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Look to the Lady

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The Gyrth family had guarded the Gyrth Chalice for hundreds of years. It was held by them for the British Crown. Its antiquity, its beauty, the legends that were connected with it, all combined to make it unique. It was irreplaceable. No thief could hope to dispose of it in the ordinary way. And indeed no ordinary thief would dream of trying. Kept in a windowless chapel, a The Gyrth family had guarded the Gyrth Chalice for hundreds of years. It was held by them for the British Crown. Its antiquity, its beauty, the legends that were connected with it, all combined to make it unique. It was irreplaceable. No thief could hope to dispose of it in the ordinary way. And indeed no ordinary thief would dream of trying. 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. Finding himself the victim of a botched kidnapping attempt, Percival St. John Wykes Gryth, current heir to the Gyrth family and guardian-elect of the Chalice, suspects that he might be in a spot of trouble. Unexpected news to him - but not to the mysterious Mr Campion, who reveals that the ancient Chalice entrusted to Val's family is being targeted by a ruthless ring of wealthy thieves intent on supplementing their own private treasure trove. The vague, bespectacled Albert Campion doesn't look like he'll be much help against them. But looks can be deceptive. Fleeing London for the supposed safety of the village of Sanctuary, in Suffolk, Campion and his trusty assistant Luggand come face to face with events of a perilous and puzzling nature. When Val's aunt is found dead with an expression of terrified - and terrifying - shock upon her face, Campion must preserve not only the safety of Chalice, but also that of the Gyrth family. Campion might be accustomed to outwitting criminal minds, but can he foil supernatural forces?


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The Gyrth family had guarded the Gyrth Chalice for hundreds of years. It was held by them for the British Crown. Its antiquity, its beauty, the legends that were connected with it, all combined to make it unique. It was irreplaceable. No thief could hope to dispose of it in the ordinary way. And indeed no ordinary thief would dream of trying. Kept in a windowless chapel, a The Gyrth family had guarded the Gyrth Chalice for hundreds of years. It was held by them for the British Crown. Its antiquity, its beauty, the legends that were connected with it, all combined to make it unique. It was irreplaceable. No thief could hope to dispose of it in the ordinary way. And indeed no ordinary thief would dream of trying. 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. Finding himself the victim of a botched kidnapping attempt, Percival St. John Wykes Gryth, current heir to the Gyrth family and guardian-elect of the Chalice, suspects that he might be in a spot of trouble. Unexpected news to him - but not to the mysterious Mr Campion, who reveals that the ancient Chalice entrusted to Val's family is being targeted by a ruthless ring of wealthy thieves intent on supplementing their own private treasure trove. The vague, bespectacled Albert Campion doesn't look like he'll be much help against them. But looks can be deceptive. Fleeing London for the supposed safety of the village of Sanctuary, in Suffolk, Campion and his trusty assistant Luggand come face to face with events of a perilous and puzzling nature. When Val's aunt is found dead with an expression of terrified - and terrifying - shock upon her face, Campion must preserve not only the safety of Chalice, but also that of the Gyrth family. Campion might be accustomed to outwitting criminal minds, but can he foil supernatural forces?

30 review for Look to the Lady

  1. 5 out of 5

    Abbey

    BOTTOM LINE: Another lovely, totally unbelievable romp with Albert Campion and friends, both respectable and otherwise, as he undertakes to guard the heir to an old family and their VIP secret. Still shows Albert as quite peculiar and vapid/vague, but Allingham is gradually bringing the character into better focus in this third book. The Gyrth family is rural County Aristocracy, very very old, and with lots of peculiar history behind it. Their home is at least a thousand years old, and extremely BOTTOM LINE: Another lovely, totally unbelievable romp with Albert Campion and friends, both respectable and otherwise, as he undertakes to guard the heir to an old family and their VIP secret. Still shows Albert as quite peculiar and vapid/vague, but Allingham is gradually bringing the character into better focus in this third book. The Gyrth family is rural County Aristocracy, very very old, and with lots of peculiar history behind it. Their home is at least a thousand years old, and extremely spooky, and they possess a valuable chalice that is reputed to be even older, around which a lot of pagentry is directed when the eldest son of a family turns 25. Val Garth is about to do so, and has been kidnapped by some strange people, with Campion turning up just in time to help him out of that jam, and to return to his family to undergo initiation into The Family Secrets. But all sorts of sinister folks are about, and it soon becomes obvious that someone wants that chalice very badly, and will stop at nothing to get it. Various attempts to steal it are made, and Campion must call on all his skills and many of his peculiar friends, to solve the assorted mysteries around the Gyrth Chalice, along with a wild horse, a band of gypsies, an odd archeologist, a wild woman and a witch, her demented son, and the various denizens of Tower House itself, where the Chalice is rumoured to be kept safely hidden. A fast pace, very likeable folks and hiss-a-ble villains, lots of perilous situations and in-the-nick-of-time rescues, and the affable Albert Campion pulling all the strings, makes for a thoroughly lovely afternoon's read. Still a treat, even after many years and several rereads. NOTE : TV VERSION WONDERFUL, highly recommended, circa 1990 with Peter Davison as Campion - entire series great fun actually, just about perfect, unlike some of the later attempts at "updating" Christie, et al

