My Book Notes: The Case of the Late Pig, 1937 (Albert Campion Mysteries #8) by Margery Allingham

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Vintage Digital, 2013. Book Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 1425 KB. Print Length: 128 pages. ASIN: B00B4D73KC. ISBN: 9781448138111. Originally published as the anchoring novella of Mr Campion: Criminologist, this novel has been published subsequently as an individual title, although the former collection continued to be published in paperbound editions well into the 1960s.

51WEKpbNcdLBook Description: ‘Pig’ Peters was the bully who had made Albert Campion’s life a misery at prep school. And Peters is definitely dead according to the obituary in the paper so Campion attends his funeral. So how could he have died again, six months later? The investigation takes Campion back to rural Suffolk, but this is a very different affair from the early picaresque adventures like Mystery Mile and Sweet Danger. It seems that ‘Pig’ Peters has died twice… Soon after this, other corpses start to turn up just as Peter’s body goes missing.  The Case of the Late Pig is a black comedy, and the author’s unerring light touch – the story is, uniquely, told by Campion himself – neatly contrasts the drama and the humour. The book packs in plenty of incident with Campion not only trying to solve all the murders but also having to battle his own problems on the romantic front. (Source: Margery Allingham website)

My Take: The Case of the Late Pig is the 8th or 9th book in Albert Campion Mysteries Series by Margery Allingham, depending of how you count them. In essence it is a novella, 128 pages in my edition, and, if my information is correct, it was first published in Mr Campion: Criminologist before being published as an individual title in 1937. The story is also unusual as the only one in the canon told in the first person by Albert Campion himself.

The story opens when, almost simultaneously, Lugg was reading him The Times obituary and Campion had his attention place on an anonymous letter that said: ‘Peters’ – R.I. Peters, aged 37, on Thursday the 9th, at Tethering, after a short illness. Funeral, Tethering Church, 2.30 Saturday. No flowers. Friends will accept this as the only intimation.’ The name caught Campion’s attention. Pig Peters and he had gone to school together, Peters was the class bully and Campion had promised him he’d go to his funeral, though he’d never seen him again. However what encouraged Campion to go to Pig’s funeral was the fact that Tethering was only a few miles away from Kepesake where Colonel Sir Leo Pursuivant, Chief Constable of the county, lived together with his daughter Janet, for whom Campion felt a major attraction. All this happened in January and matters would have remained like this, if Janet wouldn’t had ring him up in June to see him asap. Thus Campion finds out that Pig Peters, now known as Oswald Harris, has died six months after having been buried. And the circumstances that surrounds this his second death, are very suspicious in the eyes of the County Police.

I wouldn’t want to add anything more, not to spoil an excellent argument. Suffice is to say this is a pretty good story that I’d quite enjoyed reading and it is well told. There are few indications of whom and how could have committed the crime. I can assure you that, occasionally, you may find yourselves quite at lost regarding the course that the events will take. Do not despair, eventually everything will fit into place, but you will have to wait until the very last chapter to find out what had actually happened.

The Case of the Late Pig has been included in Martin Edwards’ The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books.

The Case of the Late Pig has been reviewed, among others, at At the Scene of the Crime, Tipping My Fedora, ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’, Goodreads John’s reviews, Cross-Examining Crime, Classic Mysteries, Northern Reader, Mystery File, and Fiction Fan’s Book Reviews.

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(Source: Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC. Doubleday The Crime Club (USA), 1937)

About the Author: Margery Louise Allingham was born in Ealing, London on 20th May, 1904 into a family who had been writers for several generations. Shortly after her birth her family moved to Layer Breton, near Colchester, and she was to spend the greater part of her life in this area of Essex. She was encouraged to write by her father and by the age of thirteen had a story published in her aunt’s magazine called Mother and Home.  She attended the Perse School, Cambridge, where she wrote and produced a costume play. Upon returning to London in 1920 she studied drama and speech training at Regent Street Polytechnic, which helped her manage a stammer which she had since childhood. At this time she first met her future husband, Philip Youngman Carter, whom she married in 1927. He collaborated with her and designed the jackets for many of her books. Her first novel, Blackkerchief Dick, was published in 1923, when she was 19. Her breakthrough occurred in 1929 with the publication of The Crime at Black Dudley. This introduced Albert Campion, initially as a minor character. Campion returned in Mystery Mile, thanks in part to pressure from her American publishers, who had been taken with the character. Campion proved so successful that Allingham made him the centrepiece of another 17 novels and more than 20 short stories, continuing into the 1960s. Allingham suffered from breast cancer and died at Severalls Hospital, Colchester, England, on 30 June 1966, aged 62. Her final Campion novel, Cargo of Eagles, was completed by her husband at her request, and was published in 1968.

