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The Fashion In Shrouds [Paperback]

Margery Allingham
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

2 Mar 2006


Agatha Christie called her 'a shining light'. Have you discovered Margery Allingham, the 'true queen' of the classic murder mystery?

First, there is a skeleton in a dinner jacket. Then a corpse in a golden aeroplane. After another body, private detective Albert Campion nearly makes a fourth...

Both the skeleton and the corpse have died with suspicious convenience for Georgia Wells, a monstrous but charming actress with a raffish entourage. Georgia's best friend just happens to be Valentine, a top couturière and Campion's sister. In order to protect Valentine, Campion must unravel a story of blackmail and ruthless murder.

As urbane as Lord ingenious as Poirot. Meet one of crime fiction's Great Detectives, Mr Albert Campion.

Frequently Bought Together

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Price For All Three: 19.07

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (2 Mar 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099492792
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099492795
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Margery Allingham deserves to be rediscovered" (P.D. James)

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

"Allingham was a contemporary of Agatha Christie but her work is thought by many to be more stylish and less pedestrian, with cunning plots and witty characters" (Sunday Express)

"As addictive as cocaine, Allingham's stories feature spooky happenings and violent death" (Independent)

Book Description

Agatha Christie called her 'a shining light'. Have you discovered Margery Allingham, the 'true queen' of the classic murder mystery?

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By R. Weir
One of Albert Campion's most intriguing cases, this is a book which is more than just a crime caper. The style of writing makes it a book that flows along without feeling superficial, and the characters are well drawn; the twist added by one of the possible suspects being Campion's sister merely adds to the tension as the reader is left wondering what will happen if she indeed turns out to be the murderess.
There are a couple of things that really do date this book though. For starters, virtually all of the characters smoke; a no-no in contemporary literature. Mainly though, it's the attitude towards women, and the attitudes of many of the female characters. While they are strong in their own way, their expectations make this book very much a product of the inter-war period.
I've read most of the Campion books now, and this is one of the best without doubt; the story, characters and general writing quality combine to create a book that is a gem, deserving of being read by a wider audience than Crime Afficionados.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
As talented and popular a mystery writer in the 1930s and 1940s as fellow writers Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Margery Allingham is now almost unknown, except by mystery aficionados. Writing a series of novels featuring Albert Campion, a man of mysterious background who moves comfortably both in aristocratic circles and in the seedy underworld of thugs and criminals, Allingham sets up elaborate plots that cross class lines and entertain the reader with their cleverness. Campion, often aided by Lugg, a former burglar, manages to remain friendly with local police inspectors while operating as a private detective, often hired by the titled nobility with whom he associates.

This novel, written in 1938, opens with the discovery of the fully clothed skeleton of a man who disappeared three years before. A lawyer hoping for a judgeship, the deceased was the fiancé of Georgia Wells, a stage actress who married just six months after his disappearance, a seductress who flirts with every man she meets. Campion's sister Val, who runs a high fashion design house, is also involved in the mystery, as are the man she loves, who runs an aircraft company trying to sell planes to a foreign country, and Georgia's present husband, a self-important snob who works for the government. The mystery is unusually intricate, and when two more deaths occur, Campion must investigate questions of blackmail, secret relationships, drug shipments, an out-of-the-way restaurant, and characters who look like other characters. He must also deal with a former acquaintance, Lady Amanda Fitton, who has returned--and unexpectedly announced her engagement to him.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One to slowly savour 16 Mar 2009
By Officer Dibble VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's not about undertakers. The nascent high fashion world of the late 1930's is the setting. Three deaths revolve around the gorgeous super-model of her day. Campion's sister is the high-flying fashion designer who draws him into the world of haute couture where the filthy rich have secrets they would rather keep in the cupboard and/or closet.

Apparently, this was close to Allingham's real life as her hubby was editor of Tatler and this shows as it becomes a bit self indulgent and wordy on the subject. My main disagreement with some other reviewers is that it lacks pace.

Better to savour an insight into an elitist world. More 'literary' than Sayers/Christie and it benefits from time spent on it as it veers more to crime novel than crime thriller.

A good read for its historical setting. If you are fully paid up in the P.C. brigade you will find one or two shockers here! Sedate, one to slowly savour but not one for pace or crash-bang excitement.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Find the pre-1965 version 6 July 2010
Format:Audio Cassette|Verified Purchase
The last time I reviewed this book, I said that the abridged version read by the brilliant Jeremy Nicholas was better than the complete version. Allingham herself thought the book overwritten, and cut 25,000 words from it for the 1965 re-issue. 25,000 precious words by one of the best novelists of the 20th century! When I found this out (from the excellent biography by Julia Jones), I ordered a pre-1965 copy and am reading it now. She was wrong to cut it - the full version makes much more sense. So what did she cut? Some dated attitudes to women and Africans, and a lot of the characters' motivations. It's a complicated story and all the main characters face unwelcome truths about themselves, their closest friends, society and humanity. The full version makes much more sense of a central character, the femme fatale Georgia Wells. She springs off the page and you feel her charm, warmth and predatory nature. You understand the physical pull she has - she is always grasping people's hands or putting an arm round their shoulders (and invading their space). She is horribly fascinating and larger than life. The autobiography also shows a the shadowy reality behind Allingham's story. It reads as if she has used raw emotions of her own - her husband was probably serially unfaithful to her, she was a successful businesswoman making her way in a man's world. Even though I have read the shortened version several times, I am finding it a page-turner. She was a brilliant writer who inhabited the same world as Greene, Dickens, Dickens and Conrad.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Anyone wanting to add a good read to their collection will enjoy this book, I keep it and read over again.
Published 1 month ago by Mr. Ronald S. Unsworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Margery Allingham at her best. Not just a crime story but a good novel. If you like Albert Campion you will really enjoy this.
Published 1 month ago by Isobel Hunt
5.0 out of 5 stars Campion
Campion as good as always. It was nice to have a hint of his future romance appear again in the book. He needs to move forward and revisit this in future
Published 6 months ago by P. Riley
4.0 out of 5 stars Ho Hum
I usually enjoy her books but this one was rather ponderous. I know characters spoke differently in the era this book was set and, usually, it doesn't bother me; however on this... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Karen
5.0 out of 5 stars The way the rich people live
This is one of the more comfortable Allingham reads. It has a deal of humour in it, particularly when Lugg appears. I can't help but visualise Georgia as Liz Taylor. Read more
Published 11 months ago by IMW
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fashion in Shrouds
Albert Campion's sister, Val, is a fashion designer who finds herself mixed up in the unexplained death of actress, Georgia Wells' husband. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Damaskcat
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I thought..
I heard this book reveiwed on Radio 4 and thougth I owuld give it a go. It was OK but I will not be buying any more by this author. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Riapav
4.0 out of 5 stars "It's an honest, done-on-purpose killing for a reason."
As talented and popular in the 1930s and 1940s as fellow mystery writers Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Margery Allingham is now, inexplicably, almost forgotten, except by... Read more
Published on 29 Dec 2006 by Mary Whipple
5.0 out of 5 stars Style Never Goes Out of Fashion
One of the author’s most accomplished novels. At once an elegant and deftly-observed social satire in the manner of Thackeray and an ingeniously complicated detective story,... Read more
Published on 23 Sep 2003 by hacklehorn
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