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Recently, I have been reading the Albert Campion series. I have struggled with Margery Allingham before, and, although I have enjoyed the first two books in the series, I was underwhelmed by this. The mystery opens well. We have Val Gyrth, an aristocratic down and out, threatened by kidnappers and lured to safety by Campion. To give him his full name, Percival St John Wykes Gyrth, belongs to an old family who are the keepers of the Gyrth Chalice. Campion informs him that someone is out to steal Recently, I have been reading the Albert Campion series. I have struggled with Margery Allingham before, and, although I have enjoyed the first two books in the series, I was underwhelmed by this. The mystery opens well. We have Val Gyrth, an aristocratic down and out, threatened by kidnappers and lured to safety by Campion. To give him his full name, Percival St John Wykes Gyrth, belongs to an old family who are the keepers of the Gyrth Chalice. Campion informs him that someone is out to steal this historic object and Val is important, as it is shortly his twenty fifth birthday; at which point he has to attend a ceremony at his ancestral home. That is, assuming he overcomes his estrangement with his father, which has led to him living as a down and out. Campion, Val, and Lugg, head to Val’s family home, where they find a cast of characters all interested in the Chalice. Before long, we are embroiled in an adventure which involves murder, sinister, criminal gangs and more than a hint of the supernatural. This felt a little too much like the second book to work for me. I will try a couple more, but I don’t think that Campion will ever challenge Poirot, or Wimsey, for my Golden Age favourite.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Beckham

    This is my 3rd ‘Albert Campion’ mystery (of 19 written by Margery Allingham), and I’m growing to like the idiosyncratic adventurer-come-detective, with his blue-blooded heritage and underworld connections. Something of a hybrid between Sherlock Holmes and Lord Peter Wimsey, he has a pinch of Shakespeare’s Prince Hal thrown in for good measure. Akin to her contemporaries in the ‘Golden Age of Detective Fiction’ the author has little empathy for the lower classes (which is an entertainment in its o This is my 3rd ‘Albert Campion’ mystery (of 19 written by Margery Allingham), and I’m growing to like the idiosyncratic adventurer-come-detective, with his blue-blooded heritage and underworld connections. Something of a hybrid between Sherlock Holmes and Lord Peter Wimsey, he has a pinch of Shakespeare’s Prince Hal thrown in for good measure. Akin to her contemporaries in the ‘Golden Age of Detective Fiction’ the author has little empathy for the lower classes (which is an entertainment in its own right), but there is an exception in the brilliant caricature, Mr Lugg, Campion’s disreputable batman. The stories are somewhat fanciful, but they just keep on the sensible side of not having to suspend disbelief too often, or for too long, and they are worth pursuing for their insight into the mores and customs of the time (upper class 1930s England). Look to the Lady is a tale of duty and inheritance, and the desperate safeguarding of an ancient artefact from ruthless international criminals (something of a recurring theme in books 1-3). It is not the most compelling or twisted of plots, but an enjoyable ride, if a slightly disappointing destination. These novels work well as audiobooks, with their relatively small casts of generally distinctive characters.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ivonne Rovira

    Three cheers for Margery Allingham! With each book, her creation, the bespectacled, deceptively foolish Albert Campion, becomes better and better. Look to the Lady, the third novel in this Golden Age series, is the best I’ve read yet. Campion, the pseudonym for a disinherited younger son and self-proclaimed “junior adventurer,” reunites an estranged father and son — and just in time. The pair are the caretakers of a priceless Chalice they’re holding for the Crown, and Campion’s gotten wind that Three cheers for Margery Allingham! With each book, her creation, the bespectacled, deceptively foolish Albert Campion, becomes better and better. Look to the Lady, the third novel in this Golden Age series, is the best I’ve read yet. Campion, the pseudonym for a disinherited younger son and self-proclaimed “junior adventurer,” reunites an estranged father and son — and just in time. The pair are the caretakers of a priceless Chalice they’re holding for the Crown, and Campion’s gotten wind that a theft ring has its eye on the Chalice. While such a plot would be pretty cliché in the hands of some novelists, Allingham breathes new life into it, and I finished the novel in a single day. Allingham introduces quite a few twists and adds on a most satisfactory ending. Lovers of Dame Agatha or Dorothy L. Sayers will not regret making Campion’s acquaintance.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This is another example of a book I first read about 20 years ago, and upon re-reading discovered it is way better than my memory thought it is. I only remembered about one sentence in the book (and I was happy to see that I remembered it correctly - take THAT middle age!)So even though I had already read this book, it struck me as "new". Albert Campion is my favorite amateur dectective from all those Golden Age guys. I enjoy the Poroit stories, but find Poroit himself annoying. Campion is a like This is another example of a book I first read about 20 years ago, and upon re-reading discovered it is way better than my memory thought it is. I only remembered about one sentence in the book (and I was happy to see that I remembered it correctly - take THAT middle age!)So even though I had already read this book, it struck me as "new". Albert Campion is my favorite amateur dectective from all those Golden Age guys. I enjoy the Poroit stories, but find Poroit himself annoying. Campion is a likeable fellow, with no idiosyncracies to put you off. He is amusing like Lord Peter without the aristocratic air. There is no doubt that Campion is also an aristocrat, but he doesn't snob it around like Lord Peter does. He is funny and intellegent, but likes playing dumb. And everyone treats him like he is very simple minded, which increases the enjoyment when you discover along with the bad guys that there is way more to little Albert than there appears to be. This is an early Campion, and it is a good one. A good mystery with a lot of questions to be answered, and a lot of interesting and engaging characters to keep you guessing. And Lugg is here too!! Great and entertaining read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jan C