Selected Bibliography: Police at the Funeral (Albert Campion Mysteries #4, 1931); Sweet Danger (Albert Campion Mysteries #5, 1933: US title Kingdom of Death / The Fear Sign); Death of a Ghost (Albert Campion Mysteries #6, 1934); Flowers for the Judge (Albert Campion Mysteries #7, 1936: US title Legacy in Blood); The Case of the Late Pig (Albert Campion Mysteries #8, 1937: originally appeared in Mr Campion: Criminologist; Dancers in Mourning (Albert Campion Mysteries #9, 1937: US title Who Killed Chloe?); The Fashion in Shrouds (Albert Campion Mysteries #10, 1938); Traitor’s Purse (Albert Campion Mysteries #11, 1941: US title The Sabotage Murder Mystery); More Work for the Undertaker (Albert Campion Mysteries #13, 1948); The Tiger in the Smoke (Albert Campion Mysteries #14, 1952); The Beckoning Lady (Albert Campion Mysteries #15, 1955: U.S. title: The Estate of the Beckoning Lady); and Hide My Eyes (Albert Campion Mysteries #16, 1958: US title Tether’s End / Ten Were Missing).

A complete list of Margery Allingham bibliography can be found at Golden Age of Detection Wiki.

Penguin UK books publicity page

The Margery Allingham Society

Margery Allingham

A Writer to Remember: Margery Allingham by H.R.F. Keating

The Great Detectives: Albert Campion by Mike Ripley

Margery Allingham at The Grandest Game in the World

Audible

El caso del difunto Pig, de Margery Allingham

Margery-allinghamel-caso-del-difunto-pigDescripción del libro: ‘Pig’ Peters era el matón que le había amargado la existencia a Albert Campion en el colegio. Y Peters está definitivamente muerto según el obituario del periódico, por lo que Campion asiste a su funeral. Entonces, ¿cómo pudo haber muerto de nuevo, seis meses después? La investigación lleva a Campion de regreso a la zona rural de Suffolk, pero este es un asunto muy diferente de las primeras aventuras picarescas como Mystery Mile y Sweet Danger. Parece que ‘Pig’ Peters ha muerto dos veces … Poco después de esto, otros cadáveres comienzan a aparecer justo cuando el cuerpo de Peter desaparece. The Case of the Late Pig es una comedia negra y el toque ligero infalible del autor (excepcionalmente la historia está narrada por el propio Campion) contrasta perfectamente drama y humor. El libro está lleno de muchos episodios con Campion no solo tratando de resolver todos los asesinatos, sino también teniendo que luchar contra sus propios problemas en el frente romántico.

Mi opinión: El caso del difunto Pig es el octavo o noveno libro de la serie de misterios protagonizados por Albert Campion de Margery Allingham, dependiendo de cómo los cuente. En esencia, es una novela corta, 128 páginas en mi edición y, si mi información es correcta, se publicó por primera vez en Mr Campion: Criminologist antes de publicarse como título individual en 1937. La historia también es inusual ya que es la única en el canon narrada en primera persona por el propio Albert Campion.

