Margery Allingham

Margery Allingham was one of the highly reputed authors from England, who was famous for writing books based on the mystery and thriller genres. She was best remembered as an English author of golden age detective fiction novels, especially for the stories featuring the sleuth named Albert Campion. Author Margery was born as Margery Louise Allingham in Ealing, London, on May 20, 1904. She belonged to a family that totally involved in literature. Both her parents, Emily Jane and Herbert were both writers. Margery’s father, Herbert, used to serve as the editor of The London Journal ,and the Christian Globe, before going to become a popular writer of pulp fiction novels. Even author Margery contributed to several articles as well as the stories of Sexton Blake to the popular magazines that her father had worked for. Margery’s mother also contributed with stories in the women’s magazines. Margery’s family moved to Essex, London right after her birth. There, they lived in a vintage house located in a village near Colchester, called Layer Breton. Author Margery first studied at a local school and then went on to pursue her education from the Perse Girls’ School in Cambridge. All throughout the course of her schooling she kept on writing plays and stories. When she was 8 years old, author Margery received her first payment for one of her stories that was printed in the magazine owned by her aunt. Later, Margery returned back to London in the year 1920 in order to undergo training for drama and speech at the Regent Street Polytechnic. She used to suffer from a form of stammer since her childhood that got cured with the help of the training at this institute. It was during this time that she came across her future husband named Philip Youngman Carter for the firs time.

The two married each other in the year 1927, after which Carter began collaborating with author Margery for a number of her novels as well as designing jackets for several of her books. Margery and Carter used to live on the outskirts of Essex Marshes in the town called Tolleshunt D’Arcy, located near Maldon. The first full length novel written by author Margery titled Blackerchief Dick was released in the year 1923. At that time, she was just 19 years old. This novel was based on an occult themed story that she had heard at a seance. The novel received a better success, after which author Margery continued to use occult themes in her books. Initially, there was not much financial success due to which Margery decided to develop a novel series. But, her occult themes used to often clash with her natural style of lightheartedness. This forced her to shift her focus towards writing mystery novels. The writing of author Margery went through a steady pace during her school days. At the time when she was at the Regent Polytechnic for the treatment of her stammering, she wrote a play called ‘Dido and Aeneas’. This play was performed at the Cripplegate Theatre and the St. George’s Hall. Margery herself played the role of Dido in the play.

The much required breakthrough in the writing career of author Margery came in the year 1929 after the successful publication of her novel titled ‘The Crime at Black Dudley’. This book introduced the popular character of Albert Campion, although he was depicted only as a minor character. The publishers in America were very much impressed by the character and this pressurized author Margery in a way to include the character in a major role in her next novel. After publishing three novels in her career till then, Margery had already improved her writing skills to a great extent and she had also found a strong chief protagonist. This gave her the confidence to begin developing a series of novels featuring Albert Campion. However, she had to continue to write journalism articles and short stories for magazines for a few more days. But, as her Campion novels continued to become successful one after the other, her sales as well as following grew steadily. The tremendous success that author Margery received because of the Albert Campion novels enabled her to use the character as the centerpiece in another 17 books as well as 20 short stories throughout the 1960s. Author Margery died on June 30, 1966 due to breast cancer in hospital in Colchester, England.

The Albert Campion Mystery series written by author Margery Allingham consists of a total of 26 books which were released between the years 1929 and 1989. All the books in this series feature Albert Campion as a suave sleuth having noble blood and living in London. He is assisted by his partner named Magersfontein Lugg. One of the initial books released in this series is titled as ‘Sweet Danger’. This book was first published in the year 1933 and then again in the year 2004 by the Vintage publication. The opening plot of the book shows the impoverished members of the Fitton family own a run-down mill located in a village called Suffolk. After an earthquake, Averna becomes oil rich suddenly and the Fitton family claims that their brother is the true heir of Averna. Suspecting their claims, the British Government appoints Albert Campion to look into the matter and find out the real owners. When Campion begins his investigation, he finds that the requisite lineage proof involves a stolen drum, a priceless crown, an ancient riddle, a ruby necklace, and a lost bell. He continues his investigation to search for the real owners and find whether there is any truth in the claims of the Fitton family.

Another initial book published in the Albert Campion series written by Margery Allingham is titled as ‘The Case of the Late Pig’. This book was republished in the year 2007 by the Vintage publishers, after being initially released in the year 1937. The starting scene of the novel shows that Albert Campion gets summoned to the Kepesake village in order to investigate a distasteful death of one of the villagers. It turns out that the victim is a man named Pig Peters, who was believed to be dead around 5 months ago. Later, a number of other dead bodies are also found which hint at a link with the murder of Pig Peters. Meanwhile, Albert Campion comes to know that the dead body of Pig Peters has gone missing. As the case begins to grow more and more complicated, Albert Campion is required to use all his incisive powers to unravel the deadly crimes.

Books published in order by series:

Albert Campion Books

The Crime at Black Dudley(1929) 
Mystery Mile(1930) 
Look to the Lady(1931) 
Police at the Funeral(1931) 
Sweet Danger(1933) 
Death of a Ghost(1934) 
Flowers for the Judge(1936) 
The Case of the Late Pig(1937) 
Dancers in Mourning(1937) 
The Fashion in Shrouds(1938) 
Traitor’s Purse(1941) 
Coroner’s Pidgin(1945) 
More Work for the Undertaker(1948) 
The Tiger in the Smoke(1952) 
The Beckoning Lady(1955) 
Hide My Eyes(1958) 
The China Governess(1962) 
The Mind Readers(1965) 
A Cargo of Eagles(1968) 
Mr. Campion’s Farthing(1969) 
Mr. Campion’s Quarry(1971) 
Mr. Campion’s Fox(2015) 

Albert Campion Collections

Mr. Campion and Others(1937) 
The Casebook of Mr Campion(1947) 
The Return of Mr. Campion: Uncollected Stories(1989) 
Mr. Campion’s Lucky Day and Other Stories(1992) 

Standalone Novels

Blackkerchief Dick(1923) 
The White Cottage Mystery(1928) 
Other Man’s Danger(1933) 
Rogues’ Holiday(1935) 
Black Plumes(1940) 
Safer Than Love(1975) 
The Patient at Peacocks Hall(1983) 
The Oaken Heart(1987) 

Short Story Collections

Deadly Duo(1950) 
No Love Lost(1954) 
The Allingham Case-Book(1969) 
The Allingham Minibus(1973) 
The Darings of the Red Rose(1995) 

Publication Order of Plays

Water in a Sieve(1925)
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