Item description for Look to the Lady (Felony & Mayhem Mysteries) (Albert Campion Mysteries) by Margery Allingham...
Some objects just cry out to be stolen, and an obliging ring of international thieves stands ready to heed the cry. Their current target is the Gyrth Chalice, a priceless goblet that the Gyrth family has for centuries held in trust for the British Crown. Kept in a windowless chapel, and protected by a fearsome curse, the Chalice should be impervious to thievery. But this is 1930, and the crooks have all the advantages of the modern world. Chief among these is the craving for publicity, to which at least one member of the Gyrth clan has succumbed. Her careless chatter about the Chalice seems to have called up all manner of misfortunes - of which larceny is just the beginning - and the vague, bespectacled Albert Campion doesn't look like he'll be much help against them. But looks can be deceptive.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 7.5" Weight: 0.65 lbs.
Release Date Dec 15, 2006
Publisher Felony & Mayhem
ISBN 1933397578 ISBN13 9781933397573
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.
Margery Allingham has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Look to the Lady (Felony & Mayhem Mysteries) (Albert Campion Mysteries)?
Grail Legend May 6, 2008
A mystery without a murder, Albert Champion's 3rd quest is to prevent a crime. LOOK TO THE LADY, by Margery Allingham is a fresh delight away from grizzly murder and mayhem. This title is my first experience with Albert and Lugg, it won't be my last. Ms. Allingham's take on the Grail legend and the quests it entails is funny, adventurous and an outstanding puzzle. All the elements of a great mystery without a murder. The current name for this genre is cozy, but there is a movement afoot to change it to "classic" mystery. If you've never read Allingham, pick up one today and you'll be a fan of the solution, the quest, the characters, the location and the writing. All of which are what keeps her title in-print so many years after her death. Nash Black, author of WRITING AS A SMALL BUSINESS and SINS OF THE FATHERS.
'I see you take the long road...' Jan 2, 2006
Look to the lady. - response to Lady Macbeth's fainting fit, MACBETH, act II, scene 3
"We can't fight a ring like this forever. It's incredible; they're too strong." "There is the point which resolves the whole question into a neat 'what should A do?' problem. We've got just one chance, old bird - otherwise the project wouldn't be worth fighting and we should not have met. The rules of this acquisitive society...are few, but they are strict. Roughly, what they amount to is this. All members' commissions - they have to be for things definitely unpurchasable, of course - are treated with equal deference. The best agent is chosen for the job; unlimited money is supplied; and there the work...ends until the treasure is obtained...However - and this is our one loophole - should...the owner of the treasure in question kill [their agent] to save it - then they leave well alone, and they look out for somebody else's family album." "Who is the agent employed to get the Chalice?" "That's the difficulty. I don't know...so you see what a mess we're in." - Val Gyrth and Albert Campion
While the U.S. title - THE GYRTH CHALICE MYSTERY - is easy to associate with the events of this book, it's something of a misnomer; this is more an adventure story or a thriller than a mystery, and in a way, it's the reverse of a mystery. Campion's ultimate goal isn't to *solve* a crime, but to prevent the theft of a national relic by any means necessary, beginning with unearthing and joining forces with Val Gyrth, the estranged only son of the family devoted to protecting the Chalice on behalf of the Crown. Val - destitute to the point of being out on the street in the wake of a failed marriage - is to come of age in a few weeks time and be initiated into the Gyrths' deepest family secrets, and has become a target of the anonymous society of wealthy collectors whose current target is the Chalice. Campion and his valet Lugg together manage to locate Gyrth, establish that he hasn't been corrupted, and explain the danger to the Chalice in an extended sequence that alternates between comedy and suspense, beginning with Val escaping arrest as a vagrant on his own doorstep, identifying himself by the tailor's label in his decrepit suit, and dodging an unsuccessful kidnap attempt before fetching up at Campion's flat in response to a mysterious trail of messages.
Campion, with Val and Lugg in tow, is soon installed as a guest at the Tower at Sanctuary, the Gyrth family home in Suffolk, Val's quarrel with his father only having dragged on this long through his own stubbornness. Not that there isn't plenty of conflict and excitement to spice up matters when the Chalice almost immediately goes missing from its supposedly burglar-proof niche in the family chapel. That turns out to be a fairly clever move on the part of one of the family, though it almost immediately backfires (only the first of several such reverses in the story, which is full of alternating comic and dramatic episodes).
"'...it's like a Welsh rarebit nightmare with you as the hero.' 'With me as the *rabbit*,' said Mr. Campion feelingly."
