Look to the Lady by Margery Allingham

This book was first published in 1931 and it’s another book featuring Albert Campion as the eccentric detective. He’s a sort of upper class silly-ass on the surface but underneath it all he’s in control and has lots of contacts with unlikely people.

Look to the Lady is set mainly in the village of Sanctuary in Suffolk but it begins in London where Percival St John Wykes Gyrth, the heir to a large house called The Tower in Sanctuary has been living rough on the streets since he has had a fall-out with his father. The Gyrth family have had a Chalice in their possession for hundreds of years, it’s about 1,000 years old and steeped in legends and unknown to them there’s an international ring of art thieves after it.

In London, whilst looking for a bench to sleep on, Val’s amazed to see an envelope with his name on it amongst the rubbish on the pavement. Let’s face it, it isn’t a common name, so it must have been meant for him but the address on the envelope is completely unknown to him and someone has already torn the envelope open and it’s empty!

Val decides that he has to make his way to the address to see what he can find out about the envelope and its missing contents. At his destination he finds Magersfontaine Lugg, ex-burglar but now man-servant to Albert Campion, and Lugg gives him Campion’s card.

Mr Albert Campion
At Home

Any evening after twelve.
Improving Conversation
Beer, Light Wines, and Little Pink Cakes.
Do come.
17, Bottle St,W1
(Entrance on left by Police Station).

On leaving Lugg, Val Gyrth takes a taxi to Campion’s address but soon realises that he’s being kidnapped. So begins a story of possible murder, kidnap, attempted murder and a wee bit of romance thrown in for good measure.

If you like vintage crime you’ll probably enjoy this one. It has a good atmosphere of the 1930s and I especially enjoyed it because some of the action takes place near where I used to live in Essex and so when the village of Coggeshall and town of Witham were mentioned it was a bit like seeing an old friend again.

I’m not very good on vintage cars so I looked up a few of the makes which were mentioned in the book Delage and Frazer Nash – very stylish.

6 thoughts on “Look to the Lady by Margery Allingham

  1. I’ve only read one Allingham, years ago, and I remember not liking it. I was addicted to Agatha Christie at the time, though, and it just didn’t compare. I wonder if I’d like her now? This one sounds clever.

    • Anbolyn,
      I first read Allingham when I was a teenager and like you I wasn’t impressed. I recently started again as The Tiger in the Smoke was recommended and I enjoyed that one. To begin with I wasn’t keen on the Albert Campion character, but he has sort of grown on me.

    • Jo,
      I quite enjoyed the tv series too. I think Peter Davison was perfect as Campion. Possibly the books are a bit hit and miss-ish though or sometimes it just depends on my mood at the time. I’ve been on a bit of a vintage crime binge recently. Dorothy Sayers is still my favourite I think.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *