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Flowers for the Judge: Albert Campion #7 Paperback – April 18, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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

"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

About the Author

Margery Allingham was a prolific writer who sold her first story at age eight and published her first novel before turning 20. She went on to become one of the "Three Queens" of Britain's "Golden Age" of crime fiction (the other two being Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers), who are credited with bringing the genre to maturity in the 1920s - 1940s.
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Product Details

  • Series: Albert Campion (Book 7)
  • Paperback: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Felony & Mayhem; First Edition edition (April 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934609129
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934609125
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By ealovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
Who murdered Paul Brande in the cellar lock room of Barnabas Limited, a highly respectable London publishing firm? One of the heirs is arrested, and Allingham's serial detective, Albert Campion is brought in to prove him innocent.

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.
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This doesn't really fit into any of the "normal" Campion styles. The murder mystery seems secondary to a study of personality types. The characters don't seem fully solid, but that's ok, precisely because this is a study. The essential elements are distilled, so that there is clear contrast. The mystery becomes a vehicle for exploring the competing interests of the characters, a reversal of the usual style of having the competing interests of the characters a vehicle for exploring the mystery.

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.
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For those who, like me, were brought up to mysteries through these British mysteries of the 20-40's, Albert Campion is one the best. No sex or drugs, no modern devices, just actual mysteries,where you pit your wits against the author. Wins, for me, every time.
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Format: Paperback
With "Flowers for the Judge" Margery Allingham signals the change in her writing style which was first hinted at in "Police at the Funeral." Campion has matured a bit and changed from a hapless zany to someone just a bit more like a friend of the family. Still occasionally fatuous, but, more often, showing flashes of brilliance. In keeping with this, the stories themselves are shifting away from adventure tales and becoming more typical of detective stories. While Allingham is rarely very good at keeping secrets, there really are mysteries and inexplicable clues to puzzle out.
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.
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