As for the original U.K. title of LOOK TO THE LADY, the story has an unusual number of women in supporting roles, such as: Val's foolish aunt Diana (New Age and fancies herself as a patron of the arts, with a number of suspect hangers-on); his charming and tough sister Penny and her best friend Beth Carey (daughter of an American professor eager to study the Chalice); Mrs. Dick Shannon, an obnoxious local horse-breeder whose shadier racing associates are becoming obtrusive; and Mrs. Sara, an old friend of Campion's who with her family are part of a large group of gypsies camping out near the Tower. Blessedly, none of the players are saddled with ridiculous cooing dialogue as are some of the characters in such stories as THE CASE OF THE LATE PIG.
I highly recommend the unabridged recording narrated by Francis Matthews, who does an amazing job with Lugg and the varying Suffolk accents of the Gyrths' neighbours, though he has a tougher time with the New England accents of the Careys. In either written or audio format, the story is a romp, a comedy and a thriller by turns; just don't expect it to be a conventional mystery.
Drive-in totals: - Two deaths. - Three kidnappings with unlawful imprisonment. - Two riots. - One "secret room" with family "secret", the existence of which is actually common knowledge, though not the details. - Two alternate identities of Campion's, complete with their own names. - One of Allingham's "darkest England" episodes, involving some creepy bits of local superstition (with some *very* funny reactions by Lugg, who disclaims any belief in such stuff despite his obvious discomfort with it). There are also some very moving scenes involving the Gyrths' secrets and their devotion to the relic. - Some very entertaining and enlightening exchanges between Lugg and the Gyrths' butler Branch, an old acquaintance with an only slightly more respectable background. "You'd be doin' me a service, Mr. Lugg, if you'd refrain from referrin' to me as number 705."
Allingham stands alone in this genre. Aug 10, 2004
Allingham is without a doubt, the best mystery/suspense writer that ever lived. I don't say this lightly. There is absolutely no one that can compare to her and to her hero, Albert Campion! I had read most of the Allingham stories a very long time ago, but when I checked there were some that I missed, so I decided to make up for that oversight. The Gyrth Chalice Mystery is one that I somehow missed. I am very glad that I made up for that oversight now. If you have not read an Allingham mystery, then you do have a treat in store for you. I heartily recommend that you begin to read them all as soon as possible. How else can we have a benchmark to grade the authors that have come afterwards. As far as I'm concerned, Allingham is in a class of her own. Her books are thrillers really more than mysteries, but what wonderful stories they are! In this book Albert connects up with a young kinsman of his to help protect an ancient relic that the young man's family has been responsible for for hundreds of years. We also are treated to large doses of the wonderful Lugg - Albert's man of many talents. I'm not going to say any more about this wonderful book. You must read for yourself, and be prepared to be awed!
One of her best Jan 18, 2003
An early entry in the Mr Campion saga. He is young and rather obnoxious, irritating all and sundry with his (often hilarious) brand of humour. The opening of this book is superb - an empty envelope bearing his name leads a downandout toff to a restaurant that just happens to be open at 2 am... The rest of the book contains many superb set pieces and unexpected characters: a witch, a likeable professor, a jewelry expert whose ancestors "talked to the Almighty". The ending is a stunner and a puzzle. What is the Gyrth treasure exactly? Why is Mr. Campion intimately connected with it? Who is its Guardian? The Professor has the tantalising last word.
Rite of Passage May 13, 2002
"The Gyrth Chalice Mystery" was the first Allingham mystery I read. By coincidence, I was then the same age Allingham was when she wrote it (despite there being several wars in between). I was immediately taken with the story with its heady mix of adventure, English snobbery, humor and the supernatural. When I was done reading I was a British mystery addict and an eternal fan of Albert Campion, Allingham's detective.
I am much older now, and this is the third or fourth time I've reread this novel. I can only report that it gets better with age. Unlike some authors whose work is best remembered rather than reexperienced, Margery Allingham's works are every bit as much fun now as they were then. Perhaps the secret of their long popularity is that they are the highest order of entertainment, full of adventure and humor.
In 'The Gyrth Chalice Mystery' Campion's assignment is the protection of the ancient Gyrth chalice from theft by a nefarious ring of art collectors. The secret of the chalice is passed from fathers to sons on their 25th birthday, and this is the time that the chalice is most vulnerable. Campion must first track down the current heir, Percival, and bring him home for the ceremony. No sooner is this accomplished when Percival's somewhat flaky aunt is frightened to death by the 'chalice monster.' With that we are off and running.
Allingham does her usual best to delight and bemuse, mixing forgers, racing people, gypsies, academics and other English country folks of every sort and form into the heady stew which is a Campion adventure. Campion has matured tremendously since the first novels and is in full possession of his role as the somewhat zany yet brilliant master of the chase. Allingham doesn't write mystery stories as such. Often she gives the villain of the piece away and the real mystery is how Campion will manage to save the day. "The Gyrth Chalice" is just such a tale. The ending comes as a complete surprise and adds a dimension to the tale, which makes it especially remarkable and memorable.