My copy doesn't look like the one above, but you get the idea.
GENERAL PLOT OVERVIEW: The main gentleman-Miss-Marple-esque-detective, Albert Campion, finds himself in the midst of a murder while at an art party at a friends house. The murder is crudely done, but effective. Albert, who has some sort of connection with Scotland Yard and the Home Office (very vague) calls in a friend from SY to help keep things from getting out of hand in the investigation. A girl is accused, a man confesses, and then suddenly we find ourselves with nothing happening at all because there was a diplomat at the party (pretty much a nobody in the storyline) the whole thing is hushed up and kept out of the press. Campion continues to search for the real criminal and the majority of the book deals with Campion's concern for his elderly friend and his desire to see the murderer come to justice. He figures out "who done it" based on his gut feeling and then goes to work to try to prove it. We have another murder - this time planned out - and then the murderer tries to snuff out ol' Campion himself. In the end the murderer goes insane and Campion's elderly friend sits and talks to a drawing. THE END.
MY THOUGHTS: I had a hard time getting into this book, which is probably why it took me so long to read it even though it's short. I felt like it had potential, but there were a lot of loose ends in the plot that got brought in with no background given and really didn't add to the story at all (if they weren't going to be explained). It was choppy and Campion wasn't as lovable as Christie's Poirot or even Miss Marple. I felt like the book dragged on and in the end, I simply found it to be boring.
HOWEVER...I'm not giving up on Margery yet, and have two more books to try - Dancers in Mourning and The Crime at Black Dudley. I'm really hoping they are better than my first Allingham experience and so I'm keeping an open mind. Not everyone can write a winner every time. I've heard that there is a TV series (like Poirot) involving Campion, but it doesn't seem to be available on YouTube (although it does seem to be available to rent from Amazon - but I'm too cheap to do that). Has anyone seen the TV series? And more than that, if you have read Allingham and love her, could you please share which books are your favorites?
Currently Reading: The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing by Tarquin Hall