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Death of a Ghost

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Art show in full view of the cream of London society For the second killing only the victim and the murderer were present The first killing took place at a crowded art show in full view of the cream of London society For the second killing only the victim and the murderer were present Now the scene was set for the third a lavish dinner party with vintage wines and with Albert Campion's death as the main course Mr Campion must employ all his tact as well as his formidable intelligence to trap the killer and dodge dea. Does this title that of the sixth Albert Campion book refer to the ghost of John Lafcadio the artist whose cheeky attempt to gain immortality and get one over on his rivals has far reaching conseuences for his family and friends Each year starting in the eleventh year after his death one of twelve paintings is to be revealed and put on sale on the Sunday before the annual Academy Exhibition The book opens on the day number eight is to be unveiled at his house in Little VeniceAssembled is a cast consisting of Belle the artist’s widow their granddaughter two former models Max Fustian an art dealer and various artists models and notabilities including CampionThe first murder is carried out in the darkness ensuing from Belle’s failure to put money in the electricity meter Why and by whom was artist Tommy Dacre murdered so opportunistically A fantastic confession is made and its maker ruled out by Inspector Stanislaus Oates The police investigation peters out in the face of official discouragement but Campion persists and not long after this reader correctly identifies the murdererFrom then on around 40% into the story this is effectively an inverted mystery We know the murderer but not the why and the who else since Allingham clearly indicates there will be murder Campion and the police must try to assemble a case whose proofs will stand up in courtThe case ends with a thrilling nightmare journey at the conclusion of which a resolution is reachedThe Allingham magic here is in creating yet again a small rather strange community peopled by some rather oddly believable charactersWe may not like many of them and feel little sympathy for or empathy with them but they all come alive from the ludicrous Donna Beatrice to the pathetic Potters from the fantastically mephistophelian and vainglorious Max to practical LindaThis is the Allingham which will most divide readers’ opinionsThe first time I read it I found it unappealing and unsatisfactory This time I loved it The characters are colourful in every senseThe artistic background is meticulous is Pip Youngman Carter’s hand to be seen here The plot is ingenious and the structure appropriately Gothic Only the fate of the murderer disappoints but the final chapter rounds off nicely what is to me one of the best of the earlier CampionsThank you to the Allingham estate for the review copy

Summary Û PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB ´ Margery Allingham

