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Death of a Ghost (A Campion Mystery) Paperback – February 3, 2017
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"Wonderfully plotted...Allingham was a rare and precious talent" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
MARGERY ALLINGHAM was born in London in 1904. She sold her first story at age 8 and published her first novel before turning 20. She married the artist, journalist and editor Philip Youngman Carter in 1927. In 1928 Allingham published her first detective story, The White Cottage Mystery, and the following year, in The Crime at Black Dudley, she introduced the detective who was to become the hallmark of her sophisticated crime novels and murder mysteries -- Albert Campion. Famous for her London thrillers, such as Hide My Eyes and The Tiger in the Smoke, Margery Allingham has been compared to Dickens in her evocation of the city's shady underworld. Acclaimed by crime novelists such as P.D. James, Allingham is counted alongside Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie and Gladys Mitchell as a pre-eminent Golden Age crime writer. Margery Allingham died in 1966. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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"Death of a Ghost" centers on famous artist John Lafcadio. Before his death, he selected12 of his paintings and left instructions that they were to be revealed and offered for sale starting five years after his death, one a year to keep his name and work in the public. The action takes place within the realm of the art world; Campion is invited to the annual posthumous exhibit of Lafcadio's work at his wife's home. Here, this art gala turns deadly when the lights go out and a young artist is murdered. Campion and the reader are now both caught up in solving this artistic mystery.
"Death of a Ghost" is cleverly written depicting a cat-and-mouse game between Campion and the increasingly daring killer. Although Allingham's plot and prose style is a bit stand-offish and slow to develop at times, this story is smooth, well-paced, and gives just enough clues to keep the reader engaged. The plot is carefully crafted and quite clever; while one can eventually guess the murderer, the ending is still tense and a bit of a surprise. Her characters are well developed and interesting, especially our hero, Campion. I have enjoyed these stories, but it is the insights into human frailties and the hypocrisy of aging models and failed artists that elevate this book to one of her best.
One of the treasures for Kindle users is the large run of Margery Allingham mysteries. She was among the best of that outstanding group of writers in Great Britain (and Ngaio Marsh, born in New Zealand) who were Masters of the Classic Mystery. Some readers will be familiar with Allingham from the fine British television series starring her literary hero, Albert Campion, which is well worth seeing if you have not done so.
This is a good one. Campion appears without his man-of-all-work and former criminal assistant, but with his good friend, the Scotland Yard detective.
The setting is mostly the home of a now deceased 'Great Artist', who has arranged for a dozen unseen paintings by him to be shown, one at a time, for twelve years, beginning a decade after his death. Mr. Campion is at the annual affair at which one of the new paintings is to be shown for the first time when murder strikes. Mr. Campion rallies to the aid of the widow of the artist, being a good friend of the family, and of the artistic entrepreneur who manages the business end of the release of these pictures and their sale. What is distinctive in this, as compared to her other books, is that Campion is convinced of the identity of the murderer rather early on, but neither he nor the police can find any evidence supporting this contention. Will the Killer strike again? Why kill these particular people? Will he ever make a mistake such as would allow the police to charge him with a crime?
As always, I found an Allingham book to be eminently satisfying: stylistically she shows a fine mordant wit and superior style, the story is interesting, the key characters well developed, and the whole reflects a high degree of professionalism and command of her materials.