BOOK KINDLE Death of a Ghost by Margery Allingham –

Read Death of a Ghost

This book is OK as far as it goes It is a thirties crime mystery based around a posh family and their connections and almost everyone is connected with the art world in some way The initial murder there are to come takes place early on during the first viewing of one of the paintings which ha The real attack lay somewhere in the Cantonetti Campion wished he could remember The whole of the restaurant had become indistinct He was aware of vast planes of misty chattering ghosts to whom he supposed fatuously he was as invisible as they to him Does this title that of the sixth Albert Campion book refer to the ghost of John Lafcadio the artist whose cheeky attempt to gain immortality and get one over on his rivals has far reaching conseuences for his family and friends Each year starting in the eleventh year after his death one of twelve paintings is to be revealed and put on sale on the Sunday before the annual Academy Exhibition The book opens on the day number eight is to be unveiled at his house in Little VeniceAssembled is a cast consisting of Belle the artist s widow their granddaughter two former models Max Fustian an art dealer and various artists models and notabilities including CampionThe first murder is carried out in the darkness ensuing from Belle s failure to put money in the electricity meter Why and by whom was artist Tommy Dacre murdered so opportunistically A fantastic confession is made and its maker ruled out by Inspector Stanislaus Oates The police investigation peters out in the face of official discouragement but Campion persists and not long after this reader correctly identifies the murdererFrom then on around 40% into the story this is effectively an inverted mystery We now the murderer but not the why and the who else since Allingham clearly indicates there will be murder Campion and the police must try to assemble a case whose proofs will stand up in courtThe case ends with a thrilling nightmare journey at the conclusion of which a resolution is reachedThe Allingham magic here is in creating yet again a small rather strange community peopled by some rather oddly believable charactersWe may not like many of them and feel little sympathy for or empathy with them but they all come alive from the ludicrous Donna Beatrice to the pathetic Potters from the fantastically mephistophelian and vainglorious Max to practical LindaThis is the Allingham which will most divide readers opinionsThe first time I read it I found it unappealing and unsatisfactory This time I loved it The characters are colourful in every senseThe artistic background is meticulous is Pip Youngman Carter s hand to be seen here The plot is ingenious and the structure appropriately Gothic Only the fate of the murderer disappoints but the final chapter rounds off nicely what is to me one of the best of the earlier CampionsThank you to the Allingham estate for the review copy In order to spite his arch rival Tanueray the painter John Lafcadio left a collection of paintings with his agent Salmon Co with the strict instructions to hold onto them for a decade and then release them one by one at annual special showings he reckoned that his death would increase demand for his work and that the strategy would give Tanueray an annual posthumous reminder that Lafcadio was the artist the public and the connoisseurs preferredIn fact Tanueray died before that initial decade was up but Lafcadio s widow Belle and the inheritor of the Salmon agency Max Fustian continue the tradition of the annual viewing of a newly revealed Lafcadio work As a much younger friend of Belle s Albert Campion is present at the latest showing During the traditional drinking of the sour wine the eating of the curling cruditees and the chattering to people you d normally avoid and anyway can t hear properly because of the yammer the lights go out When they re restored there lies on the floor stabbed through the heart with a pair of ornamental scissors Dacre a protege of Lafcadio s and assumed fiance of Lafcadio s granddaughter LindaThe cops descend in the shape of Campion s old buddy Inspector Stanislaus Oates of the Yard this novel predated the bursting onto the scene of Charlie Luke as Allingham s preferred cop Between them Oates and Campion get absolutely nowhereBut then there s a second death in the sprawling Lafcadio household Claire the managerial wife of one of Lafcadio s old hangers on is found dead of what could have been a heart attack but proves on autopsy to have been poisoning by nicotinic acid and this time Campion The Queens Fool / The Virgins Lover knows with a certainty that outstrips any evidence he might possess who the culprit is and thus probably the perpetrator of the firstilling too Oates agrees with Campion s hypothesis but the murder of Claire has been so carefully orchestrated that there s no way either man can bring A VINTAGE MURDER MYSTERYJohn Lafcadio’s ambition to be nown as the greatest painter since Rembrandt was not to be thwarted by a matter as trifling as his own death A set of.

