Police at the Funeral by Margery Allingham

I bought quite a few vintage Penguin crime books when I was in Stockbridge, Edinburgh last week. So I thought I should read one next and eat into the collection a bit.

I plumped for a Margery Allingham, mainly because I don’t think I’ve read one of hers for ages. Police at the Funeral was first published in 1931. It’s set in Cambridge and the sleuth Albert Campion gets a letter from an old friend who wants him to look into the disappearance of his fiancee’s uncle, Andrew Seeley. He has been missing from his home for about a week and Campion interviews the rest of the family in an attempt to discover what has happened.

It’s a very dysfunctional family, headed by the formidable 84 year old Great Aunt Caroline who rules the roost and holds the purse strings. The other members of the family all seem to be feckless and incapable of supporting themselves and despite the fact that they are getting on themselves in years they persist in behaving like nasty children.

This is weakest area of the book I think, because although it’s obviously important to the story to have the obnoxious characters, it does mean that the book is full of unlikeable people.

I enjoyed the convoluted storyline and towards the end of the book I did warm slightly to the surviving characters and I did appreciate the 1930s ambience of the whole thing.

So, if you like classic crime novels this is probably worth your while reading but I don’t think many people would rate it as a favourite.

2 thoughts on “Police at the Funeral by Margery Allingham

  1. I never got back to Allingham after one unmemorable Campion read, but I love this cover. I’m curious–does it have an orange spine or it is green?
    I have an intense sentimental attachment towards old Penguins (and Puffins).

    • Thanks for the comment. The book has a green and cream spine. It’s just a continuation of the front cover. It’s a Penguin classic reprint. I don’t think they are as nice as the 30s originals. I was lucky enough to buy quite a lot of Michael Innes originals in Edinburgh the other week. I like Puffin books too but I don’t have many of them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *