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More Work for the Undertaker (Albert Campion #13)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  874 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Elegant and engaging detective Albert Campion investigates two deaths in the eccentric Palinode household. If poisoning were not enough, there are also anonymous letters, sudden violence and a vanishing coffin.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Vintage (first published 1948)
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Probably the most complicated of her mysteries so far, in terms of number of characters, motivations, and secrets cutting across one another.

Some time seems to have elapsed between the previous volume and this. I think I ought to have reread #12.
I'm reading Allingham's Campion series in order, and this was next on my list - interesting, but I had a hard time getting into it. I think it was because of the Palinode family, around whom the mystery (such as it is) evolves. I kept getting the impression I was supposed to find them charming and whimsical, but I just found them rather pathetic and obnoxious (made it hard to be sympathetic to them as characters, needless to say).

Also, the previous two installments of the series ("Traitor's Pur
Jonathan Palfrey
This whodunnit consists largely of an endless parade of extravagantly eccentric characters of different kinds, interacting in their own peculiar ways in an obscure corner of London. There is much mystery, but Albert Campion gets to the bottom of it in the end.

I found it readable and mildly entertaining, but rather over the top. Allingham apparently set out to paint pictures of as many distinctive characters as she could think of, and stuff them all into the same book, so that there's hardly room
I hope my three-star rating of this book will not deter others from reading it. I'm sure the fault lies more in myself; I found this book rather opaque. I originally discovered this book in HRF Keating's list of 100 best mysteries, through which I am slowly working my way. All of the books on this list are older - the list itself was compiled thirty years ago - and that may have contributed to my missing some references. I can usually make my way, but the allusions in this book were beyond me. F ...more
Candy Wood
Apr 07, 2014 Candy Wood added it
Shelves: mysteries
Nicola Humble’s book about the feminine middlebrow novel guided me to this 1948 title in one of my mother’s Detective Book Club triples. If I had read it before, it didn’t sound at all familiar. At any rate, I wouldn’t have noticed how vague the references to World War II and the London setting are. Allingham’s invented streets seem not to have suffered in the Blitz, and their features could be located in many cities, not specifically London. I found it difficult to sustain interest in either th ...more
Chock-a-block with characters, I had difficulty in keeping track of them all. I suppose that made it harder to figure out the guilty party but since the readers never actually get enough information to figure it out anyway (beyond a lucky guess, I suppose), that hardly seems to matter.

A lot of characters, but not much in the way of character development, which probably contributed to the difficulty in keeping them all sorted out. So there was no real invesment in the story, the characters or the
#13 in the Alfred Campion amateur sleuth mystery series set in London. Mystery centers on the Palinode siblings who are practically penniless and a bit eccentric after their family had been quite well off. Campion becomes involved even while resisting becoming involved. Two Palinodes have died under questionable circumstances and their appears to be no motive for this. Story line also involves the local undertaker who operates on the shady side of the law, but no evidence to show what it is.

A ni
This was really a very difficult read for me.....

I understand that Allingham's Albert Campion was/is a very popular detective...the BEEB series is well done and enormously popular, however, I got quite lost with the some of the "authentic" dialog and even some of the scenes....

This is not to say, that this was not an interesting was, but I just couldn't piece much of it together.....

I didn't like this, but I didn't Not like it either. I wish it had been easier for me to read & f
Albert Campion has been asked to help in a case which is puzzling his old boss. The Palinodes are a wealthy family which has fallen on hard times and two of them have died in what may or may not be suspicious circumstances. Campion has also been offered a job abroad which he is in two minds about whether to accept. In the end the lure of police work is something he cannot resist. The house in which all the remaining Palinodes live is situated in Apron Street which seems like a throwback to an ea ...more
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This was an interesting read. Because I've been enjoying the Lord Peter Wimsey books, these books were recommended to me, and I agree they are in the same genre. Very British, very tongue-in-cheek,very procedural mysteries. This is my introduction to Campion, a detective who has his own ways of finding things out. In this case, a very old family of eccentric brainiacs seem to be being killed off, in their home. So Campion moves in with them as a tenant to find out what's going on.
Campion has an
Another Campion book. This one takes place after WWII, and Albert has been though a lot. In the beginning he is contemplating taking up a government position and leaving the sleuthing life behind. He is now a father and has suffered a long separation from his wife. All of this puts him in no mood to explore and assist in a new police mystery. But in the end, he gives in and helps up and coming Detective Charlie Luke figure out what the heck is going on here.

