Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Short Story Wednesday: The Allingham Casebook

I saw The Allingham Casebook offered as an ebook, and decided to read the sample to see if I was interested. The sample consisted of one and a half stories, so once I got halfway through the second story I decided I had to purchase the book (it was a reasonable price) to finish the story. 

So here are my thoughts on the first three stories in the book.

"Tall Story"

This was a brief story, seven or eight pages. It stars Charlie Luke, Divisional Detective Chief Inspector of the London Metropolitan Police. He tells the story of how he joined the CID years before. Albert Campion was involved but only as part of the audience. 

"Three is a Lucky Number"

This is the story of a man planning the murder of his third wife. This one was very clever, and amusing, and I loved the ending.

"The Villa Marie Celeste"

Both Charlie Luke and Albert Campion feature in this story. It was my favorite of the three. 

Luke brings in Albert Campion when he cannot solve the mystery of a missing couple. The couple has been missing for days and the police are no closer to a solution than when they were first notified. Apparently the couple just walked out of the house with breakfast and warm tea on the table. The newspapers had been comparing the incident to the mystery of the Marie Celeste, a ship found deserted at sea. 

I hope I like the rest of the stories as well as these, they certainly were quick and entertaining reads.

A list of stories in the book follows. I think some of them have also been published under other names.


1. Tall Story

2. Three is a Lucky Number

3. The Villa Marie Celeste

4. The Psychologist

5. Little Miss Know-All

6. One Morning They'll Hang Him

7. The Lieabout

8. Face Value

9. Evidence in Camera

10. Joke Over

11. The Lying-in-State

12. The Pro and the Con

13. Is There a Doctor in the House?

14. The Border-Line Case

15. They Never Get Caught

16. The Mind's Eye Mystery

17. Mum Knows Best

18. The Snapdragon and the CID


Margot Kinberg said...

I've read some of Allingham's work, Tracy, but not her short stories. It's an interesting side of her writing that I probably ought to know better. I'm glad you found those stories interesting.

TracyK said...

Margot, I have only read a few of Allingham's short stories, here and there. Several were in various Christmas anthologies I read. Many reviewers say they like her novels but not her short stories so much. I enjoyed these stories.

Cath said...

I think I must've read some short stories by her as I've read so many vintage crime anthologies. I've just checked and yes I've read The Unseen Door an Albert Campion story and A Proper Mystery - this was my favourite story in the BLCC's collection Serpents in Eden and was about village rivalry as regards veg growing in village shows. Worth searching out if you can find it as it's very funny.

TracyK said...

Cath, I will aim at getting a copy of the short story collection Serpents in Eden. I want to have all of them eventually but it will take time. I rarely find the short story collections by the British Library at the book sale, probably get bought immediately. But I could check for used online editions.

I thought there would be a larger collection of all her stories, but I have not found one. Maybe she did not write that many.

Todd Mason said...

I, too, have run across an Allingham story or two in an anthology or so...and didn't remember till you reminded me that she is the creator of Campion.

Anothe to add to the list of those I should look into more!

George said...

Like you, I've read someA of Allingham's short stories mostly in Christmas anthologies. I have a couple of her novels on my shelves so I should read them soon.

TracyK said...

Todd, I am very fond of Allingham's Albert Campion series. I think I have read all of them. I have reread eight or nine of them since I started blogging, and want to reread all the later novels too.

TracyK said...

George, you have reminded me that I have an ebook of four Christmas stories and all of those are Campion stories. I will have to remember to read it during the Christmas season this year.

Kathy's Corner said...

Hi Tracy, I really need to read Margery Allingham and Patricia Wentworth and possibly Catherine Aird. Marjorie Allingham as I understand is one of the greats in the early twentieth century mystery nove genre. But I wonder if Agatha Christie's star was so bright during that era that many of the very fine mystery novelists who wrote alongside Christie have been forgotten or as with Allingham not read as often as they should be.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I was a fan of the Campion series a long time ago but I wonder if it would seem dated now. Some of these series set among the upper classes with their incessant slang can drive me away.
Have never read her shorts.

TracyK said...

Kathy, I would encourage you to read Margery Allingham for sure and Catherine Aird. They are two of my favorite mystery authors. With Margery Allingham it would be hard to recommend where to start. It has been a long time since I read the first books in the series. When I started rereading I think I started with Death of a Ghost and read the next 8 books through The Tiger in the Smoke (her best-known book, but not typical). I have only read the first 8 books by Aird and am reading those in order.

I also like Patricia Wentworth's books a lot and you can read those in any order. That is an interesting idea about Agatha Christie and why other writers of that time are not as well known. She certainly wrote more books over a longer period of time than Allingham for instance, and maybe her protagonists were better liked. I like Christie and Allingham equally well and their writing is quite different.

TracyK said...

Patti, I think the Campion series would seem dated now but that doesn't bother me, I read them partially to read about another time. There are times in the Allingham books when I have cringed at some treatment of women or sexist comments (and possibly ethnic slurs, I don't remember) but only in a few of the books. As with Christie, some books are better than others.

Sam said...

This one sounds good, but actually I'm most impressed by the marketing/sales scheme involved. Cutting you off right in the middle of such an impressively curious plot is just brilliant. Bravo to you, BUT also bravo to Amazon. (I sample stuff all the time, and have bought more times than I care to admit.) :-)

TracyK said...

Sam, I have seen them both ways, some with 2 or 3 completed stories and some with a story broken in half. The first story was only so-so comparatively so I was lucky the next one was good enough to entice me. (At a decent price.) Apparently you can read a lot of free stories if you sample enough books, but I don't try out that many books.

I do buy way too many kindle ebooks though, since I don't read that many.