BOOK KINDLE Death of a Ghost by Margery Allingham –

He iller to justice using conventional means Campion even considers especially when he realizes the danger that Belle and Linda might be in simply taking justice into his own hands whatever the price he might have to pay Being a civilized human being however he instead maneuvers himself into position as the person the murderer might be best advised next to The Prince in the Royal Suite (Chatsfield Novella, kill in the attempt to cover up the dirty little secret that lies at the core of the plot This is a terrific thriller Allingham wrote some splendid mysteries but I ve come to the conclusion that her thrillers like this novel Traitor s Purse and of course The Tiger in the Smoke show her at her best I think she probably achieved this through her deft ability to portray character I last read Death of a Ghost perhaps forty years ago so obviously remembered very little of the plot but I did recall the characters notably Belle Max Fustian and Linda who I thought and still think is red hot an aesthetic conclusion with which Campion evidently agreesThere are also to be honest some fairly easy almost cheap bits of characterization going on household hanger on Donna Beatrice an old model of Lafcadio s pretentiously full Blavatsky style of the need to understand the Higher Consciousness and open one s aura to the mystic ways of the universe Donna Beatrice s greeting was sensational and Campion remembered with sudden satisfaction that her real name was Harriet Pickering Rosa Rosa the empty headed yet ravishingly lovely model who readily delivers herself of obscenities and the most remarkable gestures whom Dacre met in Rome and whom he married in order to be able to bring home to the UK with him despite his supposed engagement to LindaDacre by the way suggested that he Linda and Rosa Rosa should get a house together and live there in a menage a trois Linda tells Campion she rejected this not on any moral grounds or even theoretical disinclination but simply because the work Dacre had now started to produce was chocolate box than art no way would she live with an artist who d prostituted himself like this Allingham s social attitudes were way ahead of their era She could also be adolescently smutty at times A ramshackle cottage in the middle of nowhere where Dacre did some of his painting is evocatively called SpendpennyAs for Campion himself we re still in vol 6 of the series stuck with the common Golden Age trope of him being a member of the aristocracy in his case pseudonymous toeep his true identity secret who s philanthropically working beneath himself by solving crimes and acting as a sort of universal uncle to those in distress He retains some of the deceptive vacuity that was Wimsey s stock in trade but for the most part that s toned down a bit and overall he s become a plausible human being Even in the early novels Campion was a far real and likeable person than caricatures like Wimsey by now he s become perhaps because of the fallibility he displays here a well rounded characterWith the villain being revealed early on the drive of the novel comes from the attempt by Oates and Campion especially the latter to tease out the motivation Allingham handles this very adroitly The book s title is a bit of a giveaway for part of it but I thi Allingham veers here into character study telling us who the murderer is halfway through the novel and then setting Campion to trying to find a way to stop a clever iller who is smart enough to get away with itThe story itself represents a shift in Campion s character from deceptively fatuous young adventurer with a strong sense of fun to self styled universal uncle a transition he began in the previous volume where Campion is noted to be in his early thirtiesUnfortunately in this book Campion s interpretation of uncle involves a lot of gaslighting of Linda instead of treating her with any real regard for her opinion There s one particular scene where Campion is dismissing almost everything Linda is saying and doesn t come around until she s backed up by a man Not a goo Famous artist John Lafcadio might have been dead for thirteen years but that doesn t stop him from being able to cause a good stir Before his death he completed 12 paintings and left instructions that they were to be revealed starting five years after his death one a year until all the sealed crates had been opened and his masterpieces were available to the world Albert Campion comes to visit Lafcadio s widow Belle just before the eighth painting has been shown and being a friend is invited to the unveiling All appears to go well and the painting Joan of Arc is revealed as planned turned into a spectacle and overseen as usual by Lafcadio s agent Max Faustian Things go awry when the lights go out Once the power is restored Tommy Dacre Lafcardio s grand daughter s fiance is found stabbed to death with a pair of. Twelve sealed paintings is the beuest he leaves to his widow – together with the instruction that she unveil one canvas each year before a carefully selected audienceAlbert.

