The Return of Mr. Campion by Margery Allingham

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Somehow, I have lost my notes containing the excerpts from this collection of short stories thatthat I wanted to share with you. Hopefully they will turn up in some unexpected place, some time in the future, and I will be able to add them.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: In this fantastic collection of thirteen short stories, Margery Allingham explores both the Mystery and the other genres it has allowed her to write.

From a Christmastime story and a portrait of her leading man, Albert Campion, to classic capers and the traditional British mystery, Allingham displays her wit, her humour, and her prowess not just as a Mystery writer but as a storyteller.

Published thirty years after it’s first publication, The Return of Mr Campion proves that both The Mystery and Allingham are still everywhere.

The Return of Mr Campion was first published in 1989 and contains the following short stories:
The case is altered — Mr friend Mr. Campion — The dog day — The wind glass — The beauty king — The black tent — Sweet and low –Once in a lifetime — The kernel of truth — Happy Christmas — The wisdom of Esdras — The curious affair in Nut Row — What to do with an ageing detective

MY THOUGHTS: This was a mixed bag of short stories, many of which didn’t actually feature Mr Campion. But there is plenty to keep the reader interested, with tales of crime, blackmail, romance and even a ghost story.

Of great interest to me is the lack of political correctness that was very evident at the time this collection was written. Very strict social mores are also in evidence. People talk of living in simpler times, but it seems to me that the difficulties were just different.

3.5

THE AUTHOR: Margery Louise Allingham was born in Ealing, London in 1904 to a family of writers. Her father, Herbert John Allingham, was editor of The Christian Globe and The New London Journal, while her mother wrote stories for women’s magazines. Margery’s aunt, Maud Hughes, also ran a magazine. Margery earned her first fee at the age of eight, for a story printed in her aunt’s magazine.

Soon after Margery’s birth, the family left London for Essex. She returned to London in 1920 to attend the Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster), and met her future husband, Philip Youngman Carter. They married in 1928. He was her collaborator and designed the cover jackets for many of her books.

Margery’s breakthrough came 1929 with the publication of her second novel, The Crime at Black Dudley . The novel introduced Albert Campion, although only as a minor character. After pressure from her American publishers, Margery brought Campion back for Mystery Mile and continued to use Campion as a character throughout her career.

After a battle with breast cancer, Margery died in 1966. Her husband finished her last novel, A Cargo of Eagles at her request, and published it in 1968.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Agora Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Return of Mr Campion by Margery Allingham for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2753056259?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Friday Favorite – Serpents in Eden edited by Martin Edwards

Looking for something to read over the weekend ?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming ‘read me’?

Take a look at my Friday Favorite. It may be new. It may be old. It may be written by a famous author, or by someone you have never heard of. But wherever in the spectrum it falls, it will be a book that is special to me, one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

Serpents in Eden

EXCERPT: Miss Frances Morton, who was a tall and handsome brunette, gave her evidence in a low but clear voice, though it was evident throughout that she was suffering from extreme emotion. She alluded to her engagement to the doctor, touched briefly upon its termination, which was due, she said, to personal matters connected to his family, and surprised the court by asserting that she had always considered her brother’s resentment to be unreasonable and intemperate. In answer to a direct questionfrom her counsel, she replied that she did not feel that she had any grievance whatever against Dr Lana, and that in her opinion he had acted in a perfectly honorable manner. Her brother, on an insufficient knowledge of the facts, had taken another view, and she was compelled to acknowledge that, in spite of her entreaties, he had made threats of personal violence towards the doctor, and had, upon the evening of the tragedy, announced his intention of ‘having it out’ with him. She had done her best to bring him to a more reasonable frame of mind, but he was very headstrong where his emotions or prejudices were concerned.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: ‘The lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside…. Think of the deeds of hellish cruelty, the hidden wickedness which may go on, year in, year out, in such places, and none the wiser.’ – Sherlock Holmes Many of the greatest British crime writers have explored the possibilities of crime in the countryside in lively and ingenious short stories. Serpents in Eden celebrates the rural British mystery by bringing together an eclectic mix of crime stories written over half a century. From a tale of poison-pen letters tearing apart a village community to a macabre mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle, the stories collected here reveal the dark truths hidden in an assortment of rural paradises. Among the writers included here are such major figures as G. K. Chesterton and Margery Allingham, along with a host of lesser-known discoveries whose best stories are among the unsung riches of the golden age of British crime fiction between the two world wars.

