Police at the Funeral

Police at the Funeral

The tranquility of Cambridge is punctured when Cousin Andrew of the illustrious Faraday family disappears without a trace. No time is wasted in summoning Albert Campion and his sleuthing skills away from the bustle of Piccadilly to investigate – but little does he expect to be greeted by a band of eccentric relatives all at daggers with each other. Soon there are as many d...

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Title:Police at the Funeral
Author:Margery Allingham
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Police at the Funeral Reviews

  • F.R.

    I’ve never read a Margey Allingham before, but having finally taken the plunge I have to say that I’m hugely impressed. She’s of course one of the Grande Dames of English detective fiction, but she is a much better writer than either Dorothy L. Sayers or Agatha Christie (though it wouldn’t be hard to be a more skilled prose stylist than Dame Agatha). Interestingly she seems to realise there’s something faintly absurd about the notion of an aristocratic detective (according to my good friend Wiki

    I’ve never read a Margey Allingham before, but having finally taken the plunge I have to say that I’m hugely impressed. She’s of course one of the Grande Dames of English detective fiction, but she is a much better writer than either Dorothy L. Sayers or Agatha Christie (though it wouldn’t be hard to be a more skilled prose stylist than Dame Agatha). Interestingly she seems to realise there’s something faintly absurd about the notion of an aristocratic detective (according to my good friend Wikipedia, Albert Campion was created as a spoof of Lord Peter Wimsey), and there is almost a protean quality to her version – a bland man who hides behind his glasses and isn’t even comfortable using his real name. Not that he isn’t a strong presence at the centre of the book, the reader is never allowed to forget that behind his vague expression is the sharpest mind in the room.

    A series of murders are committed amongst an old aristocratic family, which is ruled by an intimidating matriarch of the old school. Campion is called into help the investigation (an aristocrat investigating aristocratic murder always seems more likely to be successful, the family opens up in the way they never would with a common policeman). There are red herrings, other attacks in the night, huge footprints left in the garden and a conclusion which is satisfyingly impossible to guess – if

    somewhat absurd.

    What really pleased me though was her style, breezy and smart with a good line in humour. This is a book to enjoy not only for the mechanics of the mystery but for the prose as well. As such I look forward to the other Campion novels in 2011.

  • Bev

    Well, I fell in love with Albert Campion all over again. I hadn't read any Margery Allingham books for a good long while and pulled out Police at the Funeral as my final entry in the Out With a Bang Read-a-Thon. I got so wrapped up in Campion's world that I stayed up till midnight just so I could finish it ('cuz I had to know what happened) and claim the whole book for the challenge.

    In this novel, Campion is called upon by the fiancée of an old friend to investigate the mysterious disappearance

    Well, I fell in love with Albert Campion all over again. I hadn't read any Margery Allingham books for a good long while and pulled out Police at the Funeral as my final entry in the Out With a Bang Read-a-Thon. I got so wrapped up in Campion's world that I stayed up till midnight just so I could finish it ('cuz I had to know what happened) and claim the whole book for the challenge.

    In this novel, Campion is called upon by the fiancée of an old friend to investigate the mysterious disappearance of one of her uncles. Uncle Andrew started walking home from church one Sunday and never arrived. It's not that Joyce Blount is all that fond of her uncle--he's a bitter, insulting man who has written a book exposing the family skeletons, but she is very afraid of the atmosphere in the family home and what might happen next. As she should be. Uncle Andrew is finally found--dead. And several family members soon follow him to an early grave. What evil influence has hold at Socrates Close, the Cambridge landmark home of the Farradays? And can Albert Campion and his friend Inspector Stanislaus Oates make their way through complex family dynamic to solve the mystery before the entire family is removed from the scene?

    Margery Allingham is at her best in this Campion outing. The repartee is witty. The descriptions are eerie and suspense-laden. The mystery is complex enough and strewn with red-herrings that will keep the reader guessing till the very end. A highly enjoyable mystery from one of the Golden Age's best

  • Abbey

    1931, #4 Albert Campion, Adventurer, London and Cambridge; many secrets come to light when a cantankerous member of a socially prominent - but peculiar - Cambridge family goes missing. Both the book and the tv film are highly recommended for those who enjoy Golden Age puzzle plots. four-and-one-half stars.