Ornate scissors Campion soon finds himself investigating not only Dacre s murder but a series of other odd events another death and ultimately finds himself almost losing his life when he underestimates the murderer This book is not so much a whodunnit as a prove hedunnit Campion figures out the identity of the murderer early and there are plenty enough clues for the reader to do the same The iller is clever slick supremely self confident and just a little bit insane Campion s attempts to first unmask then stop the Undercover at City Hospital killer are stymied every step of the way and for a while there it looks like he might be the final victim It is luck and back up from his friends that saves him this time not his own intellect This is a very different book that I liked and was unsure about both at the same time It is a departure for the usual crime solving adventure and I m of two minds about whether or not it works Certainly some early strange events such as the disappearance of all Dacre s works finally make sense when theiller s motives are revealed and it is all very clever But the pacing felt ind of wrong to be although I think that was mostly because Allingham had things happen in a different order than usual Here the basic story line went murder suspicion discovery of murderer discover of murderer s motives plan to stop murderer failure of said plan resolution by Hand of God Campion didn t really take over this story he just struggled to eep up with other characters and I think that was probably the source of my dissatisfaction That and the ultimate fate of the murderer which seemed like a cop out to me Not one of Allingham s best although we meet some lovely characters such as Belle and her grand daughter Linda and get a chance to see inside the artist s life of the time I still enjoyed the story but it won t be first on my list of Campion books to reread If you only want to read one pick a different one If you already now you like the series this is still a good solid addition it and I suggest you read it After all drunk Campion at the end of the book is a total delight I m told it is in the Peter Davison TV adaptions as well although I haven t seen themCopied across from Library Thing 25 September 2012 I have been slowly reading my way through the Albert Campion books with somewhat mixed feelings Although I am a lover of Golden Age mysteries I have struggled with this series so far However I was pleased to find that this the sixth book featuring Campion first published in 1934 is much of a typical crime story than some of the others I have read so far which seem to rely on the supernatural or criminal fraternitiesCampion is at the house of Belle Lafcadio widow of the famous artist John Lafcadio Lafcadio had left several sealed paintings to be revealed annually for some years after his death At this annual event there is a murder and of course Campion becomes involved in the investigation When there is another death he realises who the murderer is the problem is that h This is one of those not actually mysterious mysteries where the identity of the culprit is clear uite early on to the detective as well as the reader and the remainder of the story is the protagonist attempting to collect proof Sometimes this works fine especially if it is handled in a suspenseful way In this case even the police are convinced but seem unable to think of any course of action Campion is particularly ineffectual in this installment perhaps a reaction on the author s part to swinging too far in the action hero direction in the previous book I wasn t convinced that the iller was really that diabolically clever and found the resolution disappointing and weakHowever I did like the opening set up with the artists and critics at the mildly Bohemian house party and the descriptions of the art The supporting characters were a bit over the top but at least interesting Detective fiction isn t a genre that I ever usually reach for this was a text for uni and I doubt I ll be reading much of it in the future The story was interesting enough but I just didn t find it all that memorable I often think that Johnnie s work was unspoiled by the conventions of the period largely because he had an unwarrantable dislike of children Margery Allingham Death of A GhostMargery Allingham s Death of A Ghost was published in 1934 It is the sixth mystery featuring Albert Campion a seemingly unremarkable man in horn rimmed glasses But his nondescript appearance is a calculated disguise for Campion is in fact a brilliant sleuth with a mysterious past He is among those invited to attend an exclusive event in the London art world namely the unveiling of a canvas of a famous though long dead English painter to be staged in the late artist s studio But the unveiling does not go as planned When the studio lights ar. Campion is among the cast of gadabouts muses and socialites gathered for the latest ceremony – but art is the last thing on the sleuth’s mind when a brutal stabbing occur.

Maxwell MarchMargery Louise Allingham was born in Ealing London in 1904 to a family of writers Her father Herbert John Allingham was editor of The Christian Globe and The New London Journal while her mother wrote stories for women's magazines as

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