Friday, June 9, 2017

The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham

I decided to give this a go after the book on women crime writers because I've never read Margery Allingham before. This is going to be a hard review to write because I liked it, but I was also very confused by it.

The Tiger in the Smoke starts with a potential blackmail case. Meg is about to get married, but she's getting photos featuring someone who looks suspiciously like her dead husband. Obviously this is a problem because if he's alive, she can't get married. Albert Campion is called in to solve this mystery but it quickly when people start turning up dead. And then Meg's fiancé disappears (he's got a few chapters from his POV so it's not that big a mystery).

To be honest, I was really confused for a lot of this book. I was expecting something about the return of a seemingly dead person and all these people disappearing and the wrong dead bodies turning up thing threw me for a loop.

But I have to admit that I was reading this in bits and pieces, before and after work so the confusion could just be me not processing things properly.

As things progressed, however, the fog began to clear and I started to understand how things fit. By the end, even though there's no huge denouncement a la Poirot, I knew what had happened and the mystery presented at the start was solved.

Now about the characters. I found most of the characters to be very interesting individuals and I really enjoyed reading them. That said, I wasn't really sure how this is an Albert Campion mystery when I barely felt his presence in the book. Perhaps it's because this is book 14 and the author expects the reader to know him by now, but I didn't really think of him as a good detective (or a detective, to be honest). I guess this is how people reading a Poirot book where he only appears at the end (like Cat -among the Pigeons) feel. If you don't know the main character, s/he doesn't really grab your attention.

All that being said, I would be interested in reading more from Margery Allingham. I had fun and I did enjoy reading the book, even though I was confused for most of it. Just letting the story wash over me was good enough, and I hope that if I read more, I start to root for Campion (and figure out who are the regular Hastings-like characters are)


  1. I haven't tried this author before, but The Tiger in the Smoke sounds interesting. I've read a few books that confuse me until all the pieces fall into place. There seem to be the ones when the author does it on purpose for effect and other times I wonder if it is just me not getting it.

    1. I wonder too. I'll probably try another one of her books when I have a lot more free time, so that I can read and reread if need be.


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