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4.8 out of 5 stars29
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 26 May 2006
This is one of the best Margery Allingham books ever, and that's saying a good deal. It is an excellent example of her unique mix of the English "golden age" detective story with the old fashioned thriller.

It comes from her early period, when the emphasis is on eccentricity and fun, in a warm feel-good inter-war English upper middle class context. But it also has elements of a thriller, with fights as well as conundrums, which saves it from mere self indulgence and introduces a dark side, which came to dominate in later books like "Tiger in the Smoke".

The plot has a number of strands but they are woven together very tight - it revolves around a treasure hunt with international diplomatic implications, making it really matter. But it is quirky and witty throughout, and introduces Allingham's top detective character, Albert Campion, to Amanda Fitton, who in later books becomes his wife.

It's romantic, funny, extraordinarily well written, pacy, clever in conception, flawless in execution, with a dark shadow thrown across it by the villains and plenty of colourful characters, both good guys and bad guys, men and women. It may not be realistic, but it can't be beaten for entertainment value.

Unusually for a book of this type, it bears re-reading many times.

A must for fans; an excellent introduction to the writer for others.
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on 15 June 2012
This was the first Allingham I read, but I was 12 at the time and didn't really understand it - particularly the seemingly inappropriate inanity of Campion. Since then, I have revisited it several times and it is now one of my favourite books by any author. Sweet Danger contains: adventure, detection, humour, romance, and one of the most intelligent fictional treatments of black magic that I have ever read. As with all good fiction, it helps to have sufficient knowledge of the time it was written to make the plot credible. For here we have a fictional hereditary fiefdom situated near the ancient independent maritime power of Dubrovnik, and a taste of rural English life in the 1920s that is not too far removed from the feudal period.

The novel is set in Allingham's favoured Suffolk - this time the north west near the border with Norfolk. The author paints a wonderfully evocative picture of life in out-of-the-way English places early in the last century, including a decrepit water mill, a pub friendly but not overly-welcoming of strangers, some weird customs, and the wonderful house of one of Allingham's greatest characters - the decidedly creepy Dr Galley - suffering from decades of social isolation and too much of the wrong sort of reading! Not that this tale lacks competing compelling characters. In addition to Galley, Campion, and Lugg, these include: Brett Savanake - a super-industrialist (also creepy) used to getting his own way whatever the cost to others, Amanda Fitton - brave, clever, vibrant, technical - later to become Campion's wife (although 16 years younger!), Hal Fitton - Amanda's pompous younger brother, Scatty Williams - Amanda's helper in running the mill and a wonderful, admiring sidekick for Lugg when the going gets tough, plus many other minor but important players. Campion's task is to prove Hal to be the legal heir to the fiefdom, pitted against the ruthless determination of Savanake and his criminal hirelings.

