Police At The Funeral Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook, CD
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"Don't start reading these books unless you are confident that you can handle addiction" (Independent)
"The real queen of crime" (Guardian)
"Allingham's work is always of the first rank" (New York Times)
"Allingham captures her quintessential quiet detective Albert Campion to perfection... For those who relish classic crime fiction" (Daily Express)
"An outstanding piece of work – original, clever, baffling" (Daily Telegraph) --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Paperback.
Campion returns to help uncover the real secret behind the mysterious Faraday familySee all Product description
Top customer reviews
All said, it's a great story, and the reason why I like it is because it's quite a tense and in places claustrophobic rendition of a family imploding based on years of tension, dislike and plain hostility towards one another. We get a picture of the results of that "poison" all coming out in the wash and it makes for an exciting read.
I did start to guess what was going on towards the end of the book, but it was still not clear how the murderer had done it, so it was still very worthwhile reading to the end to find out. In fact, I was waiting for some more deaths to occur since the culprit seemed to have planned quite far ahead and with some ingenuity! But then Allingham didn't really write stories about mass-murderers, so it was probably best she stopped there!
About Campion - Margery Allingham has again written all the way through this book that Campion comes across as vacant, slightly imbecilic and perhaps a touch daft to other characters in the story, but I have to say he comes across as anything but to me. In fact, he's one of the more interesting and on-the-ball detectives from classic detective story fiction and his switched-on attitude means he doesn't really ever disappoint; even if his friends get annoyed with him not disclosing his secret knowledge to them (I'm referring here to the fact that Stanislaus gives Campion the cold shoulder for a couple of days in this story when he can't work out what Campion is obscurely hinting at).
Give this book a go - I'm sure you'll like it, and remember - be very careful to be nice to the rest of your family, particularly if they live with you...
There is a Cambridge setting, although, curiously, no great sense of place apart from in the wonderful opening chapter in London.There is a horrendous Victorian mansion set in aspic.There is a dysfunctional family providing a limited cast from which to choose a murderer. There is a domineering matriarch. There are policemen, competent and incompetent.And there is Campion, gloriously whimsical but not Wimsey or Poirot or Marple, not a detective but an Adventurer.And what does he do in this novel? He detects, after a fashion.
After all, as Holmes said “Once you have eliminated……..” That is what you have to do here. Eliminate all the impossibilities until there is only one possibility. And no, not a deus ex machina, but one of the cast on the stage.
Allingham again creates a small eccentric universe peopled with elderly oddities and young people who are curiously normal.In the core of this world there is one person who is evil.
Lots of nice Allingham touches. Marcus, writing from Cambridge quotes the Greek tag from Rupert Brooke’s The Old Vicarage,Granchester to wish he were in London. There is also homage to Doyle, as part of the method of the first murder is an improvement on that used in The Problem of Thor Bridge. Conium or hemlock is used to murder Julia in the house in Socrates Close : hemlock was in the drink which killed Socrates . And of course, the title- there are no police at the funeral……there is no funeral.
Thank you to the Allingham Estate for this review copy
The matriarch runs the house to a strict timetable and code of behaviour, firmly set in the late 1800's, although the current date is the late 1920's! For example, she trundles off to church in a horse-drawn carriage, the house has no phone, and the decor, although maintained, has remained unchanged for decades. All the live-in relatives, with one exception - the fiancee of the solicitor - are financial inadequates totally dependent on the matriarch for survival, even though they are mostly well past fifty years old. Allingham portrays this bizarre scenario with unerring skill - you "see" the house, you sense and respond to the petty jealousies and hatreds that bubble beneath the surface and, with a little understanding of what life was like in that elite sector of society between the wars - you accept and believe in it. In short, you become part of the household.
If you find it difficult to believe that such a household could exist in the late 1920's, let me tell you that I was born in 1946 and I met two women very similar to the matriarch, in large houses with dependent relatives, in the 1950s. That sort of thing didn't really die out until the 1960's. Some complain that the ending of this novel is an anti-climax. However, it is fairly clear two-thirds of the way through that only one person could have killed the first victim. I found the explanation totally adequate and believable, as is the disclosure of the family "scandal". To a family, apparently of lesser nobility, whose attitudes were rooted in 1890, it would have been hugely important to suppress such a story. Indeed, it would still be an issue with some today!
This book is a wonderful read at many levels. It contains a wonderfully evocative vignette describing the Holborn area in the late 1920's. But the description of the house in Cambridge, and the family within, is the real reason you enjoy the story. The characters are often utterly nuts, but mostly strangely sympathetic. The crimes give the plot great pace and add to the tension created by the discord in the house. But, as is common with subsequent Allingham novels of the same calibre, you close the book with a feeling of regret - sensing that you will never know the characters again - but wanting to know what happened to them.
SPOILER ALERT. Finally, the matter of Allingham copying the method of the first killing from a very late Sherlock Holmes short story (published in book form only 9 years before this novel). It seems to me that Allingham freely acknowledges this when she describes that the method of removing the gun was originally by tying it to a brick, which would carry it into the river when the gun was let go - the method used by Doyle. But, Allingham's killer abandons the brick in favour of the clock weight, a more efficient mechanism. This is a joke, implying that Allingham's use of the method is generally an improvement on Doyle's - which indeed it is. Allingham loved a joke, it's one of the things that makes her books so readable.
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And the TV series is just as good.
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