Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Classics Circuit: Black Plumes by Margery Allingham

First off, let me say that I was thrilled beyond thrilled when the Classics Circuit decided to have a Golden Age of Detective Fiction tour.  Agatha Christie was a huge part of childhood; I spent many summers reading to our next door neighbor, the elderly Mrs. Jenkins, Agatha Christie novels.  I went through a phase where I read nothing but Christie ( I think I was 11 or 12).

Of course, this post is not about Agatha Christie, it is about Margery Allingham's novel Black Plumes.  Sadly, I only read about one Christie book every year.  I've come to the point we're I can guess the culprit every stinking time with Christie.  This is why Allingham was so fabulous for me to read right now.  I experience the same suspense and wonder reading Black Plumes --  my first, but most certainly not my last Allingham -- as I did when reading Christie as a girl.

The plot is told from the point of view of Frances, a wealthy 20 year-old woman who is concerned about her relative Robert's care of her father's gallery: a painting has been slashed, important programs burned, and a priceless vase broken.  Now Robert has the audacity to suggest she marry his assistant -- the sneering and sneaky Henry Lucar.  Things go down hill quickly from this point on, there are several murders and the perpetrator is thought to be within the household. 

Any more information would spoil the entire tale, but let me tell you that I was guessing up until the very end.  I suspected a half dozen people and was surprised to learn the identity of murderer.

Get thee to the library -- I'm going tonight and it is no mystery that I'll be coming home with a hefty stack of Allingham!


Aarti said...

Oh, I'm so glad you enjoyed this! I just picked it up this weekend along with another Allingham that I found in the used bookstore. I've heard many good things about her, and I'm quite happy that you enjoyed this one even though it's not the first in the series. Yay!

Anonymous said...

Interesting - I think this is the only Allingham novel I haven't read yet. Her series character, Albert Campion, is not in this one, and my understanding is that it's not typical of her books. However, your description sounds interesting, and I will have to add it to the ever-growing To Be Read pile. Thanks!

Teresa said...

I went through a brief Allingham phase years ago, right after I graduated college, but I've forgotten what I read during that time! I enjoyed the Campion novel I read last year and really want to read more. This one sounds good!

Thanks so much for joining the Circuit!

Hannah Stoneham said...

Isn't she great? I love Agatha Christie but like you, I have now read most of them and the ones that I have not, I find it easy to guess - there is almost a key to the solution in every crime writer - you just have to get used to them.... I took a load of Margery Allingham novels on my honeymoon (I think that my husband thought that this was a slightly curious choice!) but this one was not included. i will have to seek it out.

Thanks for sharing


Nymeth said...

I have a feeling she's an author I'd really like. *adds to list*