Here, Allingham intelligently develops the character of Campion in a pacey yarn that you will find hard to put down. In addition to the clever, funny - but infuriatingly inane - adventurer of the past, we have Campion the deadly-serious - but only occasionally, and Campion the courageous super-hero - his final showdown with the gargantuan Savanake is breath-taking. We also see the first steps leading up to Campion's eventual marriage to Amanda. She figures large in several subsequent novels, where the ups and downs of their relationship often form a key part of the plot. To successfully combine all these elements in a well-constructed and well-written tale takes literary skills of the highest order. Fortunately, Allingham was well up to the task.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 April 2014
Averna, a tiny, oil-rich country on the Adriatic, becomes a seaport vital to British interests, and aristocratic sleuth Albert Campion is called in to prove that Averna has English owners. The country has long been said to be rightfully ruled by an aristocratic family, but the family is believed to have died out. Averna is a rich prize and others are looking for ways to gain power there. The hired thugs of a greedy financier are also on the trail of the Fitton family, because they are said to hold the key to the truth. Campion, and the two friends who have sworn to help him, must defend the Fitton family as well as searching for the relevant evidence. The requisite proof of lineage involves an ancient riddle, a long-lost bell, a drum, a priceless crown, and a ruby necklace.
Margery Allingham was one of the 'big four' women writers of the Golden Age of detective novels; the others were Dorothy L Sayers, Ngaio Marsh and, of course, Agatha Christie. Allingham was a very talented writer indeed and wrote her books about Albert Campion in triplets. She would set herself an objective and try to achieve it in her next three books. This early Campion novel (number 5, written in 1933) is light-hearted and humorous, meant to illustrate the more frivolous side of Campion's nature, and also to give him the chance to fall in love. I've read some poor reviews of this book, but personally I love the fun of it. Some of the later books are more powerful and perhaps more tightly plotted, and, all-in-all, Allingham proves herself very versatile.
Allingham was very good at inventing character and her books are peopled by varied and interesting ones. Campion is intriguing - he appeared as a minor character in her first book, 'The Crime at Black Dudley' but became the central character in her books. He is an aristocrat working, under an assumed name, for the government. He seems shallow and flippant, one of those irritating, idle, rich young men having 'larks' and generally wasting their time. In reality, he works for the government and is involved in important affairs; his veneer of mild idiocy is a smokescreen. He is accompanied by the wonderful Magersfontein Lugg, a richly comic invention, Lugg is consistently cheeky and overfamiliar yet he is Campion's manservant. Clearly, he is employed because he has other talents than pressing suits and preparing a light breakfast!
The improbable plot of this book is really entertaining hocus-pocus, and none the worse for that. There are many plot twists, urgent journeys, dangers, and some deaths and near-deaths. Amanda Fitton is the youngest of the three Fitton siblings, a charming and coltishly beautiful girl of sixteen with a lively personality. Campion falls in love with her - but can he speak to this young girl of love?
This is a book chock-full of youthful energy and adventure, with villains aplenty and daring deeds to be done.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 September 2014
Sweet Danger, Margery Allingham’s 1933 thriller featuring her detective and gentleman adventurer Alfred Campion, is rather like Enid Blyton crossed with the Prisoner of Zenda and Indiana Jones.

It’s very much a book of an era that has come and gone, which gives this fantastical story a period charm as an absurd romp with miscreants all round as upper class Alfred Campion and friends try to track down a set of clues to justify Britain’s claim to a piece of foreign land in front of the International Court.

In one respect Allingham’s novel is less dated than many of its contemporaries, for while it is very much a book in which the men take the lead and the women follow in their wake, in this case there are several female characters who show their own initiative, and one even who does not see her future as simply being about marrying the right man.

Campion’s regular sidekick, by the way, is called Magersfontein Lugg, making him surely the possessor of the best sidekick name in a thriller/detective novel series.
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on 31 August 2008
i first got interested in Margery Allingham when i was about 17 years old when the t.v series ran.

Sweet Danger is fundemental to the progress of the character of Campion. It is in Sweet Danger that he meets Amanda Fitton his wife to be for the first time.

To have Philip Franks read this book is very pleasing to the ear. If i am listening at night i will fall asleep to it, which is a shame, so i treat myself and start to listen to it again.

Mr Franks put the emphasis in the right places and also does different voices for the characters and the narration.
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VINE VOICEon 10 June 2012
As always Allingham's plot doesn't stand up to close scrutiny, but that is unimportant as you listen to Frank's excellent reading. It's the audio equivalent of a page-turner, rushing one on to the next action before the implausibilities register. Frank's voicing of the villain is reminiscent of Martin Jarvis's Lord Tilbury in his readings of the Blandings novels and none the worse for that.
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on 20 March 2016
This is a recent re read . It is fantastic and on one level it is very silly but the greatest fin. The villans are bad and Campion is his usual self but the introduction of Amanda Fitton is a delight. She and her family are wonderful even stuffy little brother Hal. Amanda is a teenage miller keeping the family goong by charging batteries and making electricity.
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on 20 December 2013
I am a great Margery Allingham fan and this recording of Sweet Danger does justice to the book.
Philip Franks reading is very true to the tone of the story and although it is abridged I was not aware of any major or glaring cuts - very sympathetically done.
The suppliers delivered it quickly and efficiently and the cost was very competetive.
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on 8 June 2011
This book was dramatised for the Campion TV Series. I was a bit surprised that the book started differently but it made more sense.
The writing makes me smile, the hotel where Campion and his friends meet is described as having 'wise guyishness'. A good read if, like me, you are a fan of brave and wisecracking Albert Campion.
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on 26 June 2009
Excellent as a book - even better as an audio book, particularly with the superlative Phillip Franks presenting it. He brings the story to life.
Well worth its five stars.
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