The Case of the Man with the Sack. ‘Twould appear young Sheila Turrett is in some distress. She’s written Campion a letter begging him to come down for Christmas because they’re having the Welkins over, and Mother’s afraid Mrs. Welkins’ diamonds will be stolen. So, Campion goes down, happy to soothe the girl’s silly fears. Of course, when the diamonds are stolen, that’s another thing altogether…
The Case of the White Elephant. There’s been a rash of jewel thefts in London, and neither Campion nor the police has a bloody clue who the perpetuator is. The jewels certainly aren’t being sold in London, but it seems impossible that they’ve all been smuggled out of the country, what with the customs office in cooperation with the police. But there is a way that it might be managed…
The Case of the Old Man in the Window. He’s become a positive landmark, Sir Charles Rosemary, the way he sits in the club window. He’s done it every day from eleven to six thirty for the last twenty years. Quite the record, that. But one day, he’s taken ill. Fielding, fellow club member and physician, sees him home, but before they arrive, the poor chap dies. The club duly mourns. But imagine their shock when just hours later, the old man totters back into the club, fit as a fiddle! What can be the meaning of this!?!
The Case of the Late Pig. He was a horror, R. I. Peters was. Back in school, they all hated him – called him ‘Pig’ and cowered before his bullying. And now he’s dead – so says the paper. So also says an anonymous letter, sent to Campion, inviting him to attend the funeral. It all seemed a bit strange at the time, but now, five months later, it is far more sinister. For while investigating a current murder case, Campion discovers that the victim is none other than Pig! But he was buried five months ago! How came he to be biffed on the head with a flower pot? Campion must bend all of his powers to meet the test!
The Definite Article. Scotland Yard wants Campion’s help. There’s a blackmailer on the loose, and the Yard has barely a clue on him – only that one poor girl has already committed suicide as a result of his heinous profession. Can Campion seek him out, and save his current victim?
In the opening chapter of My Friend Mr Campion, Margery Allingham describes by what process Mr Campion came into being. She claims that it was quite by accident – that he butted into a story that she was writing and refused to go away. She tried time and again to shove him out of the plot, but he was obstinate. So, she let him remain, and thus was born Mr. Albert Campion, detective.
He is widely considered to be a parody of Dorothy Sayers’ foppish detective, Lord Peter Wimsey, and there was some resemblance. Campion is easy going and his manner of expression is along the same lines as Wimsey’s blithering, but he has none of the jump-up-and-go of Lord Peter. He is much more subdued, which is unusual for a parody, which is usually over exaggerated. Perhaps this is because it’s impossible to exaggerate Wimsey’s character past its original bounds!
Conclusion. Excellent – I can’t wait to find more books about Albert Campion!
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