Item description for Death of a Ghost (Felony & Mayhem Mysteries) by Margery Allingham...
The painter John Lafcadio was brilliantly talented and, it appears, a bit psychic: Certain that his reputation would improve dramatically after his death, he left several paintings with his agent, along with the instruction that the widowed Mme. Lafcadio should wait a suitable interval and then begin doling out the work to a newly ravenous public, selling the paintings at the rate of one per year. Albert Campion, an old friend of the widow's, is among the guests at Lafcadio's fourth such posthumous vernissage. The event is a success for all but one of attendees -- a young artist who is brutally murdered while others are sipping champagne. Shortly thereafter the wife of another painter in the Lafcadios' circle is poisoned, and Campion begins asking questions -- a dangerous habit with a murderer around.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 8" Weight: 0.65 lbs.
Release Date Sep 15, 2007
Publisher Felony & Mayhem
ISBN 1933397829 ISBN13 9781933397825
Availability 0 units.
More About Margery Allingham
Margaret Allingham was a prolific writer who sold her first story at age eight and published her first novel before turning 20. Allingham went on to become one of the pre-eminent writers who helped bring the detective story to maturity in the 1920s and 1930s.
Margery Allingham was born in 1904 and died in 1966.
Reviews - What do customers think about Death of a Ghost (Felony & Mayhem Mysteries)?
Campion visits the artsy set Apr 18, 2006
The late great artist John Lafcadio had left behind twelve crated paintings with instructions that they were to be opened and displayed, one per year, beginning ten years after his death, at a party to be held in his London home/studio. He had a two fold motivation for this scheme, first to keep up demand for his work and second to annoy his chief rival even from the grave. When he made these plans Lafcadio probably never dreamed just how many deaths these arrangements would cause.
Albert Campion is attending the eighth posthumous Lafcadio opening. His hostess, Lafcadio's widow, Belle is very much in charge, of the party, her husbands estate, and her very bohemian family - two of her husbands former models, Lisa and Donna Beatrice; his agent, Max Fustian; their granddaughter Linda and her fiance, Thomas Dacre and his wife Rosa-Rosa. During the party the lights went and when they were restored revealed that a murder had been committed. Campion begins to investigate the crime when all fingers point to Linda. Secrets and long held resentments begin to surface, leading to a second murder but of course, Campion triumphs in the end.
While DEATH OF A GHOST is listed as a mystery, it is more strictly a thriller. The murderer is revealed long before the end of the book, the remaining few chapters involve Campion proving his case. While there is a certain amount of tension involved in the action scenes and a small challenge for the reader to figure out the culprit this is really more of a straight character driven novel rather than either a mystery or a thriller.
Campion has often been compared to Sayers' Lord Peter. In the early novels in particular, Campion bore much in common with Wimsey. The art colony setting for this 1934 novel has a lot in common with Sayers' 1931 FIVE RED HERRINGS. Happily though Campion emerges from Wimsey's shadow and emerges as an interesting character in his own wright.
"He was my dearest enemy." Sep 4, 2005
Margery Allingham once described a mystery novel as if it were a four-sided box: "a Killing, a Mystery, an Enquiry and a Conclusion with an element of satisfaction in it." The first three elements provided her as an author with the discipline that let her imagination have play with the last.
In this book (6th in the series and written in 1934), the book only partly follows the whodunit form as the identity of the killer becomes clear very early on in the book. Instead of being an exercise in detection, it is a meditation on the relationship between detective and killer. Campion meets his nemesis, and the trick becomes how to stop him before he kills again.
As usual, Allingham is a brilliant lens on the issues and problems of Europe between the wars. Artists and their models swirl through society life and the shocked countryside. The girls are entirely modern-- all sharp angles and violent emotions. Campion attends a cocktail party where "a dirty little thought concerning Hitler and the great Duke of Marlborough wafted across the smoke-laden air". These moments are Allingham at her best, and what lifts her books so far above the genre limitations.
Ultimately, it is not the best or most successful Campion novel, in part because of the chances she takes with the relationship between Campion and his "dearest enemy". All the same, it is more than worth reading, and I recommend it highly.
If you are not familiar with Allingham, I suggest that you find a copy of her work if you can. She deserves to be set next to Ngaio Marsh and Agatha Christie as one of the great pioneers of detective fiction.
Disappointing Allingham Feb 18, 2002
The best bit is the artistic milieu, especially the industrious Potters who live in a shed in the garden. Though lacking in talent, they are genuinely gripped by art. Mr Campion seems ghostly himself, drifting through, letting others talk and not cracking a single joke. And the lovely Lugg doesn't even get a mention. What was Margery up to?
Art's Labor Lost Apr 6, 2001
"Death of a Ghost" finds Albert Campion in attendance while the family of famous artist John Lafcadio prepares for a posthumous exhibit. Lafcadio, irritated at the thought that another artist, Charles Tanqueray, might outlive him, provided a series of paintings to be shown one at a time, after his death. Max Fustian, art dealer and general popinjay, has prepared a lavish event for this year's unveiling. He is aided in this effort by Belle, Lafcadio's wife and a cast of remarkable zanies that reside in and around the Lafcadio residence.
No sooner does the party start than Tom Dacre, another artist is murdered when the lights suddenly go out. Campion manages to keep his old friend Stanislaus Oates from arresting Lafcadio's daughter Linda who was Dacre's jilted lover, but now must seek a solution to what appears to be a perfect crime. To make matters worse, another household resident is murdered by poison in mysterious fashion. Campion begins to suspect he is facing an ingenious killer with few, if any, moral compunctions.
This is the type of mystery novel I think of as a `set piece.' By that I mean that long before the end the puzzle is completely defined, the rules set out, and it is now up to the detective (and the reader) to fit the pieces together and make it work out. In this case, almost exactly halfway through (shortly after the reader has guessed the killer) Campion half-deduces / half-intuits the criminal. He manages to convince Oates of his conclusion, and it is now up to them to discover motive, means and proof. This is no small task, and before the end Campion must risk his life to bring the case home.
This kind of writing always runs the danger of becoming an intellectual exercise or worse, boring. Allingham's skill is such that there is no danger of this. Instead, "Death of a Ghost" comes close to being a tour de force of characterization, which has always been Allingham's strength. Narrative is strong as well, and the novel, while not among Allingham's very best, is a great success and an enjoyable read.
the simple art of murder Jul 6, 2000
Years after his death salon painter John Lafcadio continues to haunt the art world with the yearly public unveiling - and subsequent auction - of one of a dozen stored masterpieces. At the revelation of the seventh painting the lights suddenly go out - when they come back on, there is a knife sticking out of the back of young watercolorist Dacre, fiance of the great artist's grand-daughter. Albert Campion, the universal uncle, is there, and doubts the police's initial guess of the culprit. He takes upon himself Mrs Lafcadio's charge to put a stop to the crimes - for soon there is a second murder within the artist's enchanted circle.