MY THOUGHTS: What a wonderful collection of mysteries! This is firmly among my favourites and marked as never to be deleted from my Kindle.

This is a wonderful collection of short stories, none of which I had ever read previously, absolute classics!

Martin Edwards has largely chosen well. The stories are atmospheric and to the point. He has written an introduction at the beginning which is interesting and relevant. Then each story is prefaced by an introduction to both the author, his/her career and notable works. I have gleaned plenty more reading material from this source.

If you are a short story fan, or Golden Age Mystery aficionado, or both, this is a must read collection.

THE AUTHOR: (Or, in this case the editor) Martin Edwards’ latest novel, Gallows Court, was published in September. He is consultant to the British Library’s Crime Classics series, and has written sixteen contemporary whodunits, including The Coffin Trail, which was shortlisted for the Theakston’s Prize for best crime novel of the year. His genre study The Golden Age of Murder won the Edgar, Agatha, H.R.F. Keating and Macavity awards, while The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books has been nominated for two awards in the UK and three in the US. Editor of 38 anthologies, he has also won the CWA Short Story Dagger and the CWA Margery Allingham Prize, and been nominated for an Anthony, the CWA Dagger in the Library, the CWA John Creasey Memorial Dagger, and a CWA Gold Dagger. He is President of the Detection Club and Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, and Archivist of both organisations. He has received the Red Herring award for services to the CWA, and the Poirot award for his outstanding contribution to the crime genre.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press via Netgalley for a digital ARC of Serpents in Eden for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1728663629

Friday Favorite – Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers

Looking for something to read over the weekend ?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming ‘read me’?

Take a look at my Friday Favorite. It may be new. It may be old. It may be written by a famous author, or by someone you have never heard of. But wherever in the spectrum it falls, it will be a book that is special to me, one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

Have His Carcase (Lord Peter Wimsey #8)


EXCERPT: She was within a few yards of the rock now, gazing up at the sleeper. He lay uncomfortably bunched up on the extreme seaward edge of the rock, his knees drawn high and showing his pale mauve socks. The head, tucked closely down between the shoulders, was invisible.

‘What a way to sleep!’ said Harriet. ‘More like a cat than a human being. It’s not natural. His head must almost be hanging over the edge. It’s enough to give him apoplexy. Now, if I had any luck, he’d be a corpse, and I should report him and get my name in the papers. That would be something like publicity. “Well Known Woman Mystery-Writer Finds Corpse on Lonely Shore.” But these things never happen to authors. It’s always some placid laborer or night-watchman who finds corpses. . . ‘

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Mystery writer Harriet Vane, recovering from an unhappy love affair and its aftermath, seeks solace on a barren beach — deserted but for the body of a bearded young man with his throat cut.

From the moment she photographs the corpse, which soon disappears with the tide, she is puzzled by a mystery that might have been suicide, murder or a political plot.

With the appearance of her dear friend Lord Peter Wimsey, she finds a reason for detective pursuit — as only the two of them can pursue it.

MY THOUGHTS:😍😍😍😍.5 stars for this delightful Whimsey novel that had my brain bouncing all about my head, rather like the ball inside a pinball machine!

We have an older woman, desperate for love; her younger lover who wants an empire; and a son who sees his inheritance disappearing into the clutches of a gigolo. And so the scene is set for a murder. Simple? It could have been, but…….

This is one of the most complicated murders I have ever read. But also one of the most entertaining. We have the involvement of the Russians, a little reminiscent of the missing Russian Princess Anastasia, and a whole plethora of red herrings for Lord Peter and Miss Vane to fish through.

The missing .5 of a star is due to the numerous pages devoted to cipher codes, which I admit to skimming. With that small exception, this remains one of my favorite Lord Peter Wimsey novels.

THE AUTHOR: Dorothy Leigh Sayers was a renowned British author, translator, student of classical and modern languages, and Christian humanist.

Dorothy L. Sayers is best known for her mysteries, a series of novels and short stories set between World War I and World War II that feature English aristocrat and amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. However, Sayers herself considered her translation of Dante’s Divina Commedia to be her best work. She is also known for her plays and essays.

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers, published by Open Road Media. I read this book in 2016 as part of a Goodreads Group Read. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1271159100

Watching What I Read

Well, I am glad I didn’t over commit myself on the reading front this week as I have only just finished

Treacherous Is the Night (Verity Kent, #2)

The fact that I have only just finished is absolutely no reflection on the quality of the book, believe me! Watch for my review tomorrow.

