Tuesday, January 25, 2011
The Fashion in Shrouds
The Fashion in Shrouds (1938) is another entry in the annals of Margery Allingham's detective, Albert Campion. This time, as the back of the book tells us, we have homicide with style. Fashion is the by-word of the circle where murder strikes. Among these people, the suicide of Richard Portland-Smith [not George Wells as he is identified in the blurb] is old news. But Campion has refused to accept it as passe...and, in fact, has been asked by the man's father to get to the bottom of it. As Campion begins to follow the trail among politicians and the theatre, plane designers and fashion designers, he discovers secrets that may affect his own sister. More deaths follow and soon it becomes a question of which secrets have led to these bizarre murders. Is it adultery? Drugs? Blackmail? Espionage? Or a nice little recipe requiring all those ingredients? Campion takes a bold step in the finale to bring the perpetrator out into the open.
It may just be the state I've been in the last couple days (not feeling well)...but this particular Campion mystery seems just a bit more convoluted than most. And I have to say that I detested (yes, detested) Georgia Wells, the actress, from the moment she stepped into the scene. Someone really needed to slap her a good one early on. The mystery did hold my attention....I just barely got it solved before Campion's final scene. And some of the character interactions were very good. Overall, though, not one of Allingham's best. Good solid mystery. Mostly good characters. A decent, solid read for a three star rating.