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Traitor's Purse (Albert Campion #11)

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  1,022 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
Celebrated amateur detective Albert Campion awakes in hospital accused of attacking a police officer and suffering from acute amnesia. He was on a mission of vital importance to His Majesty's government. Now on the run, he cannot even recognize his faithful servant Lugg or his own fiancée. Can he put the puzzle together in time?

All the books from Albert Campion series are
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 2nd 2006 by Vintage (first published 1940)
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GeraniumCat I think you will enjoy the series more if you start with one of the earlier ones, though perhaps not with the first in which Mr Campion appears,…moreI think you will enjoy the series more if you start with one of the earlier ones, though perhaps not with the first in which Mr Campion appears, Mystery Mile - in that he appears as a minor character, but Allingham says he ran away with the story! The Fashion in Shrouds might be a good place to start, it introduces the characters and the tone of many of the books well, and if you get hooked you could always go back and start at the beginning.
A couple of the books (The Tiger in the Smoke and Traitor's Purse) are as good as crime novels get, in my opinion, and many people do read Tiger... as a standalone. But if you fall for Albert Campion, you'll want them all, and to savour them as you go.(less)

Community Reviews

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Sep 16, 2016 Nigeyb rated it liked it
After reading about her brother, Philip Allingham, in his excellent 'Cheapjack', I finally got round to sampling some Margery Allingham. ‘Traitor's Purse’, is a book I'd identified some time ago as a good entry point. Before reading it I'd enjoyed a radio adaptation.

Traitor's Purse’, was written in 1940 at the beginning of WW2 and has an ingenious war related plot that, whilst invented by Margery Allingham, was coincidentally something the Nazis had actively considered around the same time.

Aug 06, 2009 Azar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I take it back. While I still adore Sweet Danger beyond belief, this book has completely and utterly stolen the crown of my favorite Campion book from it.

Amanda returns again (you'll probably notice I tend to adore the books with her in them) and this time Albert *finally* gets it, what the reader has seen all along, that she is the perfect partner for him in every sense of the word and he is head over heels in love with her. Naturally, it takes a bad case of traumatic amnesia to do it and his t
Janne Varvára
Apr 03, 2013 Janne Varvára rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Albert Campion, who doesn't remember he is Albert Campion, wakes up in the hospital, without memory, and overhears a police man talking to a nurse in the hall: The cop is guarding a patient who got knocked out in a brawl where he killed another officer.

It's simply an awesome start for a plot. Our hero is confused, doesn't even know who he is, but has a vague idea that he has to do something very important, somewhere. From thereon out, he pieces together his life and his case.

I absolutely adored
This is one of the strongest of the Campion books - almost pure thriller, set on the eve of World War II. Campion wakes, not knowing anything, even himself, hears a discussion of coming murder charges, and escapes into a non-stop freefall of pretending he knows what the hell is going on, with every second person he meets expecting him to save the world from a threat he can't even remember.

Strongly recommended that both "Sweet Danger" and "The Fashion in Shrouds" be read before this, or you'll mi
Nov 16, 2010 Dan rated it really liked it
An unusual entry in the entertaining Albert Campion series. As the book opens, the detective has no idea who or where he is - he just knows there's a threat and he has to get away. The wartime plot is pedestrian, but Allingham's effortlessly literary style and the amnesiac hero's very slowly dawning consciousness of the crimes being committed and planned around him make this a gripping tale reminiscent of "The 39 Steps" or even "North by Northwest."
Jul 03, 2009 Cece rated it it was amazing
Best of the best-but it only makes sense if you have read the series in order. Very dependent on previous knowledge of characters and plots that came before.
Anthony Peter
Sep 19, 2015 Anthony Peter rated it it was amazing
Had only ever read snippets of Margery Allingham before, and always as part of 'O' Level test papers; so, had never thought I'd like her much. Saw a cheap copy of 'Taritor's Purse in the local secondhand bookshop, so, in for a penny in for a pound (2 in fact), bought it.

I thought all my ancient prejudices were going to be confirmed after 10 pages as I hadn't much of an idea what the hell was going on, but by covering the next 10 pages I got it: when your detective-protagonist has received a hel
Aug 05, 2015 pinknantucket rated it liked it
I bought this book on impulse immediately after reading AS Byatt declare it one of her favourites, in an article for the Guardian. If it's good enough for AS Byatt, it's good enough for me, I thought. And it is indeed a very satisfying mystery, with quite a different sort of villain in the end - I wouldn't have minded a bit more detail about that side of things, actually.

