Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Look to the Lady

Third Campion mystery features an ancient relic, witches, gypsies and a ruthless gang

Look to the Lady involves Campion searching for a 'monster' hiding in Suffolk woodland
Look to the Lady involves Campion searching
for a 'monster' hiding in Suffolk woodland
Margery Allingham was well into her stride writing about her mysterious, amateur sleuth, Albert Campion, when she published her third novel about his adventures, Look to the Lady, in 1931, just two years after his first appearance in The Crime at Black Dudley. 

Campion and his butler and ex-offender sidekick, Magersfonteing Lugg, rescue the son of a baronet, Val Gyrth, from violent criminals attempting to kidnap him. They offer to help him prevent the theft of a rare family heirloom, the Gyrth Chalice, but as soon as they arrive with him at his family home in Suffolk, they discover his aunt has been found dead in mysterious circumstances.

Campion sets out to solve the mystery of the aunt’s death and work out how to protect the valuable chalice, which the Gyrth family have been guarding for the nation for more than a thousand years. 

To solve the mystery, Campion has to go out with an elderly professor to try to find the ‘monster’ hiding in nearby woodland that has been terrorising the local people for years. 

Look to the Lady has been republished by Vintage Book
Look to the Lady has been
republished by Vintage Books
After infiltrating the headquarters of the gang plotting to steal the chalice, Campion is imprisoned by them, until a band of gypsies helps him to escape. 

Then he has to ride a wild, black horse five miles across open countryside to be in time to prevent the theft of the chalice from its home high up in a tower. 

Although Margery Allingham was writing during the Golden Age of detective fiction, Look to the Lady is less of a cosy, village mystery and more of a sophisticated, fast-moving novel of suspense.

Agatha Christie has been quoted as saying: ‘Margery Allingham stands out like a shining light,’ and, in her day, Margery was regarded as one of the four Queens of Crime, along with Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers and Ngaio Marsh. 

Look to the Lady was first published in Great Britain by Jarrolds more than 90 years ago, but it has now been republished by Vintage Books, part of the Penguin Random House Group. It remains an exciting, addictive page turner and I can highly recommend it.

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(Suffolk woodland photo by Benjamin Thomas via Pixabay)

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