    The autocratic - and personally remarkable - Mrs. Caroline Farraday rules over her odd family with an iron grip - no soft edges for *this* late-Victorian matriarch, thank you very much! Althoug

    1931, #4 Albert Campion, Adventurer, London and Cambridge; many secrets come to light when a cantankerous member of a socially prominent - but peculiar - Cambridge family goes missing. Both the book and the tv film are highly recommended for those who enjoy Golden Age puzzle plots. four-and-one-half stars.

    The autocratic - and personally remarkable - Mrs. Caroline Farraday rules over her odd family with an iron grip - no soft edges for *this* late-Victorian matriarch, thank you very much! Although very subtle in her actual wording and behavior, she holds the purse strings and rules her dependents' lives completely, and arbitrarily. And almost all the members of her large family are dependents, having failed at their businesses and, seemingly, their lives as well, and come home to live with Mother/Aunt/Grandmother. Now in her eighties, she may move physically slower now, but her hold on her family is still as strong as it was when she was A Force to Be Reckoned With in society in the 1880s and 1890s.

    Pretty much trapped in their gloomy old house of Socrates Close in academic Cambridge, the family bicker among themselves year after year, and slowly disintegrates from within. When the occasionally provocative (in a juvenile way) sixty-year-old Andrew, a bitter but still intelligent and erudite man, goes missing, the family lawyer calls in Campion to try and track him down without publicity or fuss. Things go downhill rapidly, from there, however, and when the first murder victim is found the police must be called in.

    Campion moves into the house and finds that the atmosphere is not only cloying, it's lethal, as he strives to come to an understanding of this psychologically damaged - and dangerous! - family, and to solve the murder(s) without those he's come to like being hurt, if possible. Darkly psychological, very slow-paced and introspective, this is still an entertaining read, and likely was very frightening when first published in 1931.

    Allingham's writing is, I have found, rather darker than Christie's, more psychologically dependent, and - beneath the foppish mask of the brainless-appearing Campion - very sharply observes society and the many sorts of people therein of the period. She's a very acute observer and an intelligent writer. I always enjoy her work, and this is no exception. Almost her very best writing, it's rather slow-moving for modern tastes, but still fascinating - and dark, dark, dark! Wonderful stuff.

    The tv film version of this is superb - it has Peter Davison as Campion and is filled with many familiar faces from British dramas of the 1980s and 1990s ("Andrew" is a particularly familiar face...). Plus the atmosphere of that house and the family dynamics are beautifully rendered. While they do rewrite a bit of the plot here-and-there (i.e., the family members are far more likeable), the revisions are not obtrusive, and the film is, in itself, a lot of fun to watch and puzzle through.

  • Sarah

    After three books, for the first time, Allingham takes Campion out of the thriller genre and into a much more traditional manor house murder mystery. And while she doesn't leave the solution as apparent as, say, Agatha Christie might, most of the major clues are on open display to the reader, and there is every possibility they will be able to guess at the solution before it is revealed. Allingham shows her skill at misdirection to the point where the solution, when it comes, feels almost obviou

    After three books, for the first time, Allingham takes Campion out of the thriller genre and into a much more traditional manor house murder mystery. And while she doesn't leave the solution as apparent as, say, Agatha Christie might, most of the major clues are on open display to the reader, and there is every possibility they will be able to guess at the solution before it is revealed. Allingham shows her skill at misdirection to the point where the solution, when it comes, feels almost obvious. How could you miss that? But you do. It's very clever.

