Long term readers will be aware of my love of Golden Age detective fiction, so it may not be a surprise that this is my choice this week.
Yes, I’ve finally managed to read the first Albert Campion book. And no, I didn’t realise when I was reading it that I had read it before and just not made a note of it. I’ve written about the series before – and you can definitley see why those Wimsey parody conclusions were drawn. In this Albert is a side-character who you never really get to know (but want to know more about) as he helps unravel what is happening. The main characters here are George Abbershaw and Meggie Oliphant, who find themselves caught up in the mysterious death of the host of a house party that they’re attending, and then imprisoned at the house by forces who believe they have stolen something valuable. Like many of the later novels in the series, it’s more of an adventure-thriller than a murder mystery and there are mentions of things that crop up again in later stories.
If you like this sort of caper, it’s a good example of its type. If you have an interest in the era and the genre, it’s definitely a good one to have read. I enjoyed reading it for more than just the thrill of filling in part of of the Campion story that I was missing. But, like so many first in serieses, it’s not the best of the character – I think I would still tell people to start with Sweet Danger or the Tiger in the Smoke. But if it comes your way, do not turn your nose up at it!
My copy came from the library, but you should be able to get hold of any of the Campion books fairly easily – the ebooks have been published by Vintage in the UK relatively recently and the series is still in print in paperback. On top of that you can often find them secondhand in the book section of the charity shops
Before I go, I should give an honourable mention to Christmas Secrets by the Sea though – a late entry into the festive reading stakes. As you may have seen in the comments from last week’s Week in Books, I quite liked this and wanted to like it more. I didn’t think you understood the heroine well enough until quite late on and I also I didn’t didn’t think the resolution did everything it needed to. But it was still better than a lot of the Christmas books I read this year…
Happy reading – and as it’s Christmas Eve – Happy Christmas. I hope Santa brings you all the books you asked for!