    Not sure why this took so long. Maybe I had it in the wrong place. On the bedstand - but I was always reading the kindle in bed. Then I decided to see if not using electronics before bed would help me sleep better and switched back to actual books. (the jury is still out on the sleeping better, but maybe not quite as many hours, I think, tossing and turning.) A royal chalice has been left for the Gyrth family to look after at their country home of Sanctuary. It only comes out of hiding when the m Not sure why this took so long. Maybe I had it in the wrong place. On the bedstand - but I was always reading the kindle in bed. Then I decided to see if not using electronics before bed would help me sleep better and switched back to actual books. (the jury is still out on the sleeping better, but maybe not quite as many hours, I think, tossing and turning.) A royal chalice has been left for the Gyrth family to look after at their country home of Sanctuary. It only comes out of hiding when the male heir reaches 25 and there is some kind of secret ceremony. One day a week their chapel is opened to the public and they get a glimpse of a chalice. This includes a bully lady of the county. Campion thinks there is about to be a theft and they take a bizarre trip to London where they are held up by a mob of men. It gets stranger from there. But great fun.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mmyoung

    Although an improvement on Allingham’s first two Campion books this outing still suffers from many of the flaws so obvious in its predecessors. Campion himself is shown to do little actual detecting or deducing. He just “knows” things -- often because of an immense circle of informants who, for no particularly obvious reason, have warm feelings towards him. The reader does not follow Campion in his various investigations and quests for information and is often kept ignorant of information in wha Although an improvement on Allingham’s first two Campion books this outing still suffers from many of the flaws so obvious in its predecessors. Campion himself is shown to do little actual detecting or deducing. He just “knows” things -- often because of an immense circle of informants who, for no particularly obvious reason, have warm feelings towards him. The reader does not follow Campion in his various investigations and quests for information and is often kept ignorant of information in what appears to be an attempt to make Campion seem to be all knowing. As is often the case in British “mysteries” of this time, there are secret (and yet well known to all the senior members of police and government) organizations whose exploits cannot be thwarted by the standard representatives of authority. This invulnerability is not well justified in the text of the book and appears to have no purpose other than to give a reason for the protagonist to break a variety of rules without fear of arrest or other form of punishment. In this and the two previous Campion books are set in corners and byways of England that are backward even by the standards of popular English fiction of the time. It is a constant irritation to this reader that poor education, poor health, and bad hygiene are presented as colourful, picturesque and entertaining. The aristocracy seems almost to have a glow about them, the gentry are to be sympathized with if they actually have to work for a living and the rural folk and poor are caricatures more reminiscent of Dickens than of any realistic portrait of England at the time. Finally, this reader found the ending of the book to be very disappointing for a number of reasons. Campion does not solve anything himself, he does not personally thwart the crime he was hired to prevent and the reader is left to suspect that some mysterious supernatural force intervened at the last minute. Logic dictates that if some unseen and mysterious force was able to prevent the crime then Campion need never have been involved and the whole adventure was an exercise in futility. If that thought occurred to this reader then it should have crossed the mind of at least one of the characters we visit at the end of the book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Francis