    Part of Allingham's misdirection is, as always, her presentation of tremendously vivid characters. This time, there's a whole houseful, lorded over by the tiny but dominating personality of eighty-six-year-old Caroline Faraday, who keeps a raven's watchful eye on her flighty and selfish family. We are reminded again and again that all emotion seems to have been driven from her personality in her attempt to keep control, and it is to this end that she enlists Campion as her personal eyes and ears during the investigation. The intellectual dance they keep up through the novel is almost beguiling: one, masked in stoicism, the other, masked as a fool. Their interactions lead to a delightful and surprising resolution.

    comes at the end of an intense writing period for Allingham, which may explain the lackluster title; after this, she took a longer-than-usual break before the next in the series. Perhaps she even contemplated ending it here. Had that been the case, it doubtless would have ended Mr. Campion's adventures on a very high note; this is a strong, assured piece of work, very engaging and well on-par with more famous mysteries of the period. Like Mr. Campion himself, it deserves better recognition.

  • Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

    Much better than any of the Campion novels I've read to date. Our Albert actually does some hands-on detecting at the request of a friend of his grandmother's who knows his real name and identity, but divulges nothing. The autocratic old lady lives in Socrates House, Cambridge (not a college, just a mansion) ruling her family with an iron hand encased in a lace mitt. Murder, drink, tramps and remittence men combine to induce hysteria in the maiden aunts at every turn.

    Allingham apparently had a p

    Much better than any of the Campion novels I've read to date. Our Albert actually does some hands-on detecting at the request of a friend of his grandmother's who knows his real name and identity, but divulges nothing. The autocratic old lady lives in Socrates House, Cambridge (not a college, just a mansion) ruling her family with an iron hand encased in a lace mitt. Murder, drink, tramps and remittence men combine to induce hysteria in the maiden aunts at every turn.

    Allingham apparently had a penchant for Rosenberg's engravings; Campion had them in his flat in Vol 3, and now the American visiting professor (who talks like a Brit) has them in her study. The author couldn't resist a university-town murder, including an untranslated Greek quotation in the first few pages--cause, yeah--it's not being written for plebs like me. That's also probably why no one mentions that "conium poisoning"is "hemlock" until nearly the end of the book. But then, this was first published in 1931, though the edition is modern; so modern in fact that the editors appear unaware that "discomfited" and "discomfort" are two different words. "Discomfort" is a noun, not a verb, but if they don't know that I won't be the one to tell them.

  • Susan

    This is the fourth Albert Campion novel, published in 1931. I have had mixed reactions to the series so far, but I have certainly enjoyed this one the most so far.

    Campion is contacted by Joyce Blount, who is engaged to a friend of his. Joyce lives in Socrates Close, Cambridge, surrounded by the old, eccentric, Faraday family; headed by matriarch, Caroline Faraday, widow of a famous academic. However, Uncle Andrew has gone missing and all is not well within the household. Joyce is almost hysteri

    This is the fourth Albert Campion novel, published in 1931. I have had mixed reactions to the series so far, but I have certainly enjoyed this one the most so far.

    Campion is contacted by Joyce Blount, who is engaged to a friend of his. Joyce lives in Socrates Close, Cambridge, surrounded by the old, eccentric, Faraday family; headed by matriarch, Caroline Faraday, widow of a famous academic. However, Uncle Andrew has gone missing and all is not well within the household. Joyce is almost hysterical when, approaching Campion, she recognises a man who has been following Inspector Stanislaus Oates, and the four converge at the same time. However, she refuses to admit she knows who the man was and this air of secrecy surrounds most of the inhabitants of Socrates Close, making it difficult for Campion to uncover the truth of events.

    This is an involved and fun mystery, with family secrets, mysterious deaths and strange events. Ultimately, like many of the Campion novels, the ending is convoluted and ingenious. I liked the inhabitants of Socrates Close; including the imperious Great-Aunt Caroline, blustering Uncle William, the black sheep, Cousin George and others. I will certainly be trying the next in the series.

