Monday, February 6, 2012

The Beckoning Lady by Margery Allingham

The Beckoning Lady is the 15th Albert Campion mystery but the first I've read. While Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh still grace our library shelves I'm finding it hard to find authors like Margery Allingham and Dorothy Sayers even in the secondhand shops.

Campion and his family are staying in the small village of Pontisbright. On the nearby estate called The Beckoning Lady their friends, Minnie and Tonker Cassands, are going ahead with the preparations for their annual Midsummer Eve party despite the very recent death of Uncle William. Then a body is discovered at the bottom of a ditch with a large hole in his head.....

Small children glimpsed wafting through the shrubbery with magnums of champagne, bouquets containing messages in Victorian flower language and bodies floating Ophelia-like down river among the irises. Margery Allingham gives a nod to The Bard with her delightful take on Midsummer's Eve. With a huge cast of larger than life characters to provide entertainment in a number of secondary themes there is never a dull moment and if the murder investigations and Albert Campion's sleuthing get a bit lost in the mayhem that's not a problem.

Sit back and enjoy the party! Great fun!

Vintage Mystery Challenge - Golden Girls - The Beckoning Lady was first published in 1955.


  1. Oh, how sad! No Sayers and Allingham, even in secondhand shops! I'm glad you were able to read this one. I like Campion very much--in small doses. I don't think I'd want to read several in a row.

    1. I'm sure there are some around - I found this one and no doubt will come across more if I keep looking.

  2. So glad you're enjoying 'The Beckoning Lady' - a very personal book for Allingham but one which divides her admirers. When my biography 'The Adventures of Margery Allingham' was re-published in 2009 ALL the Campions were in print in England from Vintage and MOST were in print in the US from Felony and Mayhem. My own company, Golden Duck, brought out a new edition of 'The Oaken Heart', Allingham's only non-fiction work, in March 2011. Best of luck with your search - Julia Jones

  3. Thanks Julia - I know the books are available to buy new but books are pricey here so I prefer the library or secondhand. I shall keep an eye out for your biography too.

  4. I haven't read anything by Allingham, but as a Marsh and Christie, I'll have to add her to my list.