by Margaret Allingham
Rated 4 Stars
A house-party with a glittering guest list. An imposing country estate with endless shadowy staircases and unused rooms. The breathless period between the two world wars. It’s the ideal setting for the classic English murder mystery, and bringing it to perfection is the introduction—in a supporting role for the first and last time—of Albert Campion, the consummate (if compulsively quipping) Gentleman Sleuth. The guests take some time to be grateful for Campion’s presence; he is a bit peculiar, and they have more than enough distractions, what with various complicated love affairs, a curious ritual involving a jeweled dagger, and a deadly game of hide-and-seek. But the savvy reader will be singing hosannas from Campion’s first appearance, knowing that it marks the beginning of one of the most intelligent and delightful series in the history of crime fiction.