    One of the three great dames of British detective mysteries. I find it a bit strange that all three created detectives that came across as vain, smug and a bit foppish, and in the case of Poirot it wasn't a matter of somewhat but rather excessively vain and smug. While for me, Christie's Poirot has become increasingly tiresome. Parkers, Sir Peter Wimsey on the other hand has become more likable and now I'm beginning to see some hope for Allingham's Albert Campion as well. In the books I've read One of the three great dames of British detective mysteries. I find it a bit strange that all three created detectives that came across as vain, smug and a bit foppish, and in the case of Poirot it wasn't a matter of somewhat but rather excessively vain and smug. While for me, Christie's Poirot has become increasingly tiresome. Parkers, Sir Peter Wimsey on the other hand has become more likable and now I'm beginning to see some hope for Allingham's Albert Campion as well. In the books I've read so far, he has become a little less of an inane character and settled into a bit more of your typical amateur detective. And while I'm still debating the likability of the afore mentioned Mr. Campion I am grudgingly admitting that I'm starting to enjoy Allingham's ability to tell a tale.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tras

    Loved this one. Gave me the same warm and fuzzy feelings that reading Enid Blyton's mysteries (Famous Five, Secret Seven, the 'Mystery of' series, and the 'Adventure' series) did when I was a kid. It was all thoroughly exciting which necessitated the rapid turning of (virtual) pages. Tons of stuff going on: Mysterious artifact guarded by family for generations, terrifying creature lurking in the woods, ruthless criminal gang, witchcraft, gypsies, and mass brawls, what's not to love? Oh and Campi Loved this one. Gave me the same warm and fuzzy feelings that reading Enid Blyton's mysteries (Famous Five, Secret Seven, the 'Mystery of' series, and the 'Adventure' series) did when I was a kid. It was all thoroughly exciting which necessitated the rapid turning of (virtual) pages. Tons of stuff going on: Mysterious artifact guarded by family for generations, terrifying creature lurking in the woods, ruthless criminal gang, witchcraft, gypsies, and mass brawls, what's not to love? Oh and Campion didn't irritate me once in this book. Fourth book incoming!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Herewith another late work from one of the Great Dames of the Golden Age of mystery. I made the proofing (F1) of this book for Distributed Proofreaders Canada and it will be published by Faded Page.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Malcolmaffleck