The big twist here is that our hero (Albert Campion) wakes up in a hospital bed and can't remember who is is or what he shoul
Mar 11, 2010 Stven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: already Campion fans
A very odd Albert Campion story that begins not with our hero his usual unflappable self but bewildered by amnesia in the midst of a supersecret mission for King and country during WWII. I always used to think of this hero-with-amnesia plot device as Roger Zelazny's, since he opens the Nine Princes in Amber series with it, but I see now that Zelazny was preceded by another. The device itself is not entirely satisfying, but Allingham commits herself to it, perseveres, and makes the best anyone co ...more
Michalle Gould
Jul 26, 2015 Michalle Gould rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was almost like a Hardy Boys' novel for adults, really fun. I do feel guilty about not taking it like 100% seriously as literature since the article by AS Byatt that got me to read it seemed to be urging me to do exactly that. I don't think it quite transcends the genre as much as I think Byatt does but I did really enjoy it and would highly recommend.
Apr 04, 2008 Mairi rated it really liked it
Loved it. Couldn't put it down. It's tense, engaging and contains a surprising number of layers of story for a volume so slim.
Feb 12, 2016 Magistra rated it really liked it
4 1/2 stars! The best of the Campion books, in my opinion. Allingham weaves the plot like a master and when it all comes together at the end, every small detail is in place.
Lynsey Dalladay
May 28, 2016 Lynsey Dalladay rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, intelligent and wonderfully plotted, one of my favourite Campions with some beautiful characterisations.
Dec 26, 2016 Faith rated it it was amazing
A brilliant mystery – how does a man with amnesia unmask a national conspiracy?

I fell in love with Albert Campion on the TV series, but years ago I really disliked The Affair at Black Dudley (the first Campion). I don’t know if it was just bad book timing, but after reading Traitor’s Purse I feel I have been missing out!

This is one of her finest books according to many and I can see why. The book plunges straight into the plot – a man wakes up in a hospital, overhears that he’s killed a policema
Morgan McGuire
Jan 03, 2017 Morgan McGuire rated it really liked it
Allingham's only book without the farcical elements...and a magnificent WWII thriller, mystery, and action novel as a result!
An Odd1
Jul 30, 2013 An Odd1 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Albert Campion, tall, thin, 30s, wakes with amnesia, overhears a policeman has been killed, and scampers from hospital garbed in fireman's "oilskins" p 25 coat and "colossal" p 20 wellies. Lady Amanda Fitton 20s "small but erect .. heart-shaped face and the disconcertingly intelligent light brown eyes" p 25 is a bright young light of calm and hope, until she cancels their nuptials next month in favor of wealthy suitor Lee Aubrey. Neck fatally broken (my grandad's healed), old Anscombe, Hereditar ...more
Jan 23, 2013 Sara added it
One day last year I came across this paperback in the mystery section in Barnes and Noble. The publisher's name caught my eye: Felony and Mayhem Press. What an intriguing name for a publisher, I thought. There were about 5 others in this series on the shelves by different authors. This is a new publishing company whose mission is to bring back in print the works of mystery writers that were popular about 50 or 60 years ago, many of whom at the time were as well known and loved as authors like A ...more
Jan 17, 2016 Carlton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
A really enjoyable thriller/mystery story. I read 15 of Allingham's Albert Campion novels in 1991/92, having read many of Sayer's Peter Wimsey novels and thinking that Campion was a good imitation, but imitation nevertheless. By the time I read this (11th in the series), I was clearly feeling jaded and only rated it average in memory.
Rereading it 24 years later and I find it a fascinating idea, beautifully executed, so revise my rating of the story accordingly.

The story starts with Albert Campio
Nancy Butts
May 24, 2016 Nancy Butts rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Book 11 in the Albert Campion series, and although it is one of the most highly-rated of Allingham’s novels, and I did think her writing was taut, it’s not my favorite. Part of that is purely an aesthetic preference; I’m not a fan of wartime thrillers, which this book is. It is set during the first year of World War II, and since not just one but intersecting episodes of traumatic amnesia afflict Campion in this book, he is like a grandfather to Jason Bourne.

Initially, the amnesic scenes were h
Girl with her Head in a Book
In my final semester at university, I studied an English module on the 1940s - it was amazing. It also came with a fairly hefty supplementary reading list which as a reading enthusiast I am still slowly working my way through. Traitor's Purse was one of these which I grabbed from the pile when I had a long train journey up to Scotland - a spy story set and published during the 1940s. It was a strange experience reading it now, two years post-graduation. Odd snippets from the module kept springin ...more
Apr 20, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
...And Allingham changes style again. Three years after her last Campion adventure, she's completely given up the ghost of the upper-class murder mystery that informed most of the 1930s; now, she's devoted herself completely to the World War II spy thriller. This isn't the light, Golden Age romp we got ten years earlier with Mystery Mile at all. This is serious business, made all the more urgent by starting in media res. Albert Campion wakes up in hospital with a head injury and amnesia, and fro ...more
Simon Mcleish
Aug 04, 2012 Simon Mcleish added it
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here& in August 2000.

