Saturday, January 1, 2011

Police at the Funeral (Review)

Well, I fell in love with Albert Campion all over again. I hadn't read any Margery Allingham books for a good long while and pulled out Police at the Funeral as my final entry in the Out With a Bang Read-a-Thon. I got so wrapped up in Campion's world that I stayed up till midnight just so I could finish it ('cuz I had to know what happened) and claim the whole book for the challenge.

In this novel, Campion is called upon by the fiancée of an old friend to investigate the mysterious disappearance of one of her uncles. Uncle Andrew started walking home from church one Sunday and never arrived. It's not that Joyce Blount is all that fond of her uncle--he's a bitter, insulting man who has written a book exposing the family skeletons, but she is very afraid of the atmosphere in the family home and what might happen next. As she should be. Uncle Andrew is finally found--dead. And several family members soon follow him to an early grave. What evil influence has hold at Socrates Close, the Cambridge landmark home of the Farradays? And can Albert Campion and his friend Inspector Stanislaus Oates make their way through complex family dynamic to solve the mystery before the entire family is removed from the scene?

Margery Allingham is at her best in this Campion outing. The repartee is witty. The descriptions are eerie and suspense-laden. The mystery is complex enough and strewn with red-herrings that will keep the reader guessing till the very end. A highly enjoyable mystery from one of the Golden Age's best. Four stars out of five.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with your assessment, Bev. This is one of my favorite Campions. I think the ending - the final chapter - is as near perfect as Allingham ever got. It's beautifully written. I think this one is readily available - Felony & Mayhem reissued it fairly recently.