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More Work Of The Undertaker Paperback – Import, 1968


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 3rd THUS edition (1968)
  • ASIN: B0000CPMTW
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,694,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Quite complex mystery with plot twists.
Mr. G. Snyder
For a book written in 1949, this one holds up relatively well, even for readers like me, used to reading contemporary crime fiction (as opposed to mysteries).
Kris
Allingham was among the best of the outstanding British authors who brought the classic mystery story to its peak.
drkhimxz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The Palinode clan defies description. They are extraordinarily bright and eccentric, there are a fair number of them (siblings Evadne, Lawrence and Miss Jessica, plus niece Clytie) and they are extremely poor. They live in the old Palinode home as tenants of Renee Roper, its new owner and an old pal of Campion's. And, for no apparent reason, someone seems to be trying to kill them off. Campion, to the rescue as always, moves into Renee's boarding house, while Lugg, his factotum, moves in with Jas Bowels the undertaker down the road.
Subplots abound. The police suspect something is rotten in Apron Street, but aren't sure what. A coffin belonging to Bowels and his son keeps appearing and disappearing, a pharmacist dies unexpectedly and Clytie's boyfriend takes a hard bash on the noggin. Confusion is endemic and the Palinodes sit at the center of the storm calmly writing crossword puzzles and cooking recipes from a book entitled "How to Live on One-and Six."
Even though murder is a grim subject, Margery Allingham once again manages to turn it into a perfect comedy of manners. "More Work for the Undertaker" will have you snickering as the antics of the Bowels and struggling to understand Palinode quips. Nowadays there is altogether too much noir fiction. It's a great relief to settle down with one of Allingham's lighter novels and return to a London as far away as Alice's Wonderland.
A special treat in this novel is the first appearance of Charlie Luke, a Divisional Detective Inspector, as Campion's partner in detection. Now that Stanislaus Oates has become old, important, and a bit stuffy, Allingham seizes the moment to introduce Luke. His bluff and animated personality is a perfect contrast with Campion's. He will go on to be a regular in Allingham's stories from now on, taking his place with Lugg and Amanda.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Holt on August 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
There is little one could add to the excellent, highly detailed reviews above. However, I will try to give the potential reader a review of the style of Margery Allingham, a writer with whom most in the States will be unfamiliar. First, Allingham is a very good technical writer, her stylistic English is excellent; economical, accurate, and timeless. Then, her characterisation is as good as Dickens, the master. One weakness may be that none of her characters seem ordinary, it's as if the world is composed of eccentrics. I just find that adds to the interest of the books. Her greatest strength is in creating an evocation of place. You feel you are there; you see London before, during, and after the Blitz in many of her greatest novels. You experience life in decaying Edwardian splendour, the London art scene, rural Suffolk before we all had cars .... The genre is mystery, not detective story, although there are puzzles to solve. I've been reading these over again since I was about 10, 50+ years, and enjoy them just as much now as then, even though I know "who dunnit". That's a measure of Allingham's skill as a writer. A unique feature of the Campion novels is the humour, which is very English - faintly ridiculous, almost cruel yet self-mocking - and used with wonderful skill to illuminate the subtlety of the characterisation. So, in More Work for the Undertaker, Csmpion's hired hand, cum butler, cum friend, cum bodyguard, cum mentor, the magnificent cockney former cat burglar, before losing "my figger", Magersfontein Lugg (named after a battle in the second Boer War!), sums up his undertaker brother-in-law, one Jas Bowels, as "Bowels by name and bowels by nature"!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By hacklehorn on December 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
More Work for the Undertaker (Margery Allingham, 1949) is, with The Case of the Late Pig, with which it shares certain themes, one of Allingham's most bizarre books-a story ingenious and unusual, if somewhat cluttered-"a fascinating case ... one of the classics of its kind".
The story takes place in Apron St., "a strange decayed sort of neighbourhood", Dickensian London-at once entertaining and disquieting, due to Allingham's unique gift for making place as vivid as character, the atmosphere one of frozen time, unchanged since the Victorian era, London described as a series of villages in which the Palinodes act as squires-although, this being Margery Allingham, character is equally vivid, characters "[taking] shape like a portrait under a pencil", the reader, like Albert Campion, "impressed by the graphic quality of ... every movement ... all done by fleeting lights and shadows"-both feel "invigorated, as if life was coming back to a long-numbed corner of the mind."
The most vivid characters in the book are at the centre: the eccentric Palinode family, "queer brainy people, all boarding privately in what was once their own home. They're not easy people to get at from a police point of view, and now there's a poisoner loose among `em." Allingham sketches in the strange culture of the Palinode family as effortlessly as she did the family in Police at the Funeral. The eccentricity of the Palinodes can be gauged by their habit of speaking in crosswords-"If the Palinode `family language' consisted of references to the classics, a good memory and a comprehensive dictionary of quotations should go a long way."
It is into this strange boarding-house inhabited by eccentrics that Mr.
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