★ [PDF / Epub] ☄ The Tiger in the Smoke By Margery Allingham ✪ – Peakpopa.info
Sometime in the 1980s my local paper, the San Francisco Chronicle, published the favorite mysteries of Dilys Winn, editor of Murder Ink and Murderess Ink, which are apparently companion volumes for fans.I used to clip the reviews of appealing new books with the intent of getting around to them a pre internet version of the To Be Read shelf Like my TBR shelf here on Goodreads, that file got really thick, and most of the stuff in it was ignored and forgotten.But I recently decided to get rid of some clutter, and got around to my files Most of the stuff in the Reading List file went straight into the recycling bin, but a few caught my eye One was a report I d apparently requested and paid for on what books were considered required reading in American secondary education I presumably wanted to double check my literacy, and I see that I still haven t read many of those undoubted classics If you want to take a look at the list, I turned it into one of Goodread s Listopias here.Anyway, this was one of the favorites listed on that faded newspaper clipping And I m glad I read it it s really good Not literary classic good, but a cut above most of the detective mystery fiction I ve read It s probably been twenty years since I read any Agatha Christie, but based on vague recollections, I think I like this better I think it has a better er, dynamic range of personalities than I remember from Christie Maybe not.What really struck me was that the people that populate this foggy London just after World War II seem closer in spirit to Dicken s London than our own Some of the sad miscreants don t seem to have any counterpart in this modern world That gives this a peculiar feel of a world times now that coal is no longer a common fuel, even the legendary London fogs that provide such a mood within this story have now gone.I see from Wikipedia that the author died many decades ago, so I won t encourage you to buy a new copy of this, but see if it is available at your local library and spend a few evenings with this gem. This is the fourteenth novel in the Albert Campion series and was published in 1952 The book begins with Meg Elginbrodde and Geoffrey Levett in a taxi Levett is a wealthy businessman, used to getting what he wants and he is desperately in love with Meg and intends to marry her The problem is that since their engagement was announced, Meg has been receiving photographs from her husband who she believed had died in the war She has turned to Campion and Detective Chief Inspector Charles Luke for advice, when a meeting is proposed between her and her former husband The man she glimpses across the fog bound platform of a station is certainly not her husband, but the mystery deepens after he is questioned and released.What follows is an extremely atmospheric mystery set in a post war, weary London in a middle of a pea souper fog As events escalate, Levett goes missing and witnesses are killed A convict called Jack Havoc has escaped from prison he is hunting a treasure , while Luke and Campion search for him in the Smoke, which is the fog bound city of London There are some wonderful characters, such as the saintly Canon Avril, the brilliantly named Tiddy Doll and the elusive Havoc himself the Tiger of the story.I had only read one Campion novel before and I found myself a little lost so far into the series, as obviously you were meant to know some familiar characters However, Campion himself did not feature strongly in the book, meaning that it worked quite well as a stand alone story London itself battered, weary, down at heel is almost a character in itself Everyone stumbles around, unable to see and events are revealed slowly, almost as glimpses through the fog If you are interested in London shortly after the war, then this novel gives you a great view of the City at that time and is worth reading just for the historical aspect of the book Rated 3.5 London, The Smoke To Cockneys And The Hipsters Who Appropriate Their Slang, Is Living Up To Its Nickname An Unusual Cold Snap Has Combined With The Fug From Coal Fires To Produce The Great Smog , Blanketing The City In Choking Shadow And Lurking In Those Shadows Is Jack Havoc, A Killer With A Particular Fondness For Knives Havoc Is By Far The Most Dangerous Villain That Albert Campion Has Ever Encountered, And His Startlingly Realistic Menace, Combined With The Light Touch Common To All The Campion Novels, Gives The Book A Modern Feel, As It Straddles A Line Between Golden Age Detective Fiction And Contemporary Psychological Suspense This review contains minor spoilers.Reputed to be one of Margery Allingham s finest novels, The Tiger in the Smoke is an intelligent crime and detection novel set in a unique period of time just a few years after World War II a time when poor people were still very poor and had a rough life, when most men were ex servicemen many with terrible memories of violence and many having committed them for their country at what cost A time when London was plagued by smog though that term was not used when this book was written, so it is called simply fog.The fog smog lends a darkness and opaqueness to many scenes in the story and permits the gang of baddies move around unnoticed, aided by the fact that they are a motley crew ostensibly just begging loose change from the public.The title refers to the principal