BEAR ALLEY BOOKS

BEAR ALLEY BOOKS
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

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.

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