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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful period piece, and an intriguing mystery
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...
Published on 11 Oct 2000 by R. Weir

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One to slowly savour
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...
Published on 16 Mar 2009 by Officer Dibble


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful period piece, and an intriguing mystery, 11 Oct 2000
By 
R. Weir "pooliealbatross" (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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
4.0 out of 5 stars "Murder: I think it's unethical and ungentlemanly and unkind.", 25 Jun 2006
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Fashion In Shrouds (Paperback)
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.

Highly entertaining and very fast paced, the novel is cleverly written and full of intrigue, populated with characters who have more substance than the cardboard characters one finds in most mysteries. Allingham's ability to incorporate details of time and place--and class--give this novel a lively sense of the atmosphere of prewar England and the attitudes of its population, not all of them admirable. Elitism, bigotry, and class prejudice are all given voice in this novel, and play a part in the mystery.

Far more literary in style than Agatha Christie, Allingham employs a good deal of humor and irony, though Albert Campion is more phlegmatic than Lord Peter Wimsey (Dorothy Sayer's detective) and less exaggerated than Christie's Hercule Poirot. Allingham, a fine writer, creates well developed plots and memorable characters, and one hopes that her work will be reprinted for a new audience. n Mary Whipple
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Find the pre-1965 version, 6 July 2010
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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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One to slowly savour, 16 Mar 2009
By 
Officer Dibble (Zummerzet) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fashion In Shrouds (Paperback)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "It's an honest, done-on-purpose killing for a reason.", 29 Dec 2006
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Fashion in Shrouds (Paperback)
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 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 and seductress who married someone else just six months after his disappearance. 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.

Highly entertaining and very fast paced, the novel is cleverly written and full of intrigue, populated with characters who have more substance than the cardboard characters one finds in most mysteries. Allingham's ability to incorporate details of time and place--and class--give this novel a lively sense of the atmosphere of prewar England and the attitudes of its population, not all of them admirable. Elitism, bigotry, and class prejudice are all given voice in this novel, and play a part in the mystery.

Far more literary in style than Agatha Christie, Allingham employs a good deal of humor and irony, though Albert Campion is more phlegmatic than Lord Peter Wimsey (Dorothy Sayer's detective) and less exaggerated than Christie's Hercule Poirot. Allingham, a fine writer, creates well developed plots and memorable characters, and one hopes that her work will be reprinted for a new audience. Mary Whipple
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Style Never Goes Out of Fashion, 23 Sep 2003
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, the book is virtually flawless. Campion is in superb form throughout, both as detective pitting his wits against a superhuman Nemesis of a murderer, and as a lover (even going to the extent of throwing his fiancée in the lake during a quarrel); Lugg is as amusing as ever; and there is much interest in the character and methods of the villain, “who can set the murderous Machiavel to school,” weaving webs of a subtlety and diabolical ingenuity matched only by his creator.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fashion in Shrouds, 5 April 2013
By 
Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fashion In Shrouds (Kindle Edition)
Albert Campion's sister, Val, is a fashion designer who finds herself mixed up in the unexplained death of actress, Georgia Wells' husband. Georgia is a femme fatale who seems to attract just about every man she meets including Val's friend Alan Dell, a plane designer. Coincidentally the body of Georgia's former fiancé who disappeared some years ago has also been found. Could Georgia be more than just the selfish vamp she definitely is?

I enjoyed this complex mystery with its portrayal of nineteen thirties society. I liked Campion as a characters and I also liked his sister, Val. The ending of the book was a complete surprise to me as I had identified someone else as the murderer but when you look back at the story there are plenty of clues as it who the murderer actually was.

These older mysteries written during the Golden Age of British crime fiction stand the test of time very well in my opinion. `The Fashion in Shrouds' is particularly well plotted and the characters are believable. The writing is of a high standard - higher than that of some modern crime writers. I recommend this book to anyone who hasn't yet tried Margery Allingham's Albert Campion stories.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Read for Albert Campion Fans., 20 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Fashion In Shrouds (Kindle Edition)
This book marks a change in Albert Campion. He is definitely getting more mature, the careless attitude is still there, but you get the feeling that the world is a much more serious place. This seriousness is compounded by his need to protect his sister while engaged in tasks that he is clearly not entirely happy about. The issue of resolving his love life is finally sorted, but not in a particularly romantic manner, all that happened in Sweet Danger, which is pretty well essential reading if you want to fully appreciate this book.
After this book,Albert Campion's world becomes a far darker, and often stranger place.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I have loved him since being a preteen and 35 years later ..., 23 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Fashion In Shrouds (Paperback)
Rereading the Campion books to my Dad I am reappreciating MA considerably. Her writing is really absolutely first class. In one of the short story books there is a transcript of a radio address she did in 1935 explaining how Campion just appeared at the dinner table in The crime at black dudley, how she tried to get rid of him but he kept appearing and finally saved the day. And over time how she came to rely on him as a cocollaborateur. I have loved him since being a preteen and 35 years later find him still impressive.

Otherwise, Deon Meyer writes great books too
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 16 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Fashion In Shrouds (Kindle Edition)
Anyone wanting to add a good read to their collection will enjoy this book, I keep it and read over again.
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The Fashion In Shrouds by Margery Allingham
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