I paid a visit to my local library yesterday and picked up a copy of

The Comforts of Home (Simon Serrailler, #9)

which I will be starting as soon as I finish

Small Great Things

If you haven’t yet read Jodi Picoult’s latest, I strongly urge you to do so.

And I am currently listening to

The Blackhouse (Lewis Trilogy, #1)

This week I am planning on reading

The Little Shop of Found Things (The Little Shop of Found Things #1)

A new series about a young woman whose connection to antiques takes her on a magical adventure, reminiscent of Outlander

New York Times bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter Paula Brackston returns to her trademark blend of magic and romance to launch a new series guaranteed to enchant her audience even more.

Xanthe and her mother Flora leave London behind for a fresh start, taking over an antique shop in the historic town of Marlborough. Xanthe has always had an affinity with some of the antiques she finds. When she touches them, she can sense something of the past they come from and the stories they hold. So when she has an intense connection to a beautiful silver chatelaine she has to know more.

It’s while she’s examining the chatelaine that she’s transported back to the seventeenth century. And shortly after, she’s confronted by a ghost who reveals that this is where the antique has its origins. The ghost tasks Xanthe with putting right the injustice in its story to save an innocent girl’s life, or else it’ll cost her Flora’s.

While Xanthe fights to save her amid the turbulent days of 1605, she meets architect Samuel Appleby. He may be the person who can help her succeed. He may also be the reason she can’t bring herself to leave.

With its rich historical detail, strong mother-daughter relationship, and picturesque English village, The Little Shop of Found Things is poised to be a strong start to this new series.

And

In Her Shadow

Isabel’s life seemed perfect. Successful business, beautiful house, adoring husband. And then she was dead.

For four years Jessica has never doubted that her sister Isabel’s death was an accident. But when Jessica’s young daughter seems to know long-forgotten details about her aunt’s past, Jessica can’t shake the feeling that there’s a more sinister truth behind the tragedy.

As Jessica unearths disturbing revelations about her sister, and about the people she loved and trusted most, it becomes clear Isabel’s life was less than perfect and that Jessica’s might also be at risk.

Did someone murder Isabel? Are they now after Jessica and her family? The key seems to lie in the hands of a child. Can Isabel reveal the truth from beyond the grave, or is the answer closer to home?

In Her Shadow is a gripping tale of family secrets, lies and obsession from the two million copy bestselling author Mark Edwards.

I received three ARCs from NetGalley this week

The Promise

Murder in the Dark (Ishmael Jones, #6)

Broken Ground (Inspector Karen Pirie, #5)

We have the family descending on us for lunch. This is their first visit to our new home. I hope that they love it as much as we do.  The lamb is in the oven, the vegetables all prepared, so now I just need to throw together the Greek Salad. I am glad it’s a beautiful day, especially after yesterday which was wet, cold and windy. We lit the fire and I spent the day reading between naps and watching the Supercars racing at Pukekohe. Today we will be able to eat outside and enjoy the magnificent views.

Happy reading my friends 😎

Watching What I Read

Well, I didn’t get as much reading done as planned . . . I am only just starting

The Coordinates of Loss

I am listening to

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Harold Fry, #1)

and almost half way through

Small Great Things

This week I am planning on reading

Treacherous Is the Night (Verity Kent, #2)

In 1919 England, in the shadow of The Great War, many look to the spirit world for answers. But it will take an all too earthbound intrigue to draw in the discerning heroine of Anna Lee Huber’s latest mystery . . .

It’s not that Verity Kent doesn’t sympathize with those eager to make contact with lost loved ones. After all, she once believed herself a war widow. But now that she’s discovered Sidney is very much alive, Verity is having enough trouble connecting with her estranged husband, never mind the dead. Still, at a friend’s behest, Verity attends a séance, where she encounters the man who still looms between her and Sidney—and a medium who channels a woman Verity once worked with in the Secret Service. Refusing to believe her former fellow spy is dead, Verity is determined to uncover the source of the spiritualist’s top secret revelation.

Then the medium is murdered—and Verity’s investigation is suddenly thwarted. Even Secret Service agents she once trusted turn their backs on her. Undaunted, Verity heads to war-torn Belgium, with Sidney by her side. But as they draw ever closer to the danger, Verity wonders if she’s about to learn the true meaning of till death do us part . . .

