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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