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.


(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


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).

Margery Allingham

thThis post was intended as a private note. However, I’m posting it as it could be of some interest to regular or occasional readers of this blog.

The following article The Great Detectives: Albert Campion by Mike Ripley at The Strand Magazine, aroused my interest in reading the Albert Campion book series by Margery Allingham.

About the Author: Margery Allingham, in full Margery Louise Allingham, (born May 20, 1904, London, England—died June 30, 1966, Colchester, Essex), British detective-story writer of unusual subtlety, wit, and imaginative power who created the bland, bespectacled, keen-witted Albert Campion, one of the most interesting of fictional detectives.  Campion’s career was begun with a group of ingenious popular thrillers: The Crime at Black Dudley (1928; U.S. title, The Black Dudley Murder), Mystery Mile (1929), Police at the Funeral (1931), and Sweet Danger (1933). A series of more tightly constructed intellectual problem stories, beginning with Death of a Ghost (1934) and including Flowers for the Judge (1936), The Fashion in Shrouds (1938), and Traitor’s Purse (1941), gained Allingham critical esteem; and with Coroner’s Pidgin (1945; U.S. title, Pearls Before Swine), More Work for the Undertaker (1949), Tiger in the Smoke (1952)—a novel that revealed her psychological insight and her power to create an atmosphere of pervasive, mindless evil—and The China Governess (1963), she made a valuable contribution to the development of the detective story as a serious literary genre. Campion’s career was continued in Cargo of Eagles (1968), left unfinished when Allingham died and completed by her husband, Philip Youngman Carter. (Source: Britannica)

Publication Order of Albert Campion Books

  1. The Crime at Black Dudley (1929: US title The Black Dudley Murder)
  2. Mystery Mile (1930)
  3. Look to the Lady (1931: US title The Gyrth Chalice Mystery)
  4. Police at the Funeral (1931)
  5. Sweet Danger (1933: US title Kingdom of Death/The Fear Sign)
  6. Death of a Ghost (1934)
  7. Flowers for the Judge (1936: US title Legacy in Blood)
  8. The Case of the Late Pig (1937)
  9. Dancers in Mourning (1937: US title Who Killed Chloe?)
  10. The Fashion in Shrouds (1938)
  11. Traitor’s Purse (1941: US title The Sabotage Murder Mystery)
  12. Coroner’s Pidgin (1945: US title Pearls Before Swine)
  13. More Work for the Undertaker (1948)
  14. The Tiger in the Smoke (1952)
  15. The Beckoning Lady (1955)
  16. Hide My Eyes (1958)
  17. The China Governess (1962)
  18. The Mind Readers (1965)
  19. A Cargo of Eagles (1968)
  20. Mr. Campion’s Farthing (1969)
  21. Mr. Campion’s Quarry (1971)

In bold, the novels I’m planning to read soon to familiarise myself with an author I’m not very well aware of. Any further suggestion is highly appreciated

Read more: The Margery Allingham Society and A Writer to Remember: Margery Allingham by H.R.F. Keating

Review: The Beckoning Lady by Margery Allingham

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My contribution to the #1955book challenge at Past Offences blog.

Vintage 2007. Format: Paperback. First published in Great Britain in 1955 by Chatoo & Windus. ISBN: 9780099506089. 246 pages. Aka The Estate of the Beckoning Lady

First published in 1955 The Beckoning Lady (known in the US as The State of the Beckoning Lady) is the fifteenth book in Margery Allingham’s Albert Campion Mystery series, following The Tiger in the Smoke (1952).

The plot, as we read at The Margery Allingham Society page, is as follows: Old William Faraday is dead, apparently of natural causes. Another man is dead too, and it was certainly murder. Mr Campion and his family are back in Pontisbright, along with Magersfontein Lugg and DCI Charles Luke. Danger is hardly unknown in this idyllic Suffolk village, but it is a less romantic peril than on Mr Campion’s first visit, more than twenty years ago. Mr Campion’s friends Minnie and Tonker Cassands put on a cheerful face as they prepare for their annual party at Minnie’s house, The Beckoning Lady, but Minnie has serious problems with the Inland Revenue – and the dead man in the ditch is a tax inspector. Mr Campion has a formidable adversary in Superintendent Fred South of the Suffolk Police, whom we encountered in ‘Safer than Love’. And to cap it all, Charlie Luke falls like a ton of bricks for the most unsuitable girl imaginable…

I’ve found the story of this ‘cosy mystery’, highly enjoyable and entertaining. The action takes place in an idyllic village and I believe that it reflects very well some aspects of the life in the fifties. The characters are pretty eccentric but quite funny. All in all, it is worth reading. And, no doubt, it will delight all genre aficionados, and in particular to Agatha Christie’s faithful followers. It wasn’t very wise from my side to begin this series with this book and I must admit I had to make an effort with the first pages, but its was worthwhile. And I look forward to reading more of her books in chronological order. The Beckoning Lady was Allingham’s personal favorite among her novels. According to the Margery Allingham Society: “there are strong autobiographical elements in the narrative: Minnie Cassands is something of a self-portrait, and her husband Tonker is derived from Youngman Carter [Allingham’s husband]. The celebration at the Beckoning Lady ‘mirrors something of what a summer party could be like at Tolleshunt D’Arcy [Allingham’s home],’ and the absurd routines imposed on Minnie by her income tax adviser clearly had their origin in a real-life frustration.”

