Look to the Lady by Margery Allingham

Look to the Lady by Margery Allingham Look To The Lady by Margery Allingham
Narrator: David Thorpe
Series: Albert Campion #3
Published by Audible Studios on February 18, 2013 (first published 1931)
Source: Purchased
Genres: Vintage Mystery
Length: 8 hrs 27 mins
Format: Audiobook
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three-half-stars

The Gyrth family had guarded the Chalice for hundreds of years. It was held by them for the Crown. Its antiquity, its beauty, the extraordinary legends that were connected with it, all combined to make it unique of its kind. It was irreplaceable. No thief could hope to dispose of it in the ordinary way. And indeed no ordinary thief would dream of trying. But there are others besides those who make their living by robbery, others whose immense wealth and passion for collecting render them less immune to the practical considerations that must guide even the less honestly minded citizens. These people cherish a desire to possess for their own private pleasure treasure that cannot be bought. And it was by this sort of person that the Chalice, and the lives and happiness of its guardians, were now threatened.

After listening to the first Albert Campion mystery I wasn’t sure how I felt about the series. Look to the Lady is definitely a funner book. Campion is our main character now, and while he’s still an odd duck, he clearly knows a lot about what is going on and has quite a few influential friends.

The chalice is a priceless, ancient relic and a rich collector wants it. This collector is a member of a group that has its own methods and rules, and Campion is quite familiar with their system. Campion is becoming an interesting character. He is not quite a detective, more like a clever, innocuous man for hire. His plan this time is to figure out who the collector’s agent is and basically make sure that person ends up dead.

I listened to this one right after the first, so comparisons are inevitable. Allingham took more care of the secondary characters this time around. They were more fully developed and it was enjoyable spending time with them. The plot is still a little silly, but the bad guys are not as ridiculous. Their motives are clearer and they are not as stereotypical as in the first.

I’ll probably read/listen to another one or two in the series and see how Campion develops.

About Margery Allingham

Margery Allingham

Margery Louise Allingham (May 20, 1904 – June 30, 1966) was born in Ealing, London to a family of writers. Her father, Herbert John Allingham, was editor of The Christian Globe and The New London Journal, while her mother wrote stories for women’s magazines. Margery’s aunt, Maud Hughes, also ran a magazine. Margery earned her first fee at the age of eight, for a story printed in her aunt’s magazine.

Soon after Margery’s birth, the family left London for Essex. She returned to London in 1920 to attend the Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster) and met her future husband, Philip Youngman Carter. They married in 1928. He was her collaborator and designed the cover jackets for many of her books.

Margery’s breakthrough came 1929 with the publication of her second novel, The Crime at Black Dudley. The novel introduced Albert Campion, although only as a minor character. After pressure from her American publishers, Margery brought Campion back for Mystery Mile and continued to use Campion as a character throughout her career.

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