The Fashion in Shrouds (Albert Campion Mystery #10)
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The Fashion in Shrouds (Albert Campion #10)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  929 ratings  ·  61 reviews
First, there is a skeleton in a dinner jacket. Then a corpse in a golden aeroplane. After another body, Albert Campion nearly makes a fourth . . .
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 9th 2007 by Vintage Books (first published 1938)
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Miriam
Feb 28, 2014 Miriam rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: brittle misogynists
Shelves: gender, mystery
Somehow I've gotten onto a string of misogynistic women authors. Compared to this the last one, Christie's Blue Train, seems quite mild. At least its sexism is of a more paternal tone -- oh, you women are so silly and unable to control your feelings --rather than truly hateful. The women here are not just irrational, but also vicious, selfish, dishonest, and amoral. And this despite the fact that the male characters do all the murdering and most of the other crimes. When women commit their sordi...more
Leonie
I do like Allingham's books; even their vices, such as quite a dense style that could be understandably considered awkward at times, and plots that depend on fanciful characters and coincidences, appeal to me. But I've come to realise that I don't actually like her detective, Campion, that much, and that was particularly the case here. Most of all, this is one of those weird misogynistic novels women write sometimes, when you get the sense they would like to believe women weren't inferior, becau...more
Azar
The only thing that really hurts this book is that you have to take it in the context of its time. There is blatant racist and sexist content, but it *was* written in 1938, when the world was still ignoring what Hitler was doing in Europe, so that's not really surprising. I'm not saying that should be ignored, but don't throw out the good with the bad because aside from that the book is *very* good (in fact, if not for that I would've given it five stars).

Now, I'll be honest, this is Albert's lo...more
Jill Hutchinson
I am usually an Albert Campion fan but this book just irritated me. The characters were so damn affected, hysterical, and just plain ridiculous that I had trouble getting through it. I hoped that every one of the group of suspects was guilty since I disliked them so much. Even Campion came across as a vacuous fool. Another complaint I have is that if you have not read Dancers in Mourning (which I have) you have no idea to what some of the characters are referring when they bring up, for no parti...more
Charlene Vickers
This is a dreadful book with no redeeming qualities. Campion is a sneering, contemptuous jerk; his sister is unbalanced, and not in an entertaining fashion; Lugg is cringeworthy; the secondary characters are as unlike real people as you'll ever see. It's horrendously badly written - good luck figuring out what's going on in the first three chapters - and there is no mystery.

Reviewers who think that the astonishing racism and misogyny that permeates this book is somehow historical need to think...more
Judith
The Fashion in Shrouds by Margery Allingham was originally published in 1938 and it's the tenth novel in the Albert Campion series.

A brief summary: Albert Campion has found the skeleton of Richard Portland-Smith who disappeared without a trace three years ago. The investigation of his apparent suicide, which turns out to be murder, leads to Richard's former fiancée, the actress Georgia Wells, and also to a series of deaths, apparently caused by "the hand of fate". Albert Campion's involvement is...more
Bev Hankins
The Fashion in Shrouds (1938) is another entry in the annals of Margery Allingham's detective, Albert Campion. This time, as the back of the book tells us, we have homicide with style. Fashion is the by-word of the circle where murder strikes. Among these people, the suicide of Richard Portland-Smith [not George Wells as he is identified in the blurb] is old news. But Campion has refused to accept it as passe...and, in fact, has been asked by the man's father to get to the bottom of it. As Campi...more
Lilly
The sexism in this book was utterly appalling to me. It ruined a decent detective story. It's easy to say "oh, it was written in 1938, it's just of it's time", but that's a terrible argument considering that three years earlier Dorothy L. Sayers had written the intelligent, feminist detective story Gaudy Night.
Joshua Ian
Most certainly one of the best written mystery novels I've ever encountered, both in style and form. I was writing down favorite bits of exposition the whole time I was reading. It can be a bit off-putting in its treatment of women. Ms Allingham seemed very conflicted over her ideas of how "modern" women should behave, and it came across as very angry and almost downright ugly a few times. Maybe it was her reactionary attitude to the times in which she wrote or maybe it was her self-consciously...more
Damaskcat
Albert Campion’s sister, Val, is a fashion designer who finds herself mixed up in the unexplained death of film star, Georgia Wells’ husband. Georgia is a femme fatale who seems to attract just about every man she meets including Val’s friend Alan Dell, a plane designer. Coincidentally the body of Georgia’s former fiancé who disappeared some years ago has also been found. Could Georgia be more than just the selfish vamp she definitely is?