If I get another read, it will be a bonus !

And only one approval from Netgalley this week

Perfect Bones (Samantha Willerby Mystery Series, #3)

Happy reading my friends!

 

 

How Does Your Garden Grow? and Other Stories by Agatha Christie

 

How Does Your Garden Grow? and Other Stories by Agatha Christie
EXCERPT: Dear M. Poirot,
I have been recommended to you by an old and valued friend of mine who knows the worry and distress I have been in lately. Not that this friend knows the actual circumstances – those I have kept entirely to myself – the matter being strictly private. My friend assures me that you are discretion itself – and that there will be no fear of me being involved in a police matter which, if my suspicions should prove correct, I should very much dislike. But it is of course possible that I am entirely mistaken. I do not feel myself clear-headed enough nowadays – suffering as I do from insomnia and the result of a severe illness last winter – to investigate things for myself. I have neither the means nor the ability. On the other hand, I must reiterate once more that this is a very delicate family matter and that for many reasons I may want the whole thing hushed up. If I am once assured of the facts, I can deal with the matter myself and should prefer to do so. I hope that I have made myself clear on this point. If you will undertake this investigation perhaps you will let me know to the above address?
Yours very truly,
Amanda Barrowby

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A classic collection of Agatha Christie short stories, taken from Poirot’s Early Cases and read by David Suchet.

David Suchet, Poirot to perfection, returns with five further short stories taken from the collection entitled Poirot’s Early Cases.

The short stories included in this audiobook are:

‘The Plymouth Express’
‘The Submarine Plans’
‘Problem at Sea’
‘How Does Your Garden Grow?’
‘The Market Basing Mystery’
Each story is entirely self-contained and shows all the essential Poirot qualities. Again we find Poirot’s maxim – ‘one must seek the truth from within, not without’ – proves highly efficient in his pursuit of the truth.

MY THOUGHTS: I was excited to discover this little gem, of which I had never previously heard. The fact that it is narrated by David Suchet, only added to my pleasure.

The four stories are all shortish, but none the less intriguing. Hastings makes a welcome appearance, as does Chief Inspector Japp.

Several hours of listening pleasure. 😍😍😍😍😍 Highly recommended to all Christie fans, or as a starting point for anyone wanting an introduction to Hercule Poirot.

THE AUTHOR: Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan.

Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote eighty crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and several other books. Her books have sold roughly four billion copies and have been translated into 45 languages. She is the creator of the two most enduring figures in crime literature-Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple-and author of The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of modern theatre.

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born in Torquay, Devon, England, U.K., as the youngest of three. The Millers had two other children: Margaret Frary Miller (1879–1950), called Madge, who was eleven years Agatha’s senior, and Louis Montant Miller (1880–1929), called Monty, ten years older than Agatha.

During the First World War, she worked at a hospital as a nurse; later working at a hospital pharmacy, a job that influenced her work, as many of the murders in her books are carried out with poison.

Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, came out in 1920. During this marriage, Agatha published six novels, a collection of short stories, and a number of short stories in magazines.

In late 1926, Agatha’s husband, Archie, revealed that he was in love with another woman, Nancy Neele, and wanted a divorce. On 8 December 1926 the couple quarreled, and Archie Christie left their house Styles in Sunningdale, Berkshire, to spend the weekend with his mistress at Godalming, Surrey. That same evening Agatha disappeared from her home, leaving behind a letter for her secretary saying that she was going to Yorkshire. Her disappearance caused an outcry from the public, many of whom were admirers of her novels. Despite a massive manhunt, she was not found for eleven days.

In 1930, Christie married archaeologist Max Mallowan (Sir Max from 1968) after joining him in an archaeological dig. Their marriage was especially happy in the early years and remained so until Christie’s death in 1976.

Christie frequently used familiar settings for her stories. Christie’s travels with Mallowan contributed background to several of her novels set in the Middle East. Other novels (such as And Then There Were None) were set in and around Torquay, where she was born. Christie’s 1934 novel Murder on the Orient Express was written in the Hotel Pera Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, the southern terminus of the railway. The hotel maintains Christie’s room as a memorial to the author. The Greenway Estate in Devon, acquired by the couple as a summer residence in 1938, is now in the care of the National Trust.

