Mr. Campion began to understand Marcus’ remark of the previous evening: “If I lived in that house I might easily feel like murder myself.” That atmosphere of restraint which is so racking in adolescence was here applied to age, and Campion experienced a fear of stumbling upon some weak spot where beneath the rigid bone of repression, human nature had begun to ferment, to decay, to become vile. There was no telling what manner of secret lay hidden in that great house rising up over his head, yet he was acutely conscious of its existence.
This seems to be the season of formidable ladies who rule over their house with an iron-cast grip. Murder of a Martinet had one, in this book there is another: Caroline Faraday who rules over her house and an assortment of children: William, Julia, Kitty, Andrew. So far so good. Only these children happen to be middle-aged men and women who really should know better than to bicker and fight and be petty and mean. Anyway, one day Andrew goes missing. The disappearance of such an unpleasant man should not distress anybody but it does. So enter Mr.Campion who in his individualistic style unearths the dark, sordid secret of the house.
To me this was the least enjoyable of all the Allinghams read so far. I really can’t empathise with grown-ups acting like a bunch of kids. So the characters put me off. And the skeleton that tumbles out of the genteel English mansion simply made me grind my teeth. The book has its moments but the tame ending makes it one of the flattest mysteries ever read.
First Line: When one man is following another, however discreet may be the pursuer or the pursued, the act does not often pass unnoticed in the streets of London.
Author: Margery Allingham
Publication Details: Middlesex: Penguin, 1971
First Published: 1931
Series: Albert Campion
The book might be available in libraries or second-hand books shops. I borrowed it from Hardayal Library at Fountain.
Submitted for the following challenges:
Mystery and Suspense