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on 22 June 2017
The seventh Albert Campion. sees Margery Allingham take a major step towards beicoming one of the greats of classic crime writing.The action takes place in London, apart from the last chapter set in Avignon which both acts as an Epilogue and an Explanation. In this book, the characterisation, plotting, and atmospheric description of buildings and places, combine to make a very fine piece of fiction.

The plot centres on a family publishing business currently in the hands of John Widdowson, Paul Brande and Mike Wedgewood, all nephews of the founder. Ritchie Barnabas, another nephew is also employed there.

Paul Brande has disappeared in what seems to be an echo of the disappearance in 1911 of Ritchie’s brother,Tom. Mike calls on his friend, Albert Campion, to investigate. Campion meets members of the family as well as Paul’s wife, Gina and trusted employee, Miss Curley, in one of the family flats situated next to the firm’s headquarters. During the meeting John asks Mike to fetch some documents from the office strongroom. The next morning Paul’s body is found there in plain view.

At the end of a Coroner’s Inquest, Mike is arrested. Paul had been deliberately poisoned with carbon monoxide fed into the locked strongroom from Mike’s car. Mike was obviously in love with Gina whom Paul refused to divorce. Thus Mike had a strong motive and can provide no alibi for the time of the murder. The case against him, though circumstantial, is strong, Campion is convinced of his innocence and sets out to find the murderer.

There are in this book two great set-pieces, the Inquest, in a chapter entitled “ Inquisition”,and the trial. There are seemingly unconnected issues concerned with the disappearance of Tom, and the Galivant, a valuable manuscript of a play by Congreve which the firm owns.

On the surface, then, Flowers for the Judge is simply a locked room murder mystery. However it deals, incidentally, with the nature of existence in the modern world- which may sound heavy but is not. It is also about relationships and their complicated nature and difficulties. There are romance and comedy and some chilling moments.It is complex but very readable.

Thank you to the Allingham Estate for my review copy.
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on 9 August 2015
It is difficult to give any sort of critique on an Allingham book because they were written so long ago that if I didn't like them I wouldn't have even tried them. I love the stories she tells and the characters in the stories, totally out of place in the 21st century with attitudes and values that are long gone - and after reading two or three of this author, much missed. I don't particularly like Albert Campion, he's not as nice as Lord Peter Wimsey; I don't much like his 'man' or henchman or ?butler? not nearly as sympathetic as Lord Peter's man. So why are these books so addictive.
Each book is in some way connected to the others, and if I have one criticism it is this fact that makes them annoying at times because you can read in isolation, apart from all the others but all the time you are wondering where this particular case fits in with all the others. Who exactly is Albert in love with this time and what happened to the other wide eyed ingenue that was his particular passion in the last one you read.
Mrs Allingham is streets ahead of Agatha Christie but not quite as good as Dorothy L. Sayers. There, that's the top and bottom of it; the pity of it is that once I've read them all there won't be any more.
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The publishing firm of Barnabus is suddenly in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons when one of its directors is found dead in a locked cellar which the firm uses as a strong-room. Albert Campion has already been called in to investigate because Paul has disappeared and naturally becomes involved in the subsequent investigation.

What follows is an intricate story with many strands both past and present and the tension gradually builds to a nail biting finish and an intriguing epilogue. I found myself totally engrossed in this story and having read three or four Albert Campion stories I am starting to warm to Campion himself as a character.

Margery Allingham's writing is excellent as is her plotting and her characters and the reader has to be very observant to work out where the story is going. This story has stood the test of time well and it is still readable eighty years after it was first published. If you like crime stories in the conventional mould then try this one.
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on 1 March 2018
There is a reason why, of the Queens of 1930s Crimewriting, Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers continue to flourish while Margery Allingham has all but disappeared, and it is this: her writing is so abstruse and affected that the modern reader struggles.
Be her plots never so brilliant, if you can't get from one page to the next, it's all in vain.
No one has trouble today reading The ABC Murders or The Nine Tailors, but when I reach p25 of a book still clogged with stodge, I give up.
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on 29 November 2016
While all the Campion novels are clever and well thought out whodunnits, as the series progresses it's clear that MA wanted to explore more than the mystery plot. In 'Flowers for the Judge' there is the usual wit and humour, but she also seems to take a Dickensian view of the law, and as the story unfolds the horror of the death sentence hangs heavy over the tale. Allingham can be both harsh and sympathetic to her characters, perhaps judgemental, but in this story she explores some of her characters in depth, and there is great sympathy for the misunderstood, misjudged and an understanding of the outsider, unable to cope with the reality of the changing world that feels universal and relevant today.
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on 8 September 2016
Perhaps I wasn't listening as carefully as was necessary because I wasn't quite certain where the story was going or the point at which it had arrived when it did. Nevertheless Marjorie Allingham does tell a good story and this deserves a second hearing.
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on 21 May 2017
I got hooked on Margery Allingham as an Writer and I think I now have them all.
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on 6 June 2016
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on 3 March 2015
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on 10 February 2016
Very enjoyable.
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