    As another Campion book, this one seems to contain all the key points of Allingham's style - Campion seems to be quite ineffectual but works out crimes within seconds, it's a basically one house mystery with assorted jaunts into London at times, a hint of romance between side characters and a secret society of criminals out to work their nefarious ends. However, it contains a lot of aspects that are not even close to likely. First, why would a criminal society decide to stop their crime just beca As another Campion book, this one seems to contain all the key points of Allingham's style - Campion seems to be quite ineffectual but works out crimes within seconds, it's a basically one house mystery with assorted jaunts into London at times, a hint of romance between side characters and a secret society of criminals out to work their nefarious ends. However, it contains a lot of aspects that are not even close to likely. First, why would a criminal society decide to stop their crime just because of the death of a member - I know Allingham states that they are not common criminals, but collectors, but surely that would make it more valuable? Secondly, there are a few too many deus ex machina - particularly when Campion has walked into the enemy's lair. Thirdly, the main baddy was blindly obvious from the moment the character entered the novel. However, the worst part of the book was the lead up to the unveiling of the true chalice - I was very interested to se what it was, but the unveiling was badly done and did not even answer what the chalice really was, as it needs to be seen at night with candles to truly see it. The Professor says best not to think about it, but that isn't a good answer.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    DAME AGATHA CHRISTIE AND HER PEERS 1931 Will there be surprise secret passageways? Little to no real investigation? Last minute 'clues'? Preposterous stupidity? Hot, steamy sex? CAST: 3=Val Gyrth (Percival St. John Wykes Gyrth) is the only son of Colonel Sir Percival Christian St. John Gyrth of the Tower, Sanctuary, Suffolk is about to turn 25. At 25, the eldest son is taken to a 'secret room' in the castle and the family secret handed down generation after generation is revealed. It's a secret so DAME AGATHA CHRISTIE AND HER PEERS 1931 Will there be surprise secret passageways? Little to no real investigation? Last minute 'clues'? Preposterous stupidity? Hot, steamy sex? CAST: 3=Val Gyrth (Percival St. John Wykes Gyrth) is the only son of Colonel Sir Percival Christian St. John Gyrth of the Tower, Sanctuary, Suffolk is about to turn 25. At 25, the eldest son is taken to a 'secret room' in the castle and the family secret handed down generation after generation is revealed. It's a secret so shocking and horrible that the very sight of it often ruins that son for life. Some good ol' love and compassion from dad would be nice here. Anyway, Val Gyrth receives an invitation from "Mr Albert Campion At Home" which reads: "Any evening after twelve. Improving Conversation. Beer, Light Wines, and Little Pink Cakes*. (*I'll assume small pods of opium. Cause no man- gay or otherwise - would be caught dead inviting other men over for little pink cakes. NEVER. It's in the rule book even. I'm not saying Campion likes his opium, or is gay, but there is a 50% chance he is smoking on something...) Do come.*" (*Need I comment?) Val Gyrth goes but on the way is almost kidnapped by THE VILLAINS! Upon arrival, Campion spends a good 10 minutes in the bathroom with Val, "administering first aid." So THAT'S what they called it back in the day! Need we be surprised that publishers during the Golden Age of Mystery loved titles with the word 'nurse' in it? That promises private meetings, drugs, and a bit of blackmail. Val Gyrth and and Campion are clueless and hilariously silly at times. There is the rest of the Val Gyrth family, and one commits suicide shortly into the story so she doesn't have to hang around any longer and I don't blame her at all! Then there are THE GYPSIES, who just happen to be camping out in a nearby forest, and are villains of THE VILLAINS. They growl at each other at midnight. Not EVERY midnight, though. Gyrth and Campion are good for lots of laughs. Then there is Mrs. Dick Shannon. Campion can only say "Who is the rude lady?" Val responds that she is "One of these damn women-with-a-personality." The next woman-with-a-personality certainly makes a grand entrance: she is stone-dead. But before dying, she's filled the castle with perfect strangers who've simply made themselves at home. Are they the villians? Did the stone-dead lady try to steal the treasure herself? ATMOSPHERE - 3 stars: The 'stone-dead' lady had been hanging out late at night at the forbidden and mystical 'Pharisses' Clearing" Why, one can take the clearing all the way past Mrs. Munseys to the first gypsy camp. (Allingham offers us a nicely drawn map of the area). But what we'd like is a blue blueprint of the haunted English Manor House, or the chapel with secrets,given the fields of gypsies and villians moves around a lot. Fun times. Allingham does what she did in her first novel, "Crime at Black Dudley": out of any ol' place, there conveniently appears a secret passageway. Fun times, really. Just tap on any convenient panel and a door pulls back. Beware of what may cometh at you with a weapon: there is some kind of monster lurking around. CRIME - 3: Every single wealthy collector in the world is after The Chalice and there is a gang of VILLAINS doing the dirty work. The deal is that if they don't steal the longed for object, the move on to the next treasure, never to return to the one they missed. Naturally, here, it's in the SECRET ROOM. It might be Thousands of Years Old. British Royalty has bestowed upon the Gyrth family the duty of protecting The Chalice forever. Personally, I'd have placed it in the Tower of London for safekeeping but I'm not Royalty. (In Britain, that is, but just here at home.) Perhaps in 1931 The Chalice conspiracy books had not yet come in vogue so maybe this hadn't been done in every other conspiracy book. I do like that the author never attempts to reference this chalice as THE Chalice. Plus, there is indeed further crimes committed. Then there are the rumored crimes, like the witch who "tried to change a particularly loathsome old gentleman into a seal on a voyage to Oslo." Which begs the question: do seals get cruise discounts? INVESTIGATION - 2: Little to none. Unless you count the villains and the gypsies fighting in the stable for some reason. I've no idea why. I'd reveal what, exactly, is in the SECRET ROOM, but I'd have to make it up, cause Allingham doesn't much explain anything. When actual authority figures show up and want to see the chalice, they are told it's being cleaned. I hope they aren't using Bon Ami, that stuff eats, FAMOUSLY, right through gold and blood, you know. (If you have never seen the film, "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken", you must!) RESOLUTION - 2: For centuries, this manor house has had a SECRET ROOM in the southern south-east northern wing near the 8th or 9th floor, but no way to get to it. But on the last few pages we learn that on the night THE SECRET is to be visited, a light stays on in the room, ALL NIGHT, and anyone passing by can easily see where THE SECRET ROOM is because...it's lit up! Then, they can climb to the roof with a rope and just drop down the side for entrance. I am not kidding. Nancy and the Hardy boys could have figured this one out by 1807. But this is such a silly notion: Allingham's just having a bit o' fun. SUMMARY: YES, YES, YES, YES, and X plus Y in the hayloft I'm pretty sure (the answers to my opening questions). I don't know if this is a goth/rom send-up (Val and Campion the romantic couple) or what. But it's all so silly it is sorta fun. And one chapter is even titled "The Fairy Tale." I'll rate this a 2.6 for laughs.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    Unusual for a detective story (closer to a Bond, really) in that Campion (view spoiler)[deliberately sets out to kill someone. (hide spoiler)] These early Allinghams have 'semi-redoubtable' girls in them: they're relatively brave, and involved in the action for the first half of the book, and then get withdrawn from the scene. Listening to these in audiobook is interesting because the narrators go full on in 'falsetto twit' voice for Campion, which makes other characters' reactions to him all the Unusual for a detective story (closer to a Bond, really) in that Campion (view spoiler)[deliberately sets out to kill someone. (hide spoiler)] These early Allinghams have 'semi-redoubtable' girls in them: they're relatively brave, and involved in the action for the first half of the book, and then get withdrawn from the scene. Listening to these in audiobook is interesting because the narrators go full on in 'falsetto twit' voice for Campion, which makes other characters' reactions to him all the more understandable. :)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    May 2018 reread: I am downgrading my rating of this from 4 to 3 stars. My previous rating was based upon fuzzy memory of reading this years before. I found on this reread that something about the blend of mystery & adventure doesn't quite work for me in this. I can't put my finger on what exactly the problem is as these are two genres I generally like both separately & together. May 2018 reread: I am downgrading my rating of this from 4 to 3 stars. My previous rating was based upon fuzzy memory of reading this years before. I found on this reread that something about the blend of mystery & adventure doesn't quite work for me in this. I can't put my finger on what exactly the problem is as these are two genres I generally like both separately & together.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mir

