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Allingham, Margery

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1904-1966) UK author, daughter of H J Allingham, best known for the long-running Albert Campion sequence of detective novels beginning with The Crime at Black Dudley (1929; vt The Black Dudley Murder 1930) and ending with The Mind Readers (1965). A further volume was completed after her death by her husband Philip Youngman Carter, who continued the series with two solo novels as Youngman Carter. Allingham was highly regarded as a "queen of crime" on a level with Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers (1893-1957).

Albert Campion adventures verging on the fantastic include Look to the Lady (1931; vt The Gyrth Chalice Mystery 1931), in which assorted Villains seek a great treasure hidden in a secret room containing a long-dead "guardian" whose role (it is suggested) may be more than merely symbolic; Sweet Danger (1933; vt Kingdom of Death 1933; vt The Fear Sign 1961), whose McGuffin is the title to a tiny Ruritanian kingdom somewhere on the Adriatic coast; and Traitor's Purse (1941; vt The Sabotage Murder Mystery 1943), which afflicts Campion with Amnesia and features a plausible, narrowly averted World War Two plot to wreck Britain's economy with a huge influx of forged currency; the climax deploys a new wartime Invention, a super-explosive yielding devastating effects from a tiny, egg-sized grenade. The Mind Readers is a mystery in which a group of children communicate by a genuinely sf-like form of Technology-based Telepathy facilitated by the newly discovered Element nipponanium. Its exploitation by schoolboys distantly anticipates over-reliance on the Internet: trawling other minds for answers, to the detriment of mental health, rather than doing one's own classwork. Campion also appears in a number of short stories including the Christmas fantasy vignette "Word in Season" (in Mr Campion's Lady, omni 1965), in which his dog briefly acquires the power of human speech. Some non-Campion ghost stories are included in The Allingham Minibus (coll 1973; vt Mr Campion's Lucky Day and Other Stories 1992). [DRL/JC]

see also: ESP.

Margery Louise Allingham

born Ealing, London: 20 May 1904

died Colchester, Essex: 30 June 1966

works (highly selected)


Albert Campion



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