Archive for 'Allingham, Margery'
â€œBowels by name and bowels by nature,â€ said Magersfontein Lugg, valet, butler, and general factotum to Mr. Albert Campion. Lugg, a former burglar who reformed after he â€œlost his figure,â€ was reading an appeal from his brother-in-law, Joseph Bowels, an undertaker in the quaint neighborhood of Londonâ€™s Apron Street.
Mr. Campion, the protagonist in Allinghamâ€™s mystery series, has another mission. Heâ€™s been asked by senior police officials to lend a hand to young Charlie Luke, the Detective Inspector for the area. It seems there are dark doings in Apron Street, with poison pen letters and perhaps actual poisonings… centering around the Palinode family.
The Palinodes, who live in impoverished splendor in an Apron Street mansion, are a strange bunch. â€œqueer 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 â€˜em.â€ Evadne, the oldest sister is a grande dame on a meagre budget. Her brother Lawrence speaks in crossword puzzle clues, and Jessica, the poorest of them, follows the dictates of Herbert Boon, whose book illustrates how to live on â€œone and six.â€ Ruth, recently deceased, may well have been poisoned because of her predilection for playing the horses, and there are even suspicions about the death of Edward Bon Chretin Palinode, the oldest of the family.
Lugg is dispatched to stay at the Bowels establishment, while Campion moves into the Palinode residence. Between them, they begin to make sense of the strange events in Apron Street.
Of all the classic British mystery authors, Margery Allingham is by far my favorite, and More Work for the Undertaker is a book I try to re-read every few years. The characters are strange and delightful, the dialogue witty and intelligent. Written in 1949, this lovely story still entertains today.
Mystery Book Reviews by DW at http://reviewedbyliz.com Â©2007