5.25.2011

Round Three...

Based upon recommendations after I wrote about my love of all Agatha Christie, I decided to give Margery Allingham a try. You might recall my thoughts on the first book, Death of a Ghost, and my lack of enthusiasm for Dancers in Mourning and Albert Campion, but I had one more book on my stack to try out before I made my final decision. Congratulations to book #3, because I actually enjoyed The Crime at Black Dudley (did you catch that, Emily?).


The Crime at Black Dudley (Felony & Mayhem Mysteries)

GENERAL PLOT OVERVIEW: Several young people are invited to visit a friend's home in the country. Upon arriving, they meet his wheelchair-bound uncle and three associates who rarely leave the uncle's side. After dinner, a story is told of a family mystery and culminates with everyone playing a twisted game of hide-and-seek in the dark. The game ends abruptly when the uncle is found dead of an apparent heart attack. The young people are imprisoned in the house by the less-than-reputable associates of the uncle, and the majority of the book is about escape attempts, regrouping, fighting the servants, being caught again, and finally being saved by a fox hunt. Campion plays the role of plucky comic relief, and spends most of his time keeping hope alive and providing leadership when necessary. The problems don't end there, because the doctor who signed the death certificate knows that the old man was murdered and goes on a quest to find out who did it. The story ends after the physician confronts his friend and hears his confession and future plans. Campion disappears from the story after the guests are released from the house. The End.

MY THOUGHTS: First of all, Albert Campion is a secondary character in this book (and the first Campion mystery) and that's possibly why I like him better. He's a good fill-in character and his funny quips in serious situations reminded me of Bertie Wooster from the P.G. Wodehouse books. Since I like Wooster, I like this version of Campion as well (which is quite different from the Campion of later Allingham mysteries). The story moved along fairly well - although it got a bit bogged down in the multiple escape attempts, but it kept my attention much better than the previous Campion mysteries I have tried. Had Allingham kept the character traits of Campion from this first book - as a secondary fellow who brings humor to the story - I might have been hooked. As it is, I already know that she changes him in future books, so I'm not likely to pick up another one (unless it's book #2 - to see when the change occurs). 

FINAL DECISION: My little mystery-loving heart will always belong to Agatha Christie, but I'm glad that I ended my trial of Allingham on a high(er) note. If someone handed me one of her books to read, I wouldn't be afraid to give it a try, but I won't be buying any more for my personal collection.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I'm glad you found one you liked, anyway! I'm not actually sure if I've read that one or not... but perhaps I'll have to see if they have it for kindle (pretty sure they won't have that in English in Barcelona).

    My heart will always belong to Sherlock Holmes, personally. : )

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