Traitor's Purse is one of my favourite Campion novels, notwithstanding the absurdities of the plot. Campion struggling with amnesia while trying to save the country from a sinister plot of some kind - though he can't remember what - is one of Allingham's most human creations, transcending the cold caricature of her early novels. (It is not that I don't enjoy the earlier novels, it's just that it's here that Campion becomes real.)

The novel'
Kim Fay
Aug 18, 2013 Kim Fay rated it really liked it
Lately I have been exploring classic mystery novels, in order to understand how a good mystery is crafted. I've checked out Perry Mason and Miss Marple. I've liked some, and I could take or leave others. Of note among these volumes is Traitor's Purse. It's the 11th in the Albert Campion mystery series, and although I've never read a Campion mystery before, I was able to follow without needing to have back story explained ... sort of. But that's because of the way the story is told. It opens with ...more
Dec 31, 2013 Malcolmaffleck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is - by far - the best Campion book I've read and I think the main reason for that is that Campion has to actually do some detective work due to his amnesia and that the reader finds themselves knowing just as much as Campion does throughout the main part of the book. With underground bases, spy rings and Campion being a bit more of an action here (grenades, punch ups and running onto moving trains) it almost feels like a James Bond action movie, not a detective story from the Golden Age.
Jul 27, 2015 Yeemay rated it liked it
What a fabulous plot: the protagonist wakes up with partial amnesia but knows he has only days to save the country. The reader sees the unforlding of the story through AC's eyes. It made me laugh out loud, gasp at the cliffhanger chapter endings, thrill to the pursuit. Very John Buchan and Hitchcockian. It may have been me, but the pace did dip a little for me in the middle of the first third. mainly because I wasn't sure what I didn't know and what it was I needed to know. But I was soon carrie ...more
James Robertson
Jan 13, 2014 James Robertson rated it liked it
Wonderful opening and premise for this thriller: a man wakes up in hospital with no knowledge of who he is or how he got there, then overhears that he may have killed a policeman. He also has a strong sense that there is something vital he must do to prevent some great evil - but he can't remember what it is. Acting entirely on instinct in a fog of uncertainty, he has to find out.

Written in and set during the Second World War, this Albert Campion mystery doesn't quite sustain the brilliance of i
Dec 29, 2014 Cynthia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read this one before but am re-reading all the Campions, out of order. This is one of the later books, and one of the better ones. I don't want to give a spoiler so let me just say that it's the one in which Campion, who is kind of a very slight, often nasty character in the earlier books kind of reappraises who he is and is sort of reborn. Interestingly, in the Campion books that followed this one, he becomes actually a minor character but the later books are actually better, with more int ...more
Nancy Oakes
Truthfully I didn't like this one as much as others have liked it but that's okay. Once I started reading it, I felt muddled in the head, but then again, in this installment our hero Albert Campion wakes up in a hospital with amnesia and is foggy, so I guess I was right there along with him.

After waking with amnesia, he remembers that there's something vital he must do, but all he can think of is the number 15. With Amanda by his side, he tries to reconstruct what it is that depends on his inter
Nov 03, 2008 Miriam rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery, campion
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 23, 2013 Julia rated it really liked it
This is one of my favorite Albert Campion stories. Campion wakes up with amnesia during a critical case. Amanda plays a key role in the story (probably why I like it so much).

I've been re-reading the Campion books, but stopped for a while after The Fashion in Shrouds because the sexism in that one bothered me so much. (I hadn't remembered it being that bad.) But this makes me glad I decided to go on. The sensibility is not what I would put up with in a totally modern novel, but Amanda's role and
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Aka Maxwell March.

Margery Louise 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.

More about Margery Allingham...

Other Books in the Series

Albert Campion (1 - 10 of 26 books)
  • The Crime at Black Dudley (Albert Campion Mystery #1)
  • Mystery Mile (Albert Campion Mystery #2)
  • Look to the Lady (Albert Campion Mystery #3)
  • Police at the Funeral (Albert Campion Mystery #4)
  • Sweet Danger (Albert Campion Mystery #5)
  • Death of a Ghost (Albert Campion Mystery #6)
  • Flowers for the Judge (Albert Campion #7)
  • The Case of the Late Pig (Albert Campion Mystery #8)
  • Dancers in Mourning (Albert Campion Mystery #9)
  • The Fashion in Shrouds (Albert Campion Mystery #10)

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