This is not really crime, mystery, or adventure - as Allingham's Campion series have been diversely labelled. Rather it is a straight novel, featuring the familiar characters, about whom some rather strange deaths have occurred. There is a heavy autobiographical element to the main characters - the Cassands family - against a backdrop of financial pressures, depression, and artistic middle-class angst. Even though there is lots of Allingham's characteristic humour here, and some clever, but brutal, satire on large corporations and their methods, I find the book quite dark - typical of the uncertainty and pessimism of late-1950s Britain when the loss of former glory had been hammered home by the Suez fiasco - and the Beatles were still at school! Still, there is a puzzle, if a rather complicated one, and I've read the book at least three times - so it can't be all that bad! For the record, people like those portrayed existed in spades in the 1950's - a sort of failed relic of the 1920s/30s and bitterly resentful of the perceived heavy-hand of the State.