Saturday, April 14, 2012

Games in the Dark: The Crime at Black Dudley

Abbershaw was suddenly seized with a violent objection to the whole scheme. The story of the dagger ritual had impressed him strangely. He had seen the eyes of Gideon fixed upon the speaker with curious intensity, and had noticed the little huddled old man with the plate over his face harking to the barbarous story with avid enjoyment. Whether it was the dank gloomy house or the disturbing effects of love upon his nervous system he did not know, but the idea of groping round in the dark with the malignant-looking dagger filled him with a distaste more vigorous than anything he had ever felt before.

I have an on-off relationship with Margery Allingham. There are some books of her that I rate very high, notably Tiger in the Smoke, but there have been others, like Police at the Funeral, that have left me disappointed. Since the latter was the last book that I read of hers, it was with trepidation that I borrowed The Crime at Black Dudley from the library. The only reason that made me pick it up was the fact that it is Albert Campion's first book. And this is how he is introduced:

'That,' she said suddenly, following the direction of his gaze and answering his unspoken thought, 'that's a lunatic.'

George turned to her gravely.

'Really?' he said.

She had the grace to become a little confused.

'His name is Albert Campion,' she said. ' He came down in Anne Edgeware's car, and the first thing he did when he was introduced to me was to show me a conjuring trick with a two-headed penny - he's quite inoffensive, just a silly ass.'

Abbershaw nodded and stared covertly at the fresh-faced young man with the tow-coloured hair and the foolish, pale blue eyes behind the tortoiseshell-rimmed spectacles, and wondered where he had seen him before.

Interesting introduction to the hero of your series who might be the son of King Edward, but if on page after page, you continue to describe a person as foolish, idiotic, with a vacant (at times owlish) stare than it induces nothing but irritation.

Well, anyway the story is of nine young people trapped in a house where a game involving daggers turns deadly when a person is murdered by the very same dagger. The villain of the piece is the imposingly built and even more imposingly named Eberhard von Faber intriguingly described as the living image of the little busts of Beethoven. Poor Beethoven.

An easy read with some likable people with youthful spirits but not much else. I don't think I'll be picking up an Allingham anytime soon.


First Line: The view from the narrow window was dreary and inexpressibly lonely.

Title: The Crime at Black Dudley

Other Title(s): The Black Dudley Murder

Author: Margery Allingham

Publication Details: Middlesex: Penguin, 1971.

First Published: 1929

Pages: 208


The book might be available in libraries or on the net. I borrowed it from a library too.

Submitted for the Color-Coded Challenge.

Also for the following challenges: Borrowed Book, British Books, Criminal Plots II [Book published at least 10 years ago], Find the Cover, Merely Mystery [ Cozy], Mystery and Suspense, Support Your Local Library, Vintage Mystery


  1. "A huddled old man with a plate over his face" did get my attention. Over from A to Z saying a hello! Pop on by if you like (Catherine Stine's Idea City)

  2. Yes, that masked figure has quite a presence. Thanks for visiting.

  3. Found you via A to Z. I love to hit upon places where I can find new reads!

    1. Thanks for visiting the blog. Hope you like the reviews.