Tether’s End by Margery Allingham, Carroll & Graf 1997 paperback, first published in 1958, featuring Albert Campion, amateur Sleuth
“The arrival of the bus was timed to perfection. Nobody of the slightest importance saw it at all.”
Unlike the larger-than-life master criminal of Mystery Mile or the politically motivated villain in Traitor’s Purse, the subject of the police pursuit, in this book Confidential Investigator Albert Campion, works with police to catch a man of no morals seeking personal gain.
Inspector Luke has a theory that a recent crime may be tied to an old one, farfetched as that may first seem. Campion becomes the sounding board for Luke’s hunch and is dragged into an intriguing case. Though the crimes occurred in the same general location, there doesn’t seem to be any common motive. It is left up to events to reveal the facts.
Annabelle Tassie has come up from the country to stay with a relation at Tether’s End, and her childhood companion Richard Waterfield who works in London has come to meet her. She’s no longer the little girl he remembers and he is struck by her beauty to the extent that he falls in love. When he sees a man coming from the house in which she will be staying, he follows to try and ascertain who he is and what his business might be. Thus begins a day which will end in terror for both Richard and Annabelle while Campion and Scotland Yard begin solving a puzzle with more pieces than expected.
This is an excellent example of Allingham’s mature writing and characterization. Campion isn’t in the least silly in this one, though he does look at events in a different way from his friends at The Yard. It’s a good thing for Annabelle that he does!
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A tantalizing writeup!
I was puzzled not to recognize the title, but some checking revealed that this novel was originally published in the UK (which is where I did almost all of my Allingham reading, decades ago) as Hide My Eyes. Only trouble, the sources give the pub date as 1958, not 1934!
You’re right, it was 1958. I’m not sure where I got the other date. Thanks for catching it, I’ve made the correction.
That is a lovely review, Rick. I look forward to reading this but right now I am at Pearls Before Swine, and I am rereading in order, so it will be a few books before I get there. I do like that cover, I hope it is the one I have.
Thank you. I believe this is the 16th in the series, Tracy.
Glad to see you back here. I read a few Allinghams back in the early days of my mystery reading – early to mid-1970s – and have read her short stories since, but…it’s hard to explain, but I never got Campion as a character who really held my attention and made me want to read more about him. I didn’t read this one (which was, as mentioned above, published in 1958 rather than 1934) because all the ones I read were earlier books. Though I enjoyed a couple that I can remember (FLOWERS FOR THE JUDGE), I never put Allingham with Christie or Sayers.
I made the original publishing date change, Jeff. (see above). I think of Allingham as being different from Christie, and of Sayers being different again, so I’d hesitate to lump any of the three together. I liked this one.
Yes, they are different. When I first started reading mysteries heavily in 1971, I did start with Christie. I went on to various others including Sayers, Allingham, then Marsh and Heyer and others from the so-called Golden Age, mostly women at that time. Hers just didn’t appeal to me as much at that time. Since then, I think I’d find it hard to reread Sayers, though I liked them a lot the first time.
I struggle with Sayers, except for the Lord Peter short stories, which I still find readable and enjoyable.
Like you and Jeff Meyerson, I struggle with Sayers’s novels. And, like Jeff, I’m lukewarm to Margery Allingham’s mysteries. The last one I read, THE TIGER IN THE SMOKE, was tedious. I started reading adult mysteries in the 1960s starting with Agatha Christie and Mike Shayne (two unlikely partners!). Before that, I read all the HARDY BOYS mysteries, some NANCY DREW, and KEN HOLT.
I read this as HIDE MY EYES too, Rick. Wrote about it on the blog a few months ago. I really and truly enjoyed this book, and to my surprise I’m still sifting through Allingham. Another one I liked very much was TRAITOR’S PURSE. TIGER IN THE SMOKE was not as good, but still I liked it pretty well though the abrupt ending was disappointing. I’m not fond of abrupt endings. I won’t say that I’ll become a real heart and soul Allingham fan (several of her books are unreadable far as I’m concerned) but the few I’ve read so far have not disappointed whatever mood I was in when I read them.