  • Miriam

    This is the first book in the series to not have organized crime as a plot element. Like all the other Campion books it is set an old family home with an upper-crust cast (Allingham comes near to breaking the fourth wall when she makes her police officer comment on the improbability of this given how few murders are actually committed in stately homes by rich families). In this case the dramatic personae are unusual primarily for their senescence: a tyrannical octogenarian widow keeps her elderl

    This is the first book in the series to not have organized crime as a plot element. Like all the other Campion books it is set an old family home with an upper-crust cast (Allingham comes near to breaking the fourth wall when she makes her police officer comment on the improbability of this given how few murders are actually committed in stately homes by rich families). In this case the dramatic personae are unusual primarily for their senescence: a tyrannical octogenarian widow keeps her elderly children and nephew living with her, under her thumb. They have no money of their own, no independent activities, not even any say as to their daily routines, food, clothing, etc. Even morning tea is forbidden simply because the dowager disapproves. They live according to the manner in which she conducted her home when she was a young wife in the 19th century. Julia, Kitty, Andrew, and William potter uselessly about the house, wiling away the empty hours by getting at each other. No wonder someone eventually snaps under these conditions! But who?

    The one young person living at Socrates Close is Joyce, a niece by marriage who serves as companion, secretary, and general dogsbody, keeping the bills paid on time and trying to soothe her hysterical aunts. This was published in the 1930s and we are told that Joyce had a job which she quit to go live in this old house in Cambridge with these awful people she owed nothing to, which I didn't understand since she seemed a pleasant and capable woman, but I guess that's plot convenience for you. In any case, Joyce happens to be engaged to Marcus, a college friend of Campion's, and when one of her uncles goes missing he directs her to the detective, even though he thinks she is just being a sillyhead, you know how women are. I also didn't understand why Joyce was marrying Marcus. I hope it was for money, or he was good in bed or something, because his personality wasn't very enticing.

    Aside from some minor antics early on, Campion cuts a more serious figure here than in earlier novels. I missed his crazy dialog but was not surprised, as he had been getting gradually more serious with each installment. At this point he is fairly sympathetic if a tad bland. I had previously read some books from later in the series, and am interested in seeing how her gets from this point to the rather bitter and unpleasant individual of a few years later.

  • Connie

    My first foray into Margery Allingham's world of Mr. Campion and it was a rather delightful trip. I listened to the audio of this and the narrator was quite enthusiastic and I felt as if I was listening to a full ensemble of actors as he changed his voice for each character.

    I would call this a good old fashioned mystery....murders, a mansion, minimal clues and suspects galore among these quirky, oddball characters. Mr. Campion, not a police detective but a rather over the top adventurist is ri

    My first foray into Margery Allingham's world of Mr. Campion and it was a rather delightful trip. I listened to the audio of this and the narrator was quite enthusiastic and I felt as if I was listening to a full ensemble of actors as he changed his voice for each character.

    I would call this a good old fashioned mystery....murders, a mansion, minimal clues and suspects galore among these quirky, oddball characters. Mr. Campion, not a police detective but a rather over the top adventurist is right in the middle of the chaos...and in the end solves the crime. A very unlikely hero.

    Nothing earth shattering, no gore or graphic scenes, just good mystery writing. The characters were well developed and the tension builds. A lot of rather dry British humor as well. An enjoyable who done it and a series I would return to.

  • James

    A time capsule of a book. a family under the thumb of a formidable matriarch starts to die in unexpected ways. Campion the gentlemen detetctive saunters out of a PG wodehouse novel to solve the crime. Now ussually the combination of anything even the slightest bit Bertram Wossterish and a crime thriller would be to put it mildly my gingerbread. In this case though it failed to grip, the humour wasnt funnz enough and the crimes were not thrilling enough. I did enjoy the trip in the time machine b

    A time capsule of a book. a family under the thumb of a formidable matriarch starts to die in unexpected ways. Campion the gentlemen detetctive saunters out of a PG wodehouse novel to solve the crime. Now ussually the combination of anything even the slightest bit Bertram Wossterish and a crime thriller would be to put it mildly my gingerbread. In this case though it failed to grip, the humour wasnt funnz enough and the crimes were not thrilling enough. I did enjoy the trip in the time machine back to the 1930s though.

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