Time for some more vintage crime which for some strange reason is always a comfort read. Margery Allingham came from a family of writers and she started her writing career at the age of eight, but was nineteen when she had her first book published. This one was first published in 1930 and it’s the second book by Allingham featuring Albert Campion as the ‘detective’ and the character is developing nicely. I wasn’t sure about him to begin with but he’s growing on me. It was Allingham’s American publishers who were keen that she kept him as a character. I read somewhere that Campion was Allingham’s parody of the Dorothy Sayers aristocratic detective, Lord Peter Wimsey, who I think is a sort of love him or hate him character.
Anyway, the story begins on a ship which has sailed from New York and is bound for England. An American called Crowdy Lobbett is one of the passengers, along with his adult son and daughter. There have been several attempts on retired judge Crowdy Lobbet’s life recently which have ended up with his companions being the victim. There have been four people murdered in his house in the last month. He’s hoping to be able to escape from his enemies in England.
It’s a vain hope because there’s another attempt on Judge Lobbett’s life whilst on the ship and it’s Albert Campion who saves him. Marlowe Lobbett, the son, ends up asking Campion for help and when they get to England the Lobbett family rents an old country house and it isn’t long before Judge Lobbett disappears from it.
As usual, Albert Campion provides quite a bit of humour as he poses as an upper class twit, and his servant the ex-burglar Lugg adds to it too. There’s quite a bit of cockney in it which I sometimes had to read twice before I got the meaning of it but other than that it’s an enjoyable read.