Sunday, June 03, 2001

Two By Margery Allingham

Two by Margery Allingham

Mystery Mile -- Although the second appearance of Albert Campion (his initial appearance being in The Black Dudley Murders), Mystery Mile provides us with the first mystery that has Campion as the central character sleuth.

Mystery Mile is relatively unsophisticated and seems somewhat dated (pub date 1930). An American judge travels to England to escape multiple attempts on his life. Accompanied by his daughter and son on a shipboard cruise, the judge is saved from an unfortunate electrical accident by Campion who later provides his business card to the son. "Nothing sordid, vulgar or plebian" says the card, leading the son to Campion's hidden flat above a police station. By way of hiding the judge in a remote part of the countryside, Campion brings the daughter and son, Isobel and Marlowe respectively, into contact with two other young folk, Giles and Biddy. The main plot is the protection of the judge with a sub-plot following the loves of the five young people. The book moves through twist after twist culminating with Campion's confrontation of Simister, the head of a great organized crime syndicate which was also featured in the Black Dudley Murders.

The Gyrth Chalice - The third title in the Albert Campion mystery series. A fine English countryside mystery. Aristocracy, mysterious obligations to the Crown, gypsies, gangs and Lugg's instructions on proper etiquette all contribute to a wonderful traditional English mystery. Campion's business card in this instance offers the recipient "Beer, light wines and little pink cakes. Improving conversation." But we get a tidbit here an there as to Campion's background and his real identity as well as his several aliases. Of particular note is the memorable scene featuring countryside pagan traditions.

My copy of The Gyrth Chalice is a particularly elderly paperback that originally retailed for 60 cents. The front cover features the following exchange:

"You are thinking of killing me?" Campion asked.
"I'm not *thinking* of killing you. I'm *going* to kill you." came the answer.

What fun! note that Gyrth Chalice and Mystery Mile both feature a mix of American and British characters with similar mystery elements and romantic subplots. Fortunately, they're still different enough to make for good light reading.

Friday, May 18, 2001

Whoops -- didn't do that quite right. This is the *second* attempt to initalize my blog on library and information industry related items. Books, mysteries, fiction, reading discussion groups, reading lists, etc.