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4.3 out of 5 stars42
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 4 October 2009
For all those who do have a few Campion's under their belt before they read this one, then this book might be a bit frustrating because you keep wishing Campion would get his act together when he's wandering around at the start of the book trying to work out what he's supposed to be doing and what mystery he was actively solving. I know he was knocked out by thugs when he was getting too close for comfort, but I get the distinct feeling that M. Allingham was trying to craft the story a bit too carefully round Campion's loss of memory and tried too hard to keep it within the bounds of reason. As a result I think it has come out a bit lumpish and awkward. It does get better though - much better and is at its best when Campion gets hold of some handgrenades using them to dramatic effect.
One thing I really liked in this book is the near severing and then reaffirmation of the relationship between Campion and long-time companion Lady Amanda Fitton; for it is in this book that he's on the verge of losing Amanda forever due to taking her for granted; and in fact, he hurts her feelings at several points in the story. So this book also marks the point at which he realises how much Amanda means to him and how awful and lost he feels without that rock solid unassuming support she lends him - and I have to be honest, I came to realise myself how much the character of Amanda fills in the gaps in Campion's character - she's such a strong influence in, and part of Campion's life that the void left by her distancing herself somewhat from Campion would appear unbearable.
One more thing about this book that I found quite fascinating - it shows you vividly some of the fears of wartime Britain - the worry and fear of plots and treachery; of geniuses lending their efforts to the wrong side because their sheer intelligence and clarity of vision is essentially a form of madness (Lee Aubrey). Overall it's a great story of wartime organised thuggery and violence with the local police operating as best they can to perform normal policing whilst allowing some form of special operations (Campion and Stanislaus Oates) to proceed with all the fallout that that brings - an excellent and exciting portrait of Campion at work during times of conflict and conflicted loyalties.
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on 19 October 2004
This novel unfolds like a film noir thriller. Albert Campion, the detective, comes round in hospital, believing himself to be under arrest for serious assault on a policeman. But there is a matter much more urgent, something else pressing onto his disjointed brain. To make matters worse, he alienates his main ally, Amanda Fitton.
Originally published in 1941, the future of 'beleagured England'is at stake, 'with all the tides of a new and diabollically astute barbary lapping at her feet', in a way that youy wouldn't guess at even today.
A startling departure from Campion's usual territory.
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on 3 September 2015
I imagine quite a few people, as I did, came to this after the laudatory article in The Guardian. I was in the mood for something gripping, well-plotted and page-turning and was intrigued by the hyperbole in the article and thought I'd give it a go. Unfortunately, I found this instead to be an incredibly turgid read.

The lead character, Campion, has lost his memory from the outset, and on coming to in a hospital and overhearing two people talking about a dead policeman, immediately assumes he's responsible and seems to think it's a good idea to stage an elaborate escape and steal a car, even though he has no idea who he is, where he's going, or what he's doing. Luckily he runs into someone who does know, but she's unaware he's lost his memory and he seems to think it's a good idea - even though he's decided that Lady Amanda (for it is she) is his wife - to keep his amnesia from her.. He proceeds to bluff his way through 75% of the novel, with people filling in the blanks with chunks of exposition while he puzzles over each piece of the puzzle and is generally useless as a detective and a guide to what's going on, while the writer repeatedly harps on about Campion almost remembering something but...not quite. It's all incredibly tedious and irritating and often as baffling as Campion must find it. The man is a void, walking around fragments of a plot, following everybody else's lead and generally being no help whatsoever. He eventually gets another bump on the head which restores all the memory he lost before the action of the book, but then loses everything he's done in the book up until now and is a right pain while he tries to convince everyone who he is and a stock bumbling jobsworth of a bobbie holds him back from saving the world. After a few leaps of intuition there's some Boy's Own action followed by a hastily delivered reveal that doesn't really justify all the tortuous meandering that came before, and this is followed by another slab of exposition and then happy endings all around. There's some interest to be had in Allingham's contemporary portrayal of war-time Britain with its blackouts, lack of signposts (nice touch, that) and paranoia, and a very interesting plot twist to remind us that not all of the British were supporting the war effort, but as a mystery it's...well, a mystery, and not a very interesting one. I imagine if you're familiar with the Campion series, then the appearance of Lady Amanda and Lugg would come as a welcome anchor to the lost lead. As it is, I don't think I'll be pursuing this particular series.
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on 17 April 2006
Albert Campion started his literary life as a seemingly extraneous figure in a curious book called _The Crime at Black Dudley_ (aka The Black Dudley Murder), where he inexplicably solves the crime rather than the hero. After that, he goes through a series of free-wheeling adventures -- ably assisted by his servant, ex-convict Lugg and Inspector Stanislas Oates. These books, a lot of fun and more thriller than detective oriented, include _Look to the Lady_ (aka Gyrth Chalice Mystery) and _Mystery Mile_. One of the most fun but least detective-oriented is _Sweet Danger_ (The Fear Sign, Kingdom of Death) where he meets a girl called Amanda.