My rating: A (I loved it)

Margery Allingham was born in London in 1904. She sold her first story at age 8 and published her first novel before turning 20. She married the artist, journalist and editor Philip Youngman Carter in 1927. In 1928 Allingham published her first detective story, The White Cottage Mystery, and the following year, in The Crime at Black Dudley, she introduced the detective who was to become the hallmark of her sophisticated crime novels and murder mysteries – Albert Campion. Famous for her London thrillers, such as Hide My Eyes and The Tiger in the Smoke, Margery Allingham has been compared to Dickens in her evocation of the city’s shady underworld. Acclaimed by crime novelists such as P.D. James, Allingham is counted alongside Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie and Gladys Mitchell as a pre-eminent Golden Age crime writer. Margery Allingham died in 1966.

Vintage Books

Further readings:

Margery Allingham by B. A. Pike at The Margery Allingham Society 

Albert Campion page at Wikipedia

The Great Detectives: Albert Campion by Mike Ripley

Margery Allingham A Brief Biography at Classic Crime Fiction

The Beckoning Lady / The Estate of the Beckoning Lady, 1955 por Margery Allingham

Publicado inicialmente en 1955 The Beckoning Lady (conocido en los EE.UU. como The Estate of the Beckoning Lady) es el décimoquinto libro de Margery Allingham en la serie de Misterio Albert Campion, a continuación de El Tigre en la niebla (1952).

El argumento, según leemos en la página The Margery Allingham Society, es el siguiente: El anciano William Faraday ha muerto, aparentemente por causas naturales. Otro hombre ha muerto también, y fue sin duda asesinado. El señor Campion y su familia están de regreso en Pontisbright, junto con Magersfontein Lugg y DCI Charles Luke. El peligro es casi desconocido en este idílico pueblo de Suffolk, pero es un peligro menos romántico que en la primera visita del señor Campion, hace más de veinte años. Los amigos del señor Campion, Minnie y Tonker Cassands simulan estar de buen humor mientras se preparan para celebrar su fiesta anual en casa de Minnie, The Beckoning Lady, pero Minnie tiene serios problemas con Hacienda – y el hombre muerto en la cuneta es inspector de impuestos. El señor Campion encuentra a un formidable adversario en el superintendente Fred South de la Policía de Suffolk, a quien ya conocemso de ‘Safer than Love’. Y para colmo, Charlie Luke se enamora perdidamente de la chica mas inadecuada que nos podemos imaginar … (Mi traducción libre)

He encontrado la historia de este “cosy mystery” muy amena y entretenida. La acción se desarrolla en un paraje idílico y creo que refleja muy bien algunos aspectos de la vida en los años cincuenta. Los personajes son bastante excéntricos, pero resultan muy divertidos. Con todo, vale la pena su lectura. Y, sin duda, hará las delicias de todos los aficionados al género, y en particular de los fieles seguidores de Agatha Christie. No fue muy inteligente por mi parte empezar esta serie con este libro y tengo que admitir que tuve que hacer un esfuerzo con las primeras páginas, pero ha merecido la pena. Y espero con interés leer varios de sus libros por orden cronológico. The Beckoning Lady era la novela favorita de Margery Allingham, entre todas las suyas. De acuerdo con la Margery Allingham Society: “La historia contiene fuertes elementos autobiográficos: Minnie Cassands es en parte un autorretrato, y su marido, Tonker, está tomado de Youngman Carter [el marido de Allingham]. La fiesta en The Beckoning Lady reproduce en algo lo que podria ser una celebración veraniega en Tolleshunt D’Arcy [la casa de Allingham]’, y las rutinas absurdas impuestas a Minnie por su asesor fiscal claramente tendrían su origen en una frustración real”.

Mi valoración: A (Me encantó)

Margery Allingham nació en Londres en 1904. Vendió su primer relato a los 8 años y publicó su primera novela antes de cumplir los 20. Se casó con el artista, periodista y editor Philip Youngman Carter en 1927. En 1928 Allingham publicó su primer relato policial, The White Cottage Mystery, y al año siguiente, en The Crime at Black Dudley, introduce al detective que se convertiría en el sello distintivo de sus sofisticadas novelas de crímen y misterio – Albert Campion. Famosa por sus novelas de suspense ambientadas en Londres, tales como Hide My Eyes y El tigre en la niebla, Margery Allingham ha sido comparada con Dickens por su evocación de los turbios bajos fondos de la ciudad. Aclamada por novelistas de novela negra de la talla de P. D. James, Allingham junto con Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie y Gladys Mitchell forma parte del grupo de novelistas más importantes de la Edad de Oro en la literatura de detectives. Margery Allingham falleción en el 1966.

RBA Serie Negra 

Albert Campion – Margery Allingham en Mis detectives favorit@s