John Sebastian Lafcadio is one of the greatest painters of the Edwardian period and his ambition to be known as the greatest painter since Rembrandt was not to be thwarted by a matter as trifling as his own death Lafcadio was not only a brilliantly talented it appears a bit psychic Certain that his reputation would improve dramatically after his death he left aset of twelve sealed paintings with his agent along with the instruction that her widow should wait a suitable interval and then begin doling out the work to. In order to spite his arch rival Tanueray the painter John Lafcadio left a collection of paintings with his agent Salmon Co with the strict instructions to hold onto them for a decade and then release them one by one at annual special showings; he reckoned that his death would increase demand for his work and that the strategy would give Tanueray an annual posthumous reminder that Lafcadio was the artist the public and the connoisseurs preferredIn fact Tanueray died before that initial decade was up but Lafcadio's widow Belle and the inheritor of the Salmon agency Max Fustian continue the tradition of the annual viewing of a newly revealed Lafcadio work As a much younger friend of Belle's Albert Campion is present at the latest showing During the traditional drinking of the sour wine the eating of the curling cruditees and the chattering to people you'd normally avoid and anyway can't hear properly because of the yammer the lights go out When they're restored there lies on the floor stabbed through the heart with a pair of ornamental scissors Dacre a protege of Lafcadio's and assumed fiance of Lafcadio's granddaughter LindaThe cops descend in the shape of Campion's old buddy Inspector Stanislaus Oates of the Yard this novel predated the bursting onto the scene of Charlie Luke as Allingham's preferred cop Between them Oates and Campion get absolutely nowhereBut then there's a second death in the sprawling Lafcadio household Claire the managerial wife of one of Lafcadio's old hangers on is found dead of what could have been a heart attack but proves on autopsy to have been poisoning by nicotinic acid and this time Campion knows with a certainty that outstrips any evidence he might possess who the culprit is and thus probably the perpetrator of the first killing too Oates agrees with Campion's hypothesis but the murder of Claire has been so carefully orchestrated that there's no way either man can bring the killer to justice using conventional means Campion even considers especially when he realizes the danger that Belle and Linda might be in simply taking justice into his own hands whatever the price he might have to pay Being a civilized human being however he instead maneuvers himself into position as the person the murderer might be best advised next to kill in the attempt to cover up the dirty little secret that lies at the core of the plot This is a terrific thriller Allingham wrote some splendid mysteries but I've come to the conclusion that her thrillers like this novel Traitor's Purse and of course The Tiger in the Smoke show her at her best I think she probably achieved this through her deft ability to portray character I last read Death of a Ghost perhaps forty years ago so obviously remembered very little of the plot but I did recall the characters notably Belle Max Fustian and Linda who I thought and still think is red hot an aesthetic conclusion with which Campion evidently agreesThere are also to be honest some fairly easy almost cheap bits of characterization going on household hanger on Donna Beatrice an old model of Lafcadio's pretentiously full Blavatsky style of the need to understand the Higher Consciousness and open one's aura to the mystic ways of the universe Donna Beatrice’s greeting was sensational and Campion remembered with sudden satisfaction that her real name was Harriet Pickering; Rosa Rosa the empty headed yet ravishingly lovely model who readily delivers herself of obscenities and the most remarkable gestures whom Dacre met in Rome and whom he married in order to be able to bring home to the UK with him despite his supposed engagement to LindaDacre by the way suggested that he Linda and Rosa Rosa should get a house together and live there in a menage a trois Linda tells Campion she rejected this not on any moral grounds or even theoretical disinclination but simply because the work Dacre had now started to produce was chocolate box than art no way would she live with an artist who'd prostituted himself like this Allingham's social attitudes were way ahead of their era She could also be adolescently smutty at times A ramshackle cottage in the middle of nowhere where Dacre did some of his painting is evocatively called SpendpennyAs for Campion himself we're still in vol 6 of the series stuck with the common Golden Age trope of him being a member of the aristocracy in his case pseudonymous to keep his true identity secret who's philanthropically working beneath himself by solving crimes and acting as a sort of universal uncle to those in distress He retains some of the deceptive vacuity that was Wimsey's stock in trade but for the most part that's toned down a bit and overall he's become a plausible human being Even in the early novels Campion was a far real and likeable person than caricatures like Wimsey; by now he's become perhaps because of the fallibility he displays here a well rounded characterWith the villain being revealed early on the drive of the novel comes from the attempt by Oates and Campion especially the latter to tease out the motivation Allingham handles this very adroitly The book's title is a bit of a giveaway for part of it but I think we'd all have worked that bit out even without the clue Besides that's hardly the point The crux of the novel is that Campion is confronted by an ingenious villain who's perhaps at least as intelligent as he is and who holds most if not all of the cards The later stages of the novel in which Campion is a piece of prey there for the taking as he flees through London streets are absolutely nail bitingThis is a thriller whose central dynamic is artificial then and now Scotland Yard detectives don't much welcome far less encourage the contributions of amateurs in the murder cases they're attempting to solve A few months ago I was writing about the efforts of self styled psychic detectives and the extent to which in general the cops privately hold these amateur meddlers in contempt was was very evident Of course we're supposed to believe at face value that Lestrade albeit reluctantly welcomed the efforts of Holmes Japp albeit reluctantly welcomed the efforts of Poirot and so on Allingham chooses here to acknowledge the artificiality and in effect to tell us we simply have to accept it if we want to read onThe Inspector never knew uite why he always invited the pale young man to accompany him on this sort of expedition in defiance of edict and etiuette alike but the fact remained and so did Mr CampionI can't recall ever coming away from a Campion novel with the feeling that Allingtham had failed to deliver Death of a Ghost is no exception and it may be one of her bestThis is a contribution toward Rich Westwood’s “Crimes of the Century” feature on his Past Offences blog The year chosen for consideration in June 2015 is 1934

Margery Allingham ´ 6 Summary

A newly ravenous public at the rate of one per year Lafcadio's widow unveil the eighth canvas to a carefully selected audience Albert Campion an old friend of the widow's is among the cast of gadabouts muses and socialites gathered for the latest ceremony The event is a success for all but one of the attendees a young artist who is brutally stabbed while others are sipping champagne The art is the last thing on the sleuth's mind whenl the wife of another painter is poisoned The first killing took place at a crowded. The real attack lay somewhere in the Cantonetti Campion wished he could remember The whole of the restaurant had become indistinct He was aware of vast planes of misty chattering ghosts to whom he supposed fatuously he was as invisible as they to him The Gingerbread Man unveil the eighth canvas to a carefully selected audience Albert Campion an old friend of the widow's is among the cast of gadabouts muses and socialites gathered for the latest ceremony The event is a success for all but one of the attendees a young artist who is brutally stabbed while others are sipping champagne The art is the last thing on the sleuth's mind whenl the wife of another painter is poisoned The first killing took place at a crowded. The real attack lay somewhere in the Cantonetti Campion wished he could remember The whole of the restaurant had become indistinct He was aware of vast planes of misty chattering ghosts to whom he supposed fatuously he was as invisible as they to him

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