    This is one of the sillier of this series, but it has a really excellent first chapter and more likable secondary characters than Allingham often writes.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michalle Gould

    Incredibly fun... the note at the end says her novels have crept into the libraries of those wise men who like their nonsense to be distinguished, which I think is quite a good description (and probably one that originates from the author herself?). As an added bonus, contains varied information on inns and eating places of all sorts for those who are looking for that kind of thing as research for their own novel set in a similar time and place.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Portia

    Cozy classics are usually fairly quick reads. This book,however, took me a deliciously long time. I became lost in Allingham's descriptions of places that existed in her day but are now long gone, in turns of phrase cleverly wrought, and flirtations that nowadays are considered quaint. Five stars. Cozy classics are usually fairly quick reads. This book,however, took me a deliciously long time. I became lost in Allingham's descriptions of places that existed in her day but are now long gone, in turns of phrase cleverly wrought, and flirtations that nowadays are considered quaint. Five stars.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    'How on earth did you know?' she said. Mr Campion sighed with relief. 'The process of elimination,' said he oracularly as he picked up the suitcase and trudged back to the car with it, 'combined with a modicum of common sense, will always assist us to arrive at the correct conclusion with the maximum of possible accuracy and the minimum of hard labour. Which being translated means: I guessed it.' He lifted the case into the dickey once more, and held the door open for Penny and her companion. She h 'How on earth did you know?' she said. Mr Campion sighed with relief. 'The process of elimination,' said he oracularly as he picked up the suitcase and trudged back to the car with it, 'combined with a modicum of common sense, will always assist us to arrive at the correct conclusion with the maximum of possible accuracy and the minimum of hard labour. Which being translated means: I guessed it.' He lifted the case into the dickey once more, and held the door open for Penny and her companion. She hung back. 'That's not fair,' she said. 'Suppose you explain?'

