Saturday, January 11, 2014

Flowers for the Judge, Margery Allingham

Flowers for the Judge (1936) is Margery Allingham's 7th novel to feature amateur detective Albert Campion.

Combining not only a locked room mystery but also a 20-year-old missing person case with courtroom drama, Flowers for the Judge is a delight.

Campion, and his gentleman's gentleman Lugg, are something of a parody of Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter, but for all of Flower for the Judge's humor it is serious and ultimately more than a little moving.

I hope I'm not spoiling anything by suggesting that a better title might have been Tears of a Clown.

Flowers for the Judge's publishing-firm setting gives Allingham a chance to comment on her own chosen vocation:
"Mr. Campion, who thought privately that all young persons who voluntarily shut themselves up half their lives alone, scribbling down lies in the pathetic hope of entertaining or instructing their fellows, must necessarily be the victims of some sort of phobia, was duly sympathetic."
Four daggers out of four.

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