Jack Havoc, jail-breaker and knife artist, is on the loose on the streets of London once again. In the faded squares of shabby houses, in the furtive alleys and darkened pubs, the word is out that the Tiger is back in town, more vicious and cunning than ever.
It falls to Albert Campion to pit his wits against the killer and hunt him down through the city's November smog before it is too late.
"Miss Allingham is one of the few writers who can deal with art. Both her passions and her patterns are beautiful, accurate and serene" (Daily Telegraph)
"Margery Allingham has worked her way up to a worthy place among the tiny hierarchy of front-rankers in the detective world" (
"[Allingham] captures her quintessential quiet detective Albert Campion to perfection... For those who relish classic crime fiction" (Daily Express)
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Not really a mystery-unique among Campions
I'm not answering these questions Audible asks, I'm just writing my review.
SPOILERS IN HERE!! SPOILER ALERT!!! In discussing the book you may think I reveal too much if you don't like to know anything about it!! SPOILERS!!
I have read in discussions of Margery Allingham that this is her masterpiece; it is certainly very different from any of her other books that I have encountered so far. Though there are some mysteries in this book, and a number of murders, it isn't really a murder mystery as I see it. Campion is of course in it, but it's not really about him, either. It seems to me to be a meditation on the second world war, and upon loss and grieving and change and how to accomplish these things well (or poorly). Also, and this grows as the story continues, it seems to be a meditation on the nature of good and evil, and upon what God is and what God isn't and most of all what a person becomes when God is lost to them. It's not surprising that someone who was born in 1904 in England would have thought extensively about these things, and their thinking about those points always speaks deeply to me, even though I was born in 1961 in the United States.
There is a scene in the second half of the book, where Meg's father (a minister of the church) goes deliberately out to talk to the murderer. This action on his part is certainly distressing from a pragmatic point of view, but that's part of the point of the story if the story is more than a murder mystery. He believes that he is called to do so by God in order to offer salvation to the murderer, and what he says to the murderer about the path he (the murderer) is on I found to be greatly moving. I also found the final scenes at Sur la Mer extremely moving for the same reason (though more so the second time I listened to it, because the first time I was too anxious to find out what would happen to think deeply about what Allingham was really trying to say.) This is a book I will listen to more than once, especially the second half, for what Allingham has to say about spirit and loss and redemption and faith, rather than because it's a comforting golden age mystery. It's not a preachy book, but I think it has to be understood from the point of view of a discussion of what's real and what's not, rather than as a simple murder mystery. (I'm not advocating what the old man did, either, it usually turns out more like the girl in Patch Adams than how it did in this book when we are talking about real life it seems to me, but I'm just saying that it has a function as part of the philosophical discussion Allingham is illustrating and also of course, people thought differently in a different time and place).
As always, I like the reader. I think he has a remarkable facility for indicating different characters clearly, I had to laugh when I read another review that said they found the difference between Campion and Luke wasn't clear. To me it seems SO clear, Campions voice is clearly older, deeper, not hoarse, more precise, and with a completely different accent (being aristocratic rather than working class, like Luke). In general I feel Thorpe has done a brilliant job with these books as I listen my way through all of them, and since I didn't like Frances Mathew's readings, it's a blessed relief to me not to have to put up with him in order to get unabridged Margery Allingham. I also noticed that as the series is going on and Campion is getting older, Thorpe is making Campion's voice deeper with time, which is a thing that does actually happen with age. This is the kind of attention to detail and fidelity to the writer that is unusual in a reader, and that I so appreciate about Thorpe.
Very very good, not great.