murderer moving around in London, which is often known, even today, as The Smoke This man is a psychopath with, we are told, no hope of redemption, though a clergyman in the story believes everyone is worth the time and effort to be saved There is a moving and atmospheric scene when his desire to help this troubled young man overcomes his fear of danger, leading to interesting and realistic consequences.Other than the murderer, the main characters are amateur I think investigator Albert Campion, Allingham s most well known creation a clever and resourceful police detective named Charlie Luke who often steals the scenes and Geoffrey Levett, a former army officer, cool customer and thoroughly good egg It is refreshing to read a crime novel in which the detective is not a bumbling idiot easily bettered by the private dick but actually experienced, intelligent and good at his job.The story unfolds slowly and although we are given clues along the way it is difficult at first to figure out any motive for what is happening Ultimately it feeds into hidden treasure and the bond between men involved in a clandestine and violent special operation that took place during the war As the pieces begin to fit together we learn about the characters, their histories, fears, capabilities and their dreams and desires.Allingham draws her characters well, giving them a history, depth, motives drivers and a rationale for their actions These ring true and are what raises this novel above many others of the genre Sometimes I can watch a film and a character may do something that obviously puts them in danger and I think why on earth would they do that In this story, Allingham fleshes them out so well that you understand those reasons and can respect them for it.There is a lot of action and derring do in this book but also subtlety, thoughtfulness and intelligence I loved it.Five stars.Interestingly, the book I read before this one was Churchill s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, which was all about SOE and the men who undertook secret missions that were small scale but hugely important to the war effort These men, some of whom were unsavoury characters used for expediency s sake there is a war on you know , were highly trained, including in techniques of silent killing and the methods of most easily taking out an enemy This was fresh in my mind and fed into this story, adding a bit weight to it for me. A good story but a thriller than detective story Jack Havoc is a psychopath with a fixation on the code he lives by or the science of luck Very atmospheric with the fog of London The story starts with Megs husband apparently back from the dead Jack Havoc escapes from prison A gang of misfits accidentally kidnaps Megs fianc e I loved the setting of a fog bound London very atmospheric and then the switch to a remote place in France What follows is a roller coaster of murders and desperation on both sides Luke the detective running on gas vapors and Campion really only playing a minor role A good story though and karma appears at the end. From the very first, this book gripped me Margery Allingham discloses a mystery right from page two when Meg and her fiance are presented with a dilemma Meg s first husband, Major Elginbrodde, thought to have died during the war, has suddenly resurfaced, just days before Meg s wedding.Thankfully Meg has resources available to her, and she immediately turns over the case to Detective Albert Campion But even with the aid of Campion and the expertise of the local police force, Meg is going to take some very foolish naive actions on her own initiativeAmanda saw her dark figure silhouetted against its pallid square of light for an instant Then she was gone.The other girl remained where she was, listening She heard the faint whine of the drawing room door hings, and a single step on the wood Then there was a long silence, followed by a movement in the bedroom immediately below her The intruder must have come up the stairs without her hearing a sound She stifled her breath and was aware of the noise of her own heart, and this irritated her The British burglar is not as a rule the bravest of men, and she knew that should he discover her as his torch beam wheeled across the unfurnished room, the chances were that he would be far startled than she But despite all reason she was trembling A hidden treasure, a cottage in France, a clever kidnapping, a bewildered always one step behind police force, and the London fog all work together in this incredibly fast paced, suspenseful novel.The author cleverly uses the weather that London fog to add atmosphere to the storyThis morning the fog was thicker than ever Twenty four hours of city vapours had given it body and bouquet, and its chill was spiteful and,If the fog had only cleared, tempers might have cooled, but now, at the end of the second day, it had become the father of fogs, thicker and dirtier and exasperating than any in living memory The only people who were not astounded by it were visiting Americans, who innocently supposed the capital to know no other weather and took its inconvenience in their good natured stride There are so many approaches one could take to review this multi faceted novel The author weaves together several themes but the one that seemed most prominent as I read this book was the age old as long as time itself dilemma of good and evil Could Jack Havoc be at all