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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A good little mystery from the Golden Age of crime, when good men were handsome and brave, bad men were weaselly and/or greasy, all murders took place in middle-class country houses, and we women, who knew our place, were very, very silly. As our hero Detective Chief Inspector W.T. Challoner so neatly puts it 'Oh, you women, you women. When will you realise what is important and what is not?' Ah, when indeed?

When a man is murdered in the White Cottage, it turns out that everyone in the household has good reason to want him dead. W.T., ably assisted by his brave, handsome son, Jerry, is stymied as one by one each person can produce an alibi or explain their innocence. The investigation takes them to the South of France where W.T. finally gets the solution while Jerry does his best to get the girl.

The book was first published in 1928 just before Allingham created Campion, who was to become her recurring detective in later books. Allingham was considered to be one of the Queens of Crime, though personally I never found her books to be as satisfactory as those of either Agatha Christie or Ngaio Marsh. While Christie's works have a timeless quality, due in part to better characterisation and a creation of an England which probably never really existed, both Marsh's and Allingham's works seem dated now, although it's fun to see what social attitudes were like back then. Having said that, this is still a very good example of the murder-mystery genre, and I enjoyed it more than I did the later Campion books. It's good to see these classic mysteries getting a new lease of life as eBooks. Recommended.

NB This review is of an electronic proof copy provided by the publisher.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2012
This was Margery Allingham's first detective story, originally serialised in the Daily Express in 1927. The narrative flows as though you are watching a well-constructed movie, which may be down to the happy conjunction of her good writing instincts & careful editing-for-book by her sister Joyce. Copious classic ingredients are here: unusual murder, discoveries, suave detective, passions, blackmail, relevant personal histories, awkward secrets, continental visit... Yet there is something unpretentious about the way this tale is told - with its perceptions & charming English - that makes it a valuable, interesting, (post-)modern read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2013
A nice book for easy read, lovely to see how much the world has changed since it was written. Very british
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on 26 May 2014
I had never read any of Margery Allingham's writing except the Campion books and was very interested to come across this title. I really enjoyed it, not so much as a detective novel but as an historical picture of general life at the time. It was also interesting to spot certain bits of style which were to develop throughout her later books.
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on 21 March 2013
I have never read a Margery Allingham I haven't liked and this is no exception. Her characters seem so real you almost expect to meet them in Tesco and the sense of period is not irritating as in many Christies etc. Despite the age of this book, it has not dated and it is a must read for anyone who is a fan of classic crime.
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on 30 January 2013
Enjoyed it , these characters were new to me ,and while they were not (to me at any rate) as interesting as Mr Campion they still provided civilised entertainment.
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on 10 July 2014
l enjoyed reading this book, It was written a while ago and this did show but did not spoil it at all. l did not guess who had"done it" which l liked.
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on 12 April 2013
Excellently written and plotted. I believed in the characters and enjoyed the deliberate red herrings and the very definite twist to the end.
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on 28 January 2013
Read lots of this author years ago, but missed this one. Lived up to my expectations: a good, old-fashioned "who-dunnit".
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on 30 January 2013
This was a good story but one which out of sight meant out of mind so not one to live on in your memory. Passes a wet afternoon.
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