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on 21 February 2013
Allingham is one of my favourite writers and I am glad to see her work on Kindle at long last. This is a later novel, crammed full of well defined loopy characters and an excellent plot. We never discover Albert's true identity despite subtle hints in most of the stories. I envy anyone who has not read her work before, a treat is in store.
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on 20 April 2017
This is Allingham at her best. Campion has aged and matured since the last book, as he always does. There are some old friends and some new ones, all painted perfectly. Interesting and novel plot that keeps you guessing. Highly enjoyable read!
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on 28 May 2014
if you have listened to other Campion stories and liked them then buy this one too, you will not be disappointed
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on 13 July 2012
'The Tiger in the Smoke' may be Allingham's greatest Campion novel, but 'More Work for the Undertaker' gives me more pleasure than any of them. For a start, it has Lugg's most wonderful line; he refers to his brother-in-law, the undertaker Jas Bowels, as "Bowels by name and Bowels by nature"! But there are so many more treats in store. This novel introduces Charlie Luke, one of the greatest characters in crime literature. A London copper who talks with his whole body, his conversation a catalogue of abbreviated paragraphs augmented by hand movements, facial expressions, twitches of the shoulders, and innumerable other phsyical gestures that are largely left to the imagination of the reader. Then there's the Palinodes, the children of a prominent late-Victorian academic: totally broke, essentially unemployable, intellectually outstanding, highly educated, living as tenants in the vast house that used to be theirs. And then, somebody starts to kill them....

Campion is persuaded to abandon a budding career in diplomacy, which he never wanted anyway, and investigate by moving into the Palinode household as the "nephew" of the landlady - Renee Roper. Remember her from 'Dancers in Mourning'? This he does successfully, at the same time as uncovering an ingenious scheme for helping criminals evade justice.

This wonderful story includes a highly evocative description of London after the war, but before the local planning authorities moved in to finish the job started by the bombers of the Third Reich. You can still see it, if you look hard and employ imagination, but much of the ambience has been ruined by reckless development when money was tight. Thanks Margery, for the social history!
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on 26 October 2000
Allingham at one of her best character-thrillers. Apron street, a throughfare stuck in an older time frame: a street not "to go up" according to the criminal fraternity. A wonderfully weird collection of people: there are Jas Bowels and Son Rowley the undertakers; and then the Palinode brothers and sisters, living in a world of naive eccentricity, two of whom have already left this life in mysterious circumstances. Into this world comes Albert Campion, assisting Detective Inspector Charles Luke and his team by being on the inside. Wonderfully described cameos such as Jas and Son moving an ebony-veneered coffin in the early hours of the morning. A treasure of a thriller captiviting the imagination and the intellect. A set of imaginative characters but in a real world of death and its consequences. It ends with a surreal chase through the night, police cars after a horse-drawn coffin brake. Sadly, they don't write them like this anymore.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 June 2014
'More Work for the Undertaker' was published in 1948 and is the thirteenth Albert Campion novel. It is one of my favourites.
Apron Street is in a sinister area of London where criminals can disappear, so that 'going up Apron street' has become a slang term for someone dropping out of sight of the police. The action takes place just after World War 2, though the street and its environs seem to have suffered little from the blitz.
Apron Street has an old fashioned bank, undertakers and also a chemist's shop, as well as the home of the aristocratic, eccentric and impoverished Palinode family, now a lodging house. The Bowels family are undertakers and it may be that they are providing private services, in more than one sense. Albert Campion, as elegant and incalculable as ever, is asked to investigate two deaths among the Palinodes. He has been offered a job elsewhere and has to decide whether helping the police is more attractive to him. It is. The ingenious plot involves poisoning, anonymous letters and a disappearing coffin and Campion's policeman friend, Charlie Luke, is increasingly puzzled by the facts that Campion unearths. Someone seems to be trying eliminate the Palinodes. Could it be connected with their inheriting some worthless stocks and shares?
Marjorie Allingham is one of the 'big four' women writers of the golden age of British crime fiction (with Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers and Ngaio Marsh). She wrote her novels in trios in each of which she tried to achieve something different - some were meant to be light and humorous, others dark and intense. This one has dark humour and atmosphere and Marsh's gift for creating vividly eccentric characters means that this is a colourful read. Most enjoyable!
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Albert Campion has been asked to help in a case which is puzzling his old boss. The Palinodes are a wealthy family which has fallen on hard times and two of them have died in what may or may not be suspicious circumstances. Campion has also been offered a job abroad which he is in two minds about whether to accept. In the end the lure of police work is something he cannot resist. The house in which all the remaining Palinodes live is situated in Apron Street which seems like a throwback to an earlier age.

In the same street there is a very old fashioned bank, and undertakers and a chemist. The Palinode house is run as a lodging house by an old friend of Albert's and she welcomes him like the long lost cousin he is pretending to be. It soon becomes clear that there is a lot more going on beneath the surface than is at first apparent and Campion's contact in the police force - Charlie Luke - is becoming more and more confused by what Campion has uncovered. This is the first one of Margery Allingham's Campion novels I've read and I found it entertaining reading. Campion himself is an interesting character and all the other characters are well drawn and believable.

I thought the plot was extremely good and complex with lots of strands and plenty of people making oblique remarks whose meaning only becomes clear gradually. I didn't work out what was happening before the tense denouement though the clues are there for an observant reader. Clearly I wasn't sufficiently observant! Having said that I do like crime novels where I don't manage to work out who the murderer is. Overall this is a very well written example of the Golden Age of British crime fiction. It is a tense and atmospheric read with many strange and eccentric characters. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys crime novels written in the classic mould.
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on 9 May 2009
I first read this story twenty-odd years ago and I was so impressed by it that I have tried to read all of Margery Allingham's Mr Campion detective stories since. This one has all the ingredients that I've come to expect from this series of detective novels: an unusual plot, weird names like Stanislaus Oates (a police detective), weird characters like the Palinode family who are central to the story and finally, a very clever title. To find out why this particular title is so apt you need to read the book. If you've never read any of Margery Allingham's books before, this is the one to start with.
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on 21 January 2013
I'm a great fan of the classic mystery-writers: Agatha Christie, John Creasey, Dorothy L Sayers - and Margery Allingham. More Work for the Undertaker is a period piece: old-fashioned language, slightly stilted, and a very conventional hero. Very entertaining. I'd forgotten just how Allingham's stories rattle along. I'll be re-readng more!
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on 12 March 2015
I love More Work for the Undertaker - my very tatty well-used second-hand paperback copy bears witness to that.

However, the Kindle version is NOT the same as my 1956 Penguin paperback edition.
The Kindle edition has many alteration, cuts, changes - in total. about 40 pages missing - which spoils the style of the writing.
This copy MAY be based on an abridged edition published in 1968.

To anyone thinking of buying this - try one of the green Penguin editions (should be about 280 pages).

I hope Amazon can find a proper edition to release on Kindle.
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