Police at the funeral. Unknown Binding – 1979
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
The book is saved from being dated paradoxically because the house in which the action takes place has been allowed to remain fixed in the late Victorian era even into the 1930s in which the mystery is set; it has no telephone for example and still keeps a horse drawn carriage. The exception to this is the 'family secret' which is unpleasant not for what it is, but for the way that the so called 'shame' is described. Autre temps, autre moeurs.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Margery Allingham does it again with a first class murder mystery.Published 26 days ago by James Lavery
The thing about Albert Campion is that you're never one hundred percent sure which side he's on. Unlike Peter Wimsey who will hand pretty much any murderer over - even if it's his... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Verity Reads Books (a lot of them)
As always, Marjorie Allingham's books are always a joy to read.Published 3 months ago by Audrey Walker
First impressions count and this affected my appreciation of Campion's fourth outing. There is a contrived, almost ludicrous, co-incidental meeting between four of the protagonists... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Officer Dibble
I had this on an old penguin but I recently dowloaded. The tale involves strange deaths , black mail and one of Allingham's specialities, a strong and possibly nasty old lady. Read morePublished 7 months ago by firstname.lastname@example.org
Good read well worth having in your kindle collection of books.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
Up to the usual standard , well written and and an excellent story line you come to accept from this authorPublished 12 months ago by Geoffrey Collins