La historia comienza cuando, casi simultáneamente, Lugg le estaba leyendo el obituario del Times y Campion tenía su atención puesta en una carta anónima que decía: “’Peters’ – RI Peters, de 37 años, el jueves 9, en Tethering, tras una breve enfermedad. Funeral, Tethering Church, sábado a las 2.30. No enviar flores. Los amigos aceptarán esto como única invitación.” El nombre llamó la atención de Campion. Pig Peters y él habían ido a la escuela juntos, Peters era el matón de la clase y Campion le había prometido que iría a su funeral, aunque nunca lo había vuelto a ver. Sin embargo, lo que animó a Campion a ir al funeral de Pig fue el hecho de que Tethering estaba a solo unas millas de Kepesake, donde el coronel Sir Leo Pursuivant, jefe de policía del condado, vivía junto con su hija Janet, por quien Campion sentía una gran atracción. Todo esto sucedió en enero y las cosas habrían permanecido así, si Janet no lo hubiera telefoneado en junio para verlo lo antes posible. Así Campion descubre que Pig Peters, ahora conocido como Oswald Harris, ha muerto seis meses después de haber sido enterrado. Y las circunstancias que rodean a esta su segunda muerte, son muy sospechosas a ojos de la Policía del Condado.

No quisiera agregar nada más, para no estropear un excelente argumento. Basta decir que esta es una historia bastante buena que disfruté mucho leyendo y está bien contada. Hay pocos indicios de quién y cómo pudo haber cometido el crimen. Puedo asegurarles que, de vez en cuando, pueden encontrarse bastante perdidos con respecto al curso que tomarán los acontecimientos. No se desesperen, eventualmente todo encajará en su lugar, pero tendrán que esperar hasta el último capítulo para descubrir qué sucedió realmente.

El caso del difunto Pig ha sido incluido en The Story of Crime Classics in 100 Books, de Martin Edwards.

Acerca del autor: Margery Louise Allingham nació en Ealing, Londres, el 20 de mayo de 1904 en una familia de varias generaciones de escritores. Poco después de su nacimiento, su familia se mudó a Layer Breton, cerca de Colchester, y ella pasaría la mayor parte de su vida en esta zona de Essex. Su padre la animó a escribir y, a los trece años, publicó una historia en la revista de su tía titulada Mother and Home. Asistió a la Escuela Perse, Cambridge, donde escribió y produjo una obra de teatro. Al regresar a Londres en 1920, estudió arte dramático y dicción en Regent Street Polytechnic, lo que la ayudó a controlar un tartamudeo que tenía desde la infancia. En ese momento conoció a su futuro esposo, Philip Youngman Carter, con quien se casó en 1927. Él colaboró ​​con ella y diseñó las cubiertas de muchos de sus libros. Su primera novela, Blackkerchief Dick, se publicó en 1923, cuando tenía 19 años. Su primer éxito lo tuvo en 1929 con la publicación de The Crime at Black Dudley. En ella nos presenta a Albert Campion, inicialmente como un personaje secundario. Campion regresó en Mystery Mile, gracias en parte a la insistencia de sus editores estadounidenses, que se habían enamorado del personaje. Campion tuvo tanto éxito que Allingham lo convirtió en la pieza central de otras 17 novelas y más de 20 cuentos, hasta la década de 1960. Allingham sufrió de cáncer de mama y murió en el Hospital Severalls, Colchester, Inglaterra, el 30 de junio de 1966, a la edad de 62 años. Su última novela portagonizada por Campion, Cargo of Eagles, la terminó su marido a petición suya y se publicó en 1968.

Bibliografía seleccionada: Policía en el funeral (Police at the Funeral, 1931); El signo del miedo / Crimen en el gran mundo (Sweet Danger / The Fear Sign / Kingdom of Death, 1933); La muerte de un fantasma (Death of a Ghost, 1934); Flores para el juez (Flowers for the Judge, 1936); El caso del difunto Pig / El caso del cerdo difunto / El hombre que murió dos veces (The Case of the Late Pig, 1937); Duelo en el ballet (Dancers in Mourning / Who Killed Chloe?, 1937);  La moda en mortajas (The Fashion in Shrouds, 1938); Traitor’s Purse / The Sabotage Murder Mystery (1941); Más trabajo para el enterrador (More Work for the Undertaker, 1948); El tigre en la niebla / El tigre de Londres (The Tiger in the Smoke, 1952); The Beckoning Lady / The Estate of the Beckoning Lady, (1955) y Hide My Eyes / Tether’s End / Ten Were Missing (1958).