Personally, I find subsequent Campion adventures less interesting, and Campion himself becomes rather a dull fellow. But during the World War II he finds himself involved in this wonderful adventure, _Traitor's Purse_, where he's on the trail of Nazi spies, but -- here's the trick -- he has amnesia, and doesn't even remember what his mission is, much less whom he can trust.

Anyone who knows Campion adventures -- as most readers would when the book was published -- will know where the loyalties of Amanda, Lugg and Oates lie, and perhaps it is good to go in with a few previous Campions under your belt to eliminate some of hero's utter confusion.

It's a great story and it moves like lightning.
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VINE VOICEon 15 September 2015
I bought this after hearing AS Byatt recommend it on the radio, but what a strange book it is. The only book I've previously read by Allingham was Tiger In The Smoke, which I really enjoyed and have actually read 3 or 4 times over the years, but I wasn't familiar with her other work and in particular the character Albert Campion (despite his appearance in Tiger...) . I regret to say I won't be bothering to catch up on his other adventures after reading this. It's a late entry into the so called Golden Age of detective novels and Campion fits right into the stereotype other than that he's not an amateur sleuth:upper class, well off, effortlessly commanding, a brilliant mind, athletic, you know the type. I sort of posh Jack Reacher, I suppose. Here he's lost his memory and has to go through some ludicrously upper class englishman's convulsions to make sure his girlfriend doesn't help him regain it so that the novel can work. The whole thing involves a dastardly plot by the Hun and Campion is never sure who he can trust, even though to the reader it's pretty obvious who the villian is pretty much from their first appearance. Strange, very dated, the plot could almost be from an Arthur Askey or Will Hay film of the period, with secret passages and Nazi agents.
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on 12 June 2011
Different to Margery Allingham's earlier Campion stories. Not as funny but all the more interesting for that. Campion is usually very much in command of the situation and in this story he has lost his memory and is desperately trying to solve the problem without knowing exactly what it is. The relationship between him and Amanda is facinating as she does not know he has lost his memory and he does not know who she is at first. Challenging and very interesting.
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on 1 August 2013
This item arrived promptly and in good condition. I had previously read Margery Allinghams Trators purse and indeed many of her Campion Mysteries. The CD although compact did not leave any significant details out. I think I would concider this to be amongst the best of the Campion Mysteries.Philip Franks reads it well and makes it very easy to listen to. It gives an insight into Campions feelings which normally he keeps hidden and the uncertanty of war.
It starts with him waking up in hospital with a loss of memory and as it slowly returns he sees how much Amanda really means to him, especially as he seems to have lost her. Also his singleness of purpose and his patriotism and his vulnrablity. I like to listen to CDs when I am knitting and I was not dissapointed. In fact I have listened to it several times now.
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on 6 February 2014
This is one of the most thrilling mysteries that I have read of Marjorie Allingham's. It kept me tied to the story and keen to get on with the next chapter and the next! Highly recommend this to all period mystery fans, and maybe others should try it too!
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on 30 September 2015
I had heard of Margery Allingham but had never read her but then I read a long article about her by A S Byatt extolling her praises and also saying that Traitor's Purse was a masterpiece. It was written in fragments in 1940 and although her publishers queried the plausibility of her plot, many years later it was discovered that she had imagined a secret that did in fact exist. Well worth reading for anyone who loves crime fiction but also for anyone who enjoys reading tightly plotted and well written novels.
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on 6 July 2014
One of her best, an excellent mystery, and sadly I think I now have read all of her books, it was a treat to read this, as it was new to me. Some are just too full of extreme characters, while others, such as Tiger in the Smoke, are terrifying in their realism. Sweet Danger, although more of a fairy-tale, with bizarre situations, manages to create a fascinating sense of mystery and humour, overall I love Margery Allingham's books.
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