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Police at the Funeral (Albert Campion) [Hardcover]

Margery Allingham
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 1964 Albert Campion (Book 4)
Great Aunt Caroline rules the roost in an old Cambridge residence which is riddled with mystery, evil and terror. Uncle Andrew is dead, Aunt Julia is poisoned, Uncle William attacked and Albert Campion, that hero of detective fiction comes to the rescue.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann Ltd; Uniform edition edition (Dec 1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434018821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434018826
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,673,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Don't start reading these books unless you are confident that you can handle addiction" (Independent)

"The real queen of crime" (Guardian)

"Allingham's work is always of the first rank" (New York Times)

"Allingham captures her quintessential quiet detective Albert Campion to perfection... For those who relish classic crime fiction" (Daily Express) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Agatha Christie called her 'a shining light'. Have you discovered Margery Allingham, the 'true queen' of the classic murder mystery? --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You know when families don't get on...well... 20 Dec 2008
Super book and a well-crafted Margery Allingham, although there are some bits that don't come together well (or make sense), such as where Albert Campion meets his old friend Stanislaus at the very start of the book at an out of the way, little known rendezvous point purely by accident. All very contrived -this introduction to the story could have been done a lot more concisely and in a much more interesting way.
All said, it's a great story, and the reason why I like it is because it's quite a tense and in places claustrophobic rendition of a family imploding based on years of tension, dislike and plain hostility towards one another. We get a picture of the results of that "poison" all coming out in the wash and it makes for an exciting read.
I did start to guess what was going on towards the end of the book, but it was still not clear how the murderer had done it, so it was still very worthwhile reading to the end to find out. In fact, I was waiting for some more deaths to occur since the culprit seemed to have planned quite far ahead and with some ingenuity! But then Allingham didn't really write stories about mass-murderers, so it was probably best she stopped there!
About Campion - Margery Allingham has again written all the way through this book that Campion comes across as vacant, slightly imbecilic and perhaps a touch daft to other characters in the story, but I have to say he comes across as anything but to me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first of the really great Campion novels 12 Jun 2012
The sprawling house of a long-dead Master of a Cambridge college, inhabited by a bevy of servants and three generations of his family; the whole run for decades with ruthless precision by his now 84-year-old widow. It seems that someone, probably within the family, is determined to kill them off, one by one. Enter Campion, a friend of the family's solicitor, to solve the mystery before too much damage is done.

The matriarch runs the house to a strict timetable and code of behaviour, firmly set in the late 1800's, although the current date is the late 1920's! For example, she trundles off to church in a horse-drawn carriage, the house has no phone, and the decor, although maintained, has remained unchanged for decades. All the live-in relatives, with one exception - the fiancee of the solicitor - are financial inadequates totally dependent on the matriarch for survival, even though they are mostly well past fifty years old. Allingham portrays this bizarre scenario with unerring skill - you "see" the house, you sense and respond to the petty jealousies and hatreds that bubble beneath the surface and, with a little understanding of what life was like in that elite sector of society between the wars - you accept and believe in it. In short, you become part of the household.

If you find it difficult to believe that such a household could exist in the late 1920's, let me tell you that I was born in 1946 and I met two women very similar to the matriarch, in large houses with dependent relatives, in the 1950s. That sort of thing didn't really die out until the 1960's. Some complain that the ending of this novel is an anti-climax. However, it is fairly clear two-thirds of the way through that only one person could have killed the first victim.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Another outing for Albert Campion, this time he's called to an old Cambridge house where the formidable Great Aunt Caroline rules over her children, nephews and nieces. The residents of the house all loathe each other so when the body of Uncle Andrew is found dead in the river there are no shortage of suspects. Well, until the other occupants of the house also start to die in mysterious circumstances.

The only thing that prevented this book being a four star read for me was the explanation behind the killings. I know murder mysteries of this era aren't generally known for their realism, but I couldn't suspend my disbelief enough to accept the ending. Otherwise an enjoyable book but I came away feeling disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and reasonably well tied together 9 Mar 2010
By Graham R. Hill VINE VOICE
The plot in this type of novel doesn't have to be plausible it just has to be reasonably well tied together. And in that Allingham is successful. One key aspect of the plot owes a clear debt to a Sherlock Holmes short story (I won't give it away by telling you which one), but if one is going to steal then it might as well be from the best. For me the coincidences were explained away satisfactorily. After all if there were no coincidences there would be no fiction.

The book is saved from being dated paradoxically because the house in which the action takes place has been allowed to remain fixed in the late Victorian era even into the 1930s in which the mystery is set; it has no telephone for example and still keeps a horse drawn carriage. The exception to this is the 'family secret' which is unpleasant not for what it is, but for the way that the so called 'shame' is described. Autre temps, autre moeurs.
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