  19. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    I picked up this Margery Allingham book at the library last week and finally got to it. It was a quick read, but not one of my favorites. The plot was so interesting at first that I found myself caught up in trying to figure out who was trying to kidnap Val Gryth (the main character). How could Albert Campion (our ever -s-o clever- and- with-it detective), be sure that Val would follow the clues left for him and make it to his door? Who was trying to steal the chalice, and would they be successfu I picked up this Margery Allingham book at the library last week and finally got to it. It was a quick read, but not one of my favorites. The plot was so interesting at first that I found myself caught up in trying to figure out who was trying to kidnap Val Gryth (the main character). How could Albert Campion (our ever -s-o clever- and- with-it detective), be sure that Val would follow the clues left for him and make it to his door? Who was trying to steal the chalice, and would they be successful? I enjoyed the book all the way up to the final 3 chapters and then for some reason, it kind of petered out for me! Although Allingham ties up all her loose ends neatly and satisfactorily, I just kind of lost my impetus by then. However the story itself was interesting and clever, mixing gypsies, art, superstition, ghostly appearances, and romance within the plot of a chalice coveted and guarded over centuries. I came across a couple of reviews while pondering Allingham's writing that were so well-written, I wanted to include them here for your perusal. The first is written by none other than A.S. Byatt, (a successful novelist in her own right), who contrasts Allingham with Dorothy Sayers and Ngaio Marsh: "Three of the Queens of Crime - Dorothy Sayers, Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh - also seem to have felt that the form demanded that the detective should be an aristocratic younger son, disdaining a life of leisure in order to use his good mind and fine moral sense. Marsh's gentleman joined the police force and became Detective Inspector Alleyn. Sayers's Peter Wimsey and Allingham's Albert Campion disguised their brains and their steeliness beneath the veneer of a vacant, elegant man-about-town, descended from Saki's foppish mischief-makers and not unrelated to Bertie Wooster. I have never been able to read Agatha Christie - the pleasure is purely in the puzzle, and the reader is toyed with by someone who didn't decide herself who the killer was until the end of the writing. Sayers, Marsh and Allingham crossed the puzzle fiction with the romantic novel, and give us elegantly plotted love stories mixed in with the threads of death and detection. Of these three, I love Allingham most, because she wrote best and is most surprising and satisfactory as a tale-teller. She has things in common with Georgette Heyer in her mix of pace and lightness. She has invented her own world, and we recognise with pleasure that we are in it." (Does this not want to make you read *all* of Allingham?) I have enjoyed many of Allingham's mysteries but haven't yet read them all. It is intriguing to find that others feel she is a better mystery novelist than Christie or Sayers! Take a look at what this reviewer, Jane Stevenson, had to say: "Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh are fundamentally focused on "how". Their characterisation is crude, a bundle of quirks and characteristic utterances - Poirot's "little grey cells" - while the actual writing is un- demanding. Once the puzzle has been solved, there is no point in looking at the book again: if you accidentally pick up a Christie you've read before, you put it down again as soon as you realise it's the one where the murderer turns out to be the butler's identical twin brother. Gladys Mitchell's books you are sometimes, but not inevitably, pleased to revisit. She turned out more than 60 potboilers and an occasional perverse masterpiece (The Rising of the Moon is my personal favourite). By contrast, all Allingham novels (except perhaps the first two) will, like those of Dorothy Sayers, stand a good deal of rereading." Fall is a great time to read mysteries, and the 'cosy mystery' genre is one of my favorites. I plan to do some re-discovering of Margery Allingham!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    The title of this, the third novel featuring Albert Campion, is taken from Act 2,Scene 3 of Macbeth and the lady concerned is Lady Macbeth who has just fainted.There is ambiguity about why she did this and ambiguity is a great feature of Margery Allingham’s Campion books. In many ways this is not a classic detective novel although it does contain lots of mysteries not least of which concerns the Gyrth Chalice, the proposed theft of which is the centre of the book, There are no real puzzles to be The title of this, the third novel featuring Albert Campion, is taken from Act 2,Scene 3 of Macbeth and the lady concerned is Lady Macbeth who has just fainted.There is ambiguity about why she did this and ambiguity is a great feature of Margery Allingham’s Campion books. In many ways this is not a classic detective novel although it does contain lots of mysteries not least of which concerns the Gyrth Chalice, the proposed theft of which is the centre of the book, There are no real puzzles to be solved here as in Christie or Sayers: this is decidedly not a whodunnit. What interests Allingham and what makes her books stand out is characterisation: she is genuinely interested in people and what makes them tick. Many of the characters are odd, if not downright weird and seem to inhabit worlds where different rules apply.Campion’s ability to operate in these alternative worlds and to think like those who inhabit them, is his great strength. The plot here as in other books is of secondary importance -“fantastical to the point of campness” is how one writer has described Allingham’s plots- and you certainly do not read Campion for his detection skills. What you get in Look to the Lady is atmosphere and a sense of palpable evil, beautiful description of the countryside and its buildings. acute observation of the oddities of human nature, a feel of the different ways people use language. These books are not for everyone.I read my first Allingham in my mid-teens and did not understand it at all. Fifty years on and each re-reading reveals more-could the same be said of Christie or Sayers?If you have not tried Allingham you are missing out on a very special and unique writer . Thank you to the Margery Allingham Estate for giving me this copy in return for a review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jillian

    Still very silly, but slightly less ridiculous than the last one. Only slightly. I do like that they're quite unpredictable, but that's mainly because Albert is SO mysterious and refuses to explain anything. I think it's a fairly shoddy writing technique, since there's no chance the reader could possibly figure out what is going on (half the fun with a detective novel!) so I've decided to treat them a bit more like a fantasy. Albert Campion as the mysterious stranger who knows everything that's Still very silly, but slightly less ridiculous than the last one. Only slightly. I do like that they're quite unpredictable, but that's mainly because Albert is SO mysterious and refuses to explain anything. I think it's a fairly shoddy writing technique, since there's no chance the reader could possibly figure out what is going on (half the fun with a detective novel!) so I've decided to treat them a bit more like a fantasy. Albert Campion as the mysterious stranger who knows everything that's going on, turns up at the right time, the miraculous coincidences that keep happening, the supernatural elements (always explained away with science) - all it needs are some aliens, time travel and the world in danger and we've got a plausible Dr Who episode. It'd be nice to do away with the racial stereotypes though, these dodgy brown people are so derivative! (...and boring, two-dimensional, unbelievable, etc. etc.) I suppose it is nice that she bothered to include any ethnic diversity at all, I can't say that her compatriots did that very much. Let's face it, the whole book is a passing parade of tropes and stereotypes (yokels, thugs, gangsters, aristocrats, hobos, Americans, Jews, "bohemian artists", Gypsies etc. etc.). Two stars for the crazy witch, and the creepy thing on guard in the East Wing.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Daley Rose