redeemable Canon Avril thinks he can, and his own instrically good nature compels him also to foolish too action.When one reads The Tiger in the Smoke , it is not only the atmospheric tension that draws the reader in The author effectually reveals the motivations of the human heart and the variety of personality within a net of coincidence that cleverly reveals the culmination of the storyNormally he was the happiest of men He asked so little of life that its frugal bounty amazed and delighted him The older he grew and the poorer he became, the calmer and contented appeared his fine gentle face He was an impossible person in many ways, with an approach to life which was clearsighted yet slightly off centre, and therefore disconcerting to most of his colleagues No one feared him, simple people loved and protected him as if he were daft, and he had exasperated great churchmen than any other parson alive Margery Allingham has been designated as one of the four queens of crime can you guess the other three Sayers, Marsh and Christie are all Golden Age favorites Let me just say that, if you haven t picked up Margery Allingham yet, give her a try After enjoying Allingham s expertise, my only dilemma now is deciding what to pick up next Perhaps another Allingham mystery will fit the bill London is enveloped by an almost apocalyptic smog that obscures everything, both physically and figuratively speaking A murderer is wandering the streets, searching for a way to a treasure Albert Campion is called to help on the case, but he doesn t really do much detective work, appearing instead as a distant character mostly hovering in the background Misleading, because the series is supposed to contain Albert Campion mysteries Campion isn t even his real name Allingham does a lot of dwelling with the characters personalities and their behaviour and whatnot, but the actual crime solving is left on the sidelines, whereas psychological ponderings take up a lot of space.I ended up feeling conflicted about the whole book, because Allingham is wonderful at describing London and the effect of the smog The side characters obsessed with the treasure are bizarre, in a good way My expectations just didn t click with what I got in the end, and one would have hoped the meditations on philosophical and theological issues had been integrated into the actual story Now they seemed disconnected, made reading a bit sticky, and stretched the plot unnecessarily or like halted it completely On the other hand, Campion didn t seem to have a purpose in the story, so he could have been left out entirely without it affecting in any way to anything.However, despite the poor pacing etc., the gloomy atmosphere and the fascinating ending won me over, so I ll continue with the series Maybe start from the beginning to see if the novels are any different there, or if Campion is introduced comprehensively. Just excellent Even if the true name of the villain of the piece made me laugh it s not the author s fault a famous singer later bore the same name Beautifully written The smog seemed almost like a character in itself and the whole thing was very atmospheric Campion himself didn t feature as much as he might have, but it still all worked admirably The ending was perfect Recommended. This is a thriller, not a detective novel, and a superb one The holding back of one star is because I deem the thriller genre, defined as a tale focused primarily on danger and pursuit, to be inherently limited Tiger boasts, however, a nugget of theological drama which, if it had been integrated into the fabric of the novel thoroughly, might have raised it into the same class as Dostoevsky s Crime and Punishment The killer, Jack Havoc this is not a spoiler , follows what he calls the science of luck which brings him nothing but good fortune if only he will be disciplined enough never to be soft i.e., compassionate or kind The nugget to which I refer is his encounter with a clergyman who explains what his science of luck really is This scene is not a didactic interruption, but an integral part of the plot, and would render the book worth reading even if everything else were mediocre Fortunately, the rest of the book is a tautly written, captivating narrative filled with Allingham s usual warm humanity. I find this a hard book to review cause it didn t impact me one way or another It says it is an Albert Campion mystery, but he was pretty nonexistent for the whole book The mystery seemed to solve itself For a book of this size, there certainly were an awful lot of people to meet Having never read a book by this author, I did wonder if I would have benefitted from reading earlier works What I did like about the book was the atmosphere the author created The book starts with a classic pea soup fog, which is unsettling everyone We meet Meg and Geoff who are trying to get to the train station, but are being slowed down by the fog Everything seems affected by this damn fog.The author spends time on the criminal element of the book than the detectives and people being affected They were well fleshed out the others not so much As stated Albert Campion was barely there Learnt nothing about him which was disappointing.The mystery itself was reasonably entertaining I definitely wanted to see how it would conclude Would I recommend this book not really But there are lots of people who raved about this book, so maybe it just wasn t for me.