I enjoyed this complex mystery with its portrayal of ninet...more
Andrea
This book could essentially be renamed "A Tale of Three Career Women". Written 'between the wars', you can almost see the author wrestling with old and new conceptions of what it is to be male and female - sometimes using statements which are teeth-grindingly appalling. Some of these statements come out of Campion's mouth (including the memorable suggestion that what his sister wanted to cheer her up was a "good cry or a nice rape" - there's a word used in a way we don't usually use it!).

The fir...more
Maribeth
Wow, it is hard to know where to start with this. Have the previous books I've read by Margery Allingham been edited for racial slurs, homophobic remarks, and other offensive language? And don't tell me it was just normal for the 1930s because Dorothy L. Sayers was writing earlier with a far more enlightened mind and refined language. I really found a lot of things about this book appalling.

And then we have the most anti-feminist (and completely stupid) marriage proposal EVER; this man proposing...more
Deborah
It is very interesting to see the mix of reviews on this book. Sadly, I am with the folks who did not like it as much as, well any of the other Campion books before it in the series. I can't comment on the ones after [yet]. I'll leave it to others to summarize the plot.
I like this series for the historical detail, the characters and the mystery in that order. I love Lugg. I was also looking forward to this installment because of the return of Amanda.
I found this book to be populated by way too m...more
Ruth
Lovely, mysterious, and peaceful ( for a murder mystery). That said, anyone whining about the cultural milieu needs to realize that time is linear and novels are pinned to when they are written. You don't like the characters, the language, or what the author says? Fine, stick to reading last week's NYT best sellers--they're obviously for you. Oh, and one more thing: it's FICTION folks-- not the flaming Constitution.

Whew. I didn't realize how annoyed I was at the reviewers with modern axes to gri...more
Doug
There are so many effete men, fat men, and self-destructive women-hating women in this novel it reads like a surreal play in which an effeminate, overweight man and his bitchy wife have split into multiple personalities and are dancing around each other in a mystery novel that nearly isn't a mystery novel. It is the sort of story where a man tells his sister that a rape will do her good, and you cannot tell if that statement was meant to chastise men, to slight women, or to mock the whole damn w...more
Katherine
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Asta
Well, at least Allingham succeeds in creating a group of thoroughly unsympathetic people. Unfortunately the casual racist and misogynistic comments spoil the story. I agree with another reviewer who writes that the book contains the worst marriage proposal ever. If you have never read any of Margery Allingham's mysteries, I recommend you start with something else.. I enjoyed the Coroner's Pidgin.
[G]
On the face of it, a 1930s murder mystery. But the characters and their situations are so complex, it's more than a mere crime story--it's a novel of human emotions and actions and contradictions. Although I love other murder mysteries more--for instance Dorothy L Sayers' "A Cloud of Witness", which contains tragedy and loss, as well as being great fun--"The Fashion in Shrouds" is an absolute classic of the era. Allingham never wrote anything to better it, stylistically and in terms of character...more
Les Wilson
I found nothing offensive in this book. I feel that those who see it are the ones who create it.
Sorcha
The Fashion in Shrouds by Margaret Allingham
Detective Albert Campion has a talented dress designer sister with celebrated clients. Georgia Wells is a glamorous actress who exemplifies the 1930s femme fatale. Vain, stupid, and selfish, she attracts men like moths to a flame. When these men die, Albert suspects Georgia is more deliberately fatale than alluring.
Purchased from Audible.
Published in the late 1930s, this is a book much of it's time - there's language and ideas in here that some modern...more
Nancy Oakes
First, let's get this part out of the way: who would like this book? If you are following Allingham's delightful series, this one is not to be missed; it is one of the most complex mysteries so far with a very good central plot. And if you are starting the series with this book, you'll miss something, because Amanda Fitton makes her return in this installment, so go back and read them one by one from the beginning.