    My first Margery Allingham book. This might be controversial, but I like her mystery writing almost as much as Agatha Christie's. Exciting, quick page-turner. I definitely want to read more by Allingham! I like Campion's humility and goofiness and non-genius look and manner. As the book says, he has an "ineffectual face." Though, of course, he is a bit of a genius. I definitely prefer him to Poirot, possibly even to Miss Marple (gasp!) My only complaint was I didn't understand who Campion's empl My first Margery Allingham book. This might be controversial, but I like her mystery writing almost as much as Agatha Christie's. Exciting, quick page-turner. I definitely want to read more by Allingham! I like Campion's humility and goofiness and non-genius look and manner. As the book says, he has an "ineffectual face." Though, of course, he is a bit of a genius. I definitely prefer him to Poirot, possibly even to Miss Marple (gasp!) My only complaint was I didn't understand who Campion's employer was at the ending.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christine Cody

    Albert Campion is such a delightful character. With friends from every level, knowledge from all quarters, he amazes everyone who first thinks he's an ineffectual, rather "inane" young man. I always love it as people begin to realize who they are dealing with. This series seems to get better with each book! At this rate, I'll be dancing through my hallways soon. Albert Campion is such a delightful character. With friends from every level, knowledge from all quarters, he amazes everyone who first thinks he's an ineffectual, rather "inane" young man. I always love it as people begin to realize who they are dealing with. This series seems to get better with each book! At this rate, I'll be dancing through my hallways soon.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Azar

    One of my favorite Campion novels, this is the series at its best: action, adventure, mystery, with a touch of the supernatural and as always, tantalizing hints as to Campion's real identity that never quite add up to anything--at least not for the modern reader! One of my favorite Campion novels, this is the series at its best: action, adventure, mystery, with a touch of the supernatural and as always, tantalizing hints as to Campion's real identity that never quite add up to anything--at least not for the modern reader!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Daisy Madder

    Highly entertaining story from one of the Golden Age authors (and not someone that I've read anything by before, but will certainly be reading more from in future), only slightly spoiled (on a personal level) by the ominous leader of the crime ring being known as The Daisy... Highly entertaining story from one of the Golden Age authors (and not someone that I've read anything by before, but will certainly be reading more from in future), only slightly spoiled (on a personal level) by the ominous leader of the crime ring being known as The Daisy...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Bettie's Books Bettie's Books

  27. 4 out of 5

    C

    A lot of mystery, a little romance, some evil thieves, and a great revealing.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marythios (AkaSusanne )

    A royal chalice has been left for the Gyrth family to look after at their country home of Sanctuary. It only comes out of hiding when the male heir reaches 25 and there is some kind of secret ceremony. One day a week their chapel is opened to the public and they get a glimpse of a chalice. This includes a bully lady of the county. Campion thinks there is about to be a theft and they take a bizarre trip to London where they are held up by a mob of men. What interests Allingham and what makes her bo A royal chalice has been left for the Gyrth family to look after at their country home of Sanctuary. It only comes out of hiding when the male heir reaches 25 and there is some kind of secret ceremony. One day a week their chapel is opened to the public and they get a glimpse of a chalice. This includes a bully lady of the county. Campion thinks there is about to be a theft and they take a bizarre trip to London where they are held up by a mob of men. What interests Allingham and what makes her books stand out is characterization: she is genuinely interested in people and what makes them tick. Many of the characters are odd, if not downright weird and seem to inhabit worlds where different rules apply. Campion’s ability to operate in these alternative worlds and to think like those who inhabit them, is his great strength.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tahlia Fernandez

    I think I have discovered a new author to join Agatha Christie in my short list of favorite cozy mystery authors. Albert Campion is fun, exciting, amusing, and interesting. I don’t always get his pop references of the day, but I really enjoy his quirky personality. The way he was introduced in this book was so easy to visualize and so great! I will definitely check out more of Margery Allingham’s books!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Delightful and exciting bit of English life. It opens with Val Gyrth, estranged young son of a well-to-do family who bizarrely finds an empty envelope addressed to him. This starts him on a wild adventure, eventually getting him to Mr. Campion and learning of a threat to a chalice that his family is responsible for. This propels the two men to seek to prevent the danger, leading them into situations strange and dangerous. Allingham's writing is clear and enjoyable, her pacing strong. Necessarily Delightful and exciting bit of English life. It opens with Val Gyrth, estranged young son of a well-to-do family who bizarrely finds an empty envelope addressed to him. This starts him on a wild adventure, eventually getting him to Mr. Campion and learning of a threat to a chalice that his family is responsible for. This propels the two men to seek to prevent the danger, leading them into situations strange and dangerous. Allingham's writing is clear and enjoyable, her pacing strong. Necessarily, the characters are not so strong, although Campion has some most interesting friends in both high and low places. Great adventure with a touch of spooky, I enjoyed it a lot and think anyone who likes Christie or Maisie Dobbs or Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone will enjoy this, too. More Allingham and Campion is happily on my agenda.

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