Friday, September 2, 2011

House of Horrors: Police at the Funeral

Mr. Campion began to understand Marcus' remark of the previous evening: "If I lived in that house I might easily feel like murder myself." That atmosphere of restraint which is so racking in adolescence was here applied to age, and Campion experienced a fear of stumbling upon some weak spot where beneath the rigid bone of repression, human nature had begun to ferment, to decay, to become vile. There was no telling what manner of secret lay hidden in that great house rising up over his head, yet he was acutely conscious of its existence.

This seems to be the season of formidable ladies who rule over their house with an iron-cast grip. Murder of a Martinet had one, in this book there is another: Caroline Faraday who rules over her house and an assortment of children: William, Julia, Kitty, Andrew. So far so good. Only these children happen to be middle-aged men and women who really should know better than to bicker and fight and be petty and mean. Anyway, one day Andrew goes missing. The disappearance of such an unpleasant man should not distress anybody but it does. So enter Mr.Campion who in his individualistic style unearths the dark, sordid secret of the house.

To me this was the least enjoyable of all the Allinghams read so far. I really can't empathise with grown-ups acting like a bunch of kids. So the characters put me off. And the skeleton that tumbles out of the genteel English mansion simply made me grind my teeth. The book has its moments but the tame ending makes it one of the flattest mysteries ever read.


First Line: When one man is following another, however discreet may be the pursuer or the pursued, the act does not often pass unnoticed in the streets of London.

Author: Margery Allingham

Publication Details: Middlesex: Penguin, 1971

First Published: 1931

Pages: 252

Series: Albert Campion


The book might be available in libraries or second-hand books shops. I borrowed it from Hardayal Library at Fountain. 


Submitted for the following challenges:

Vintage Mystery

Mystery and Suspense


Borrowed Book


  1. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one. I read it at the end of last year and really like it.

    Have updated your listing on the progress site!

  2. Somehow this just didn't work for me which is a pity since I have more or less liked her books esp Tiger in the Smoke.

  3. I've never gotten into the Allingham books, Neer. There's just something about them that doesn't work for me. Never liked the TV interpretation either.

    But I have tried. :)

  4. Yvette, I have enjoyed some of her books but not to a great degree. If you are willing, give Tiger in the Smoke a try. It is the book I like the most.