Enough to whet your appetite with no spoilers: Georgia Wells is a successful actre...more
Julia
Dropping my rating down by a star after rereading. It would be even lower except that Amanda shows up in this book and she is one of my favorite Allingham characters.

This book starts off by introducting Albert Campion's sister Val who is a successful businesswoman as a fashion designer. This leads to the author musing about femininity and the difference between the sexes, both as narrator and through Campion's eyes. The issue of how women are different comes up periodically throughout the book,...more
Adam
Post Listen Review: I started listening to this with mild disinterest. There was a murder, some clues, a guy who was clearly going to solve the crime by the end but it degraded to outright dislike by the end of the book. I have never heard a more unlikeable, misogynistic protaganist in my life.

I understand it was written in the thirties and there were certainly worse things going on in the world at that time than a fictional character who hates women. I also understand that it was written by a...more
Kristen
I picked this up in audiobook format on the spur of the moment at my local library. Unfortunately, I didn't realize it was #10 in a continuing series about detective Albert Campion. The result was that I didn't know enough about the characters to really follow who was who and what was going on.

In spite of that lack of context, I absolutely loved the personality and quirks of the characters, and the man who narrated the audiobook was fantastic! He have unique voices and individual personalities t...more
Starfish
Enjoyable mystery with a nice pace, solid characterisation and one of the rare moments when I picked the murderer from relatively early on -- though I got the motive wrong. I was using Christie logic which doesn't necessarily apply to Allingham.

Book was marred by Allingham's musings on the problem of intelligent and successful women -- not quite redeemed by what is one of my favourite compliments ever ('Amanda was, as always, a perfect gent'), and a very nicely done murder.

What really ruined th...more
George
#10 in the Albert Campion amateur London sleuth mystery series. Events occur around 1938 and Campion becomes involved at the request of his sister. Mystery regards the mysterious deaths of 2 men closely involved with a popular actress.

Excellent mystery as Campion seeks to discover the killer while protecting his sister with the people involved coming from the upper levels of the fashion industry as well as the theater world.
Dot
I enjoyed listening to this 1930s mystery by the great mystery writer Margery Allingham
Her sleuth is a member of Britain' Upper Class and most of her characters are drawn also from this social level, though of course there are some villains from the lower classes to round things out.

Reading this in the 21st century one is immediately struck by attitudes towards women that were prevalent at the time is was written but which will cause any woman today to gasp in horror. For example, one male chara...more
Malcolmaffleck
Another one of the Allingham books that seems to be more about the fashion industry rather than a detective novel - the only really interesting aspect is the appearance of Val, Campion's sister and the reappearance of Amanda who goes on to become Campion's fiancee. The twist at the end is so obvious that I don't even think it should be called a twist and there isn't really much of a denouement - it simply ends once the murderer is caught, without much of an explanation from the murderer.

However,...more
Karen Rye
I did not like this book. Things I did not like:
The writing style
The characters
The plot
The datedness (couldn't forgive the racism and misogyny no matter how contemporaneous they are)
The beginning
The end
The middle

No.
Kim
It got a little tangled in the last one-third of the novel, as the author stretched to pull in far-flung threads in this web. (Shew! How's that for a belabored metaphor?) Allingham, considering her upbringing, did a remarkable job in moving beyond her comfort level, portraying a hard and ugly side of 1930s London, and gave a remarkable snapshot of police procedure relatively free of caricature.

It's a shame Allingham's novels have been allowed to go out of print. I got this copy through an Amazon...more
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30748
Aka Maxwell March.

Margery Allingham was born in Ealing, London in 1904 to a family of writers. Her father, Herbert John Allingham, was editor of The Christian Globe and The New London Journal, while her mother wrote stories for women's magazines. Margery's aunt, Maud Hughes, also ran a magazine. Margery earned her first fee at the age of eight, for a story printed in her aunt's magazine.

Soon after...more
More about Margery Allingham...
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“Why it is that a garment which is honestly attractive in, say, 1910 should be honestly ridiculous a few years later and honestly charming again a few years later still is one of those things which are not satisfactorily to be explained and are therefore jolly and exciting and an addition to the perennial interest of life.” 0 likes
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