishing the wife well out of the way. But it's not as simple as that in The Patient of Peacock's Hill.
__In Safer Than Love the headmaster of Buchanan House School disappears. His wife has been hobnobbing with an old flame, and the inhabitants of Tinworth begin to speculate. When the headmaster is found dead, it's the police's turn to speculate...
__Margery Allingham's immortal wit and ingenuity are at their peak in these two novellas.
The Beckoning Lady (London, Chatto & Windus, 1955; as The Estate of the Beckoning Lady, Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1955)
Penguin Books 1417, 1960.
——, 2nd imp., 1960, 234pp, 2/6.
——, 3rd imp., 1961, 234pp, 2/6.
Hogarth 0701-20614-4, 1985, vii+288pp
Uncle William has died, apparently of natural causes; a murdered man lies in a ditch, undiscovered, for eight days; Mr Campion receives a message in the language of flowers. The truth behind these events is sinister indeed, involving the Suffolk village of Pontisbright in a tangle of foul play, cross purposes, and sharp practice. As well as Albert Campion and his wife the Lady Amanda, we meet Detective Chief Inspector Charlie Luke, this time helplessly in love; and Mr Magersfontein Lugg who, hitherto invulnerable, himself nearly succumbs to the sweetest of all dangers. The large cast also includes a troupe of clowns, a model secretary, a spiv, an assortment of children, and Tonker Cassands, inventor of that popular musical instrument, the Glubalubalum. His wife Minnie, a well-known painter, and owner of The Beckoning Lady, is impractical about financial affairs. Miss Allingham weaves her web with consummate skill: fantastic, light, glittering on the surface, The Beckoning Lady has an intricate logic of character and motive, suspicion and detection. Moreover, the author puts a shrewd finger on one of the more fantastic anomalies in present-day taxation.
Hide My Eyes (London, Chatto & Windus, 1958; as Tether’s End, Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1958; as Ten Were Missing, New York, Dell, 1959)
Penguin Books 1476, 1960, 224pp, 2/6.
——, 2nd imp., 1961, 224pp, 2/6.
It begins with a murder on a rainy night in a cul-de-sac near London theatreland, Inspector Luke, and of course Mr Campion, find links between this and other killings.
__A left-hand glove and a lizard-skin lettercase begin a trail which leads by way of a 'Museum of Oddities' to a very strange scrap dump in the East End, and finally to the identity of the murderer.
__'The book's great, gripping virtue is its Dickensian love for London, and its Dickensian gusto: they give an extra dimension to a splendid thriller'—Spectator.
__'An excellent example of the masterly Allingham technique... she plays the cat-and-mouse game to perfection, building up suspense that is almost unbearable'—Glasgow Herald.
__'Flawlessly professional, and—all right, it's true—you can't put it down'—Siriol Hugh-Jones in The Tatler.
The China Governess (Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1962; London, Chatto & Windus, 1963)
Penguin Books C2312, 1965, 266pp, 4/-. Coverphoto by Peter Reddick
——, Xth imp., 1971, Cover design by Minale/Tattersfield/Provinciali
Hogarth 0701-20635-7, 1986, 256pp.

The Mind Readers (London, Chatto & Windus, 1965; New York, William Morrow & Co., 1965)
Penguin Books 2779, 1968, 249pp. Cover by Michael Trevithick
Penguin 0140-02779-3, Xth imp., 1983, 249pp. Cover by George Hardie (design by Nicholas Thirkell & Partners)

Cargo of Eagles, with Youngman Carter (London, Chatto & Windus, 1968; New York, William Morrow & Co., 1968)
Penguin Books 2291, 1969, 206pp, 5/-. Cover by Michael Trevithick
——, 2nd imp., 1970.
——, 3rd imp., 1972, 207pp, 30p. Cover design by Minale/Tattersfield/Provinciali
Penguin 0140-16618-1, 1998?, 207pp.
Hogarth 0701-20612-8, 1986, 222pp.
Back at the Intelligence Department, Albert Campion takes a sudden interest in Saltey, a remote and uncommonly tight-lipped Thames estuary village. The place has a long history of smuggling -- and holds a secret rich enough to make someone threaten, terrorize, murder and raise the very devil to keep strangers away.
__Even Campion admits that it's a baffling case.
The Allingham Case-Book (London, Chatto & Windus, 1969; New York, William Morrow & Co., 1969)
Hogarth 0701-20869-4, 1989, 221pp.
Penguin Books 0140-23152-8, 1995, 221pp.

The Return of Mr. Campion. Uncollected stories, edited by J. E. Morpurgo (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1989; New York, St. Martin’s Press, 1990)
Coronet 0340-53540-7, 1990, 192pp.

My Friend Mr Campion (London, Arcturus Publishing, 2011)
Arcturus 978-1848-58025-1, 2011, 255pp, £6.99
Allingham's ever-popular gentleman-detective, Albert Campion, features in all of the thrilling crime stories presented in this collection, which include the cases of The Man with the Sack, The Old Man in the Window, The White Elephant, The Definite Article and My Friend Mr Campion, as well as one of her greeatest pure mysteries, The Case of the Late Pig, the only Campion story ever told by the great sleuth himself.


The Oaken Heart (London, Michael Joseph, 1941; Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran, 1941)
Sarson 0951-08562-X, 1987, 373pp, £5.95. Cover by Youngman Carter
Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex
"What a period! What an age to have been alive in! Oh thank God I was born when I was."
__With these words, Margery Allingham completed her account of the early years of the Second World War. She was writing for her village, a small community on the edge of the Essex marshes which she had known and loved since childhood. Using the qualities of style and perception that had made her a successful novelist, she expressed the courage, the grim humour and the determination which united the British people in their Finest Hour.
__The Oaken Heart was first published in 1941 and has achieved a unique place among the classics of English country life.


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