Saturday, August 16, 2014
Mr. Campion's Farewell by Mike Ripley
Margery Allingham (1904-1966) was a British author of detective fiction during what is referred to as the "Golden Age" of British detective fiction during the 1920s and 1930s. Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh and Allingham were called the "Queens of Crime" of that period.
Allingham is best known for her series of detective adventures featuring Albert Campion, a character who allegedly began as a parody of Sayers' (now) more famous Lord Peter Wimsey, but who took on a life of his own. The Campion adventures are humorous puzzles rather than hard boiled crime fiction, filled with persiflage and eccentric characters and the kind of sex and class stereotypes that have worn a little thin by today's standards.
When Allingham died in 1966 she left an unfinished manuscript that was subsequently completed and published by her husband and silent collaborator Philip (Pip) Youngman Carter. Youngman Carter then published two additional Campion novels of his own. When he died in 1969 he left a very preliminary sketch for a third novel. This fragment eventually was bequeathed to the Margery Allingham Society. In 2012 the Society gave permission to Mike Ripley to finish the manuscript and provide an "affectionate conclusion" to Mr. Campion's adventures. However the publisher has now commissioned a second Campion mystery from Mr. Ripley, so Albert Campion's swan song is yet to come.
In fairness I have to say that for me Allingham has not withstood the test of time as well as Christie, Sayers and Marsh, and the fizz has definitely gone flat with secondhand Campion, and now thirdhand Campion. But it would appear that this is not the case for the true Allingham fanbase, so I have cited below two very positive reviews of Mr. Campion's Farewell plus a recap of the entire series and the evolution of Albert Campion.
Click HERE for a review from classicmysteries.net and HERE for a review from shinynewbooks.
Click HERE for the Wikipedia entry for "Albert Campion."