Christie often stayed at Abney Hall in Cheshire, which was owned by her brother-in-law, James Watts. She based at least two of her stories on the hall: the short story The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, which is in the story collection of the same name, and the novel After the Funeral. Abney Hall became Agatha’s greatest inspiration for country-house life, with all the servants and grandeur which have been woven into her plots.

During the Second World War, Christie worked in the pharmacy at University College Hospital of University College, London, where she acquired a knowledge of poisons that she put to good use in her post-war crime novels.

To honour her many literary works, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1956 New Year Honours. The next year, she became the President of the Detection Club.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of How Does Your Garden Grow? and Other Stories by Agatha Christie, narrated by David Suchet, published by HarperCollins Publishers via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2561888767

Friday Favorite – The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by D. L. Sayers

Looking for something to read over the weekend ?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming ‘read me’?

Take a look at my Friday Favorite. It may be new. It may be old. It may be written by a famous author, or by someone you have never heard of. But wherever in the spectrum it falls, it will be a book that is special to me, one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers

EXCERPT: ‘What in the world, Wimsey, are you doing in this Morgue?’ demanded Captain Fentiman, flinging aside the Evening Banner with the air of a man released from an irksome duty.

‘Oh, I wouldn’t call it that,’ retorted Wimsey amiably. ‘Funeral Parlour at the very least. Look at the marble. Look at the furnishings. Look at the palms and the chaste bronze nude in the corner.’

‘Yes, and look at the corpses. Place always reminds me of that old thing in Punch, you know – ‘Waiter! Take away Lord Whatsisname. He’s been dead two days.’ Look at old Ormsby there, snoring like a hippopotamus. Look at my revered grandpa – dodders in here at ten every morning, collects the Morning Post and the armchair by the fire, and becomes part of the furniture til the evening. Poor old devil. I suppose I’ll be like that one of these days. . .’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Ninety-year old General Fentiman has been estranged for years from his sister, Lady Dormer. On the afternoon of 10 November, he is called to her deathbed for a reconciliation, and learns the terms of her will. If she dies first he will inherit a fortune, which his grandsons sorely need. But if he dies first, nearly all of the money will go to Ann Dorland, a distant relative of Lady Dormer’s late husband. She is a young woman with artistic leanings who lives with Lady Dormer.

Lady Dormer dies at 10:37 AM the next day, which is 11 November—Armistice Day. That afternoon the General is found dead in his armchair at the club. This produces a hysterical outburst from his younger grandson, George Fentiman, a veteran of World War I still suffering from the effects of poison gas and shell shock. Due to the terms of Lady Dormer’s will and the time of her death, it becomes necessary to establish the exact time of the General’s death. Though the estate would provide amply for all three heirs, Ann Dorland refuses any compromise settlement. Wimsey is asked to help solve the puzzle by his friend Mr Murbles, the solicitor for the Fentiman family. Wimsey agrees, though he insists that he will pursue the exact truth, regardless of who benefits.

MY THOUGHTS: At the time I first read this, I wrote ‘This is quite the best Lord Peter Wimsey novel I have read thus far’. I read the whole series as part of a challenge on Goodreads a few years ago, and developed a fondness for both Sayers and Lord Peter, but this remains the firm favorite.

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club is #5 in the series and Lord Peter’s personality is beginning to flower – he really is quite a sweetie with a kind heart, a man who likes to see people happy. He even gets to play matchmaker. I love the way his mind works, and he has quite a theatrical bent.

Lord Peter had been joking about how a body could sit in its chair in the club undetected, when one is discovered. Everyone had thought the elderly General Fendman was merely snoozing by the fire. But when it becomes imperative to ascertain the exact time of the General’s death to determine the recipient of a half-million pound inheritance, Lord Peter will need to employ all his skills and those of his butler Bunter and good friend Inspector Charles Parker.

This is a true British classic and one I enjoyed immensely. Best enjoyed on a wet, wintery afternoon in front of the fire with tea and crumpets.

Although this is #5 in a series, it is perfectly able to be read as a stand-alone .
😍😍😍😍😍

THE AUTHOR: Dorothy Leigh Sayers was a renowned British author, translator, student of classical and modern languages, and Christian humanist.

Dorothy L. Sayers is best known for her mysteries, a series of novels and short stories set between World War I and World War II that feature English aristocrat and amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. However, Sayers herself considered her translation of Dante’s Divina Commedia to be her best work. She is also known for her plays and essays.

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by D. L. Sayers. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1647175775