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Flowers for the Judge: Albert Campion #7 Paperback – April 18, 2008
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"Albert Campion is the most sprightly detective of them all, and along with sharp characterizations and vivid, witty dialog, he helps make Miss Allingham's mysteries the joy they are" -- Chicago Tribune
"One of her best-vivid and witty" -- New York Times
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Top Customer Reviews
The mystery is interesting, but my favorite scenes in "Flowers for the Judge" involved the proceedings at the inquest and trial--the minutiae of the 1930s British legal system, including the eponymous flowers for the judge. Fans of John Mortimer's `Rumpole of the Bailey' books should give this novel a try.
Unfortunately, this book features one of Allingham's china-doll heroines, who does nothing more interesting than faint every now and then. She's pretty, and wears lovely clothes, but her cleaning lady is a much more interesting character. We always know what these heroines are wearing, but we hardly ever catch a glimpse of their thought processes. I'm sorry to say that they strike me as rather stupid.
"Flowers for the Judge" has a wonderful ending. Yes, the heroine gets her man, but that is only a minor, uninteresting detail compared to the 20-year-old family secret that Campion resolves in a most unexpected fashion.
Here is a complete list of the Campion novels that Allingham wrote ("Cargo of Eagles" was completed by her husband after her death in 1966). There are also short story collections and Campion novels that were written by her husband, Youngman Carter, which I didn't include in this list.
1. The Black Dudley Murder aka The Crime at Black Dudley (1929)
2. Mystery Mile (1930)
3. Look to the Lady aka The Gyrth Chalice Mystery (1931)
4. Police at the Funeral (1931)
5. Sweet Danger aka Kingdom of Death aka The Fear Sign (1933)
6. Death of a Ghost (1934)
7.Read more ›
This produces an ultimately interesting, but not gripping, read. At least, from a modern perspective, where there is no shortage of information on such subjects. We cannot know more about the mysterious manuscript, the crooked collector, the many enemies of the murder victim, the criminal hobbies of the company employees or the malintent of the toothless woman, because these are fictional and existed only in the author's mind.
To modern eyes, these are the bits of interest. The psychology is well-documented elsewhere, today.
But that is always going to be the case for literature. We aren't exactly the same as the intended audience, we can see behind the curtain already, it's what's in front that's hidden from us. Back when the book was first written, the reverse was true.
So why four stars? The readers may be dated, but the book hasn't. It's a fascinating insight into the world views of the 1930s, of the culture and procedures of that time. It's a period piece as well as a psychological piece. It creates the world Campion and co. live in, its prejudices and imperfections, in a way other Campion novels gloss over in order to explore the mystery.
The mystery in "Flowers for the Judge," is who murdered Paul Brande in the cellar lock room of Barnabas Limited. Brande is one of the owners of this respectable publishing firm, along with his cousins John Widdowson and Michael Wedgewood. Paul, noted for running off without notice, and being a bit hare-brained to boot, leaves behind his wife Gina. He had proven himself somewhat lacking as a husband and Gina was in the process of trying to divorce him. To make this even more suspicious, her relationship with Michael, while not exactly improper, is a bit too close to be considered a simple friendship.
When the police discover that the murder weapon was Michael's car, which was used to pump carbon monoxide into the lock room, suspicions blossom. With Michael unable to produce an alibi, the result of the inquest is a forgone conclusion, and Michael is remanded over for trial. Gina and Ritchie Barnabas (another cousin) turn to Campion for help.
The case is complicated by other events and hints of scandal, yet provides Campion with only fragmentary evidence with which to track down the truth. Driven by the need to exonerate Michael rather than simple get him released, Campion's task seems impossible.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the seventh book in this series and one of my favorite, so far. There are lots of interesting characters and a good plot.Published 2 months ago by MissMommy
As always, well written with amusing insights into the time period and people in general.Published 4 months ago by Pia Kate Jakobsson
All of Campion stories are very good...would recommend any of them.Published 4 months ago by Erroll M.
One of the crown jewels in the Campion series. A fascinating look into the book publishing world of 1930s London. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Stephen Schroth
This is my favorite Campion thus far. Perhaps the real murderer was apparent a bit prior to Campion finding him out, but the ending quite makes up for that.Published 7 months ago by CH Osborne