Margery Allingham did a great thing w
Jill Hutchinson
I blow hot and cold with the Campion mysteries.......this one is lukewarm. I like the character of Albert Campion and his man-of-all-work, Lugg but sometimes their conversations leave me wondering exactly what they said or what they meant. This book visits the home of the eccentric Palinode family (which I kept reading as "palindrome") where a murder by poison has occurred and it is Campion's job to pull all the clues together to expose the villain or villains. In fact, there are several murders ...more
I can't say I liked this. I had the hardest time figuring out what was going on, and not just in the sections with heavy accents (which were mostly decipherable). For me, there were simply too many characters, they were introduced too quickly, and the names were either too hard to keep separate, or just plain uncomfortable for my mouth to pronounce. Plus, I found the mystery itself unsatisfying, but for reasons too spoilery and tedious to write out.
Catriona Troth
One of Allingham's later mysteries, and a clear favourite of mine.

Set right after the end of the Second World War, it is peopled by an extraordinarily eccentric Palinode family of Apron Street, and introduces Charlie Luke, the third and perhaps the most engaging of Allingham's trio of policemen.

Someone is apparently killing of the Palinodes one by one. Campion, back from his wartime service, is contemplating taking up a governorship of an unnamed island paradise. But when three calls for his h
Andrea Hickman Walker
The first thing I noticed when I opened the book was that there was a map in the front. I love books with maps. There's just something about being able to position everything clearly that makes reading a story (and especially a mystery) even more satisfying. This is an extremely well-written mystery with the most fabulous characters I have ever come across. I had no idea who had done it, though I thought the why was fairly obvious as soon as I heard about (view spoiler) ...more
Les Wilson
It may be my age, but I prefer books of this period because the fulfill the publishers word requirement with story line, not padded out with gore, sex & bad language.
The closure of World War II sees Campion at a crossroads. Now far from foolish youth, he is being encouraged to grow up completely by taking up a colonial governership. Fortunately murder among the near-destitute, charming intellectual Palinodes saves him from a fate worse than.

This book sees the introduction of Charlie Luke, an upcoming police detective who resembles a gangster, is a dynamo of energy, extremely physical, and highly entertaining to watch.

It's also pleasing to see that Amanda is
Martha Grace
Albert Campion is called upon to help the investigation when members of the Palinode family
die and poisoning is suspected. I found the English dialect a little difficult to follow but I took the book on vacation and perhaps I was a bit distracted.
Julia Alberino
An odd collection of eccentric characters is the best thing the book has going for it. It failed to engage me the way a mystery usually does, and took me an inordinate amount of time to read. The cover blurb promised more than the book ultimately delivered.
Nancy Oakes
Not one of my personal favorites, and this is #12 in the series.

In this one, Albert Campion is called upon to look into two mysterious deaths in the Palinode family. They are a group of rather eccentric people, however, the deaths are by poison, so it becomes a police matter. Throw in anonymous letters, some strange doings at the local undertaker & a missing coffin, and it makes for an adventure Campion won't soon forget.

To be really honest, I found this one somewhat tedious and had a reall
Too many characters and hard to follow at times plus I really did not care about the characters.
J.L. Rallios
Clever and satisfying mystery, but still some gaps in the solution, at least in my comprehension of the solution. It was a difficult read with lots of characters that were hard to keep track of, but the hardest was the dialect and many of the phrases. Perhaps I'm not English enough. Overall, though, it was worth the read.
Well done classic mystery set in London, 1946....
I am just about finished with this book on audio tape (not currently listed on Goodreads, apparently).

Frankly I like Allingham's writing much better than D.L. Sayers even though her plots are not very credible.
Craig Shier
“The man talked like an avalanche.” – Description of DDI Charlie Luke
Apron Street is filled with a cast of outlandish characters from secretive undertakers, to stuffy bankers right out of Dickens. Tragedy twice strikes a family of aged, poverty stricken geniuses. Suspicion becomes reality when exhumation shows they were poisoned. Albert Campion investigates but he is only the glue in a comedic, gothic romp.
One of Allingham’s best.
Convoluted but fun!
Not the best of Margery Allingham but very memorable characters. The center of the story are the Palinodes, an eccentric family that has fallen on hard times. Inspector Luke can't understand them, and Campion considers their conversation as talking in crossword clues. While the title can be taken as indicating a murder, there is an actual undertaker - Lugg's brother-in-law.
My reading fetish is needing to read series books in order. I knew I was going to be reading this and tried to get up to this point in the series, but fell far short. So I spent the first third of the book trying to figure our what was going on in Campion's life rather than focusing on the plot. The quirky characters make this a bit confusing at times, but well worth the time.
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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 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 Mystery #7)
  • The Case of the Late Pig (Albert Campion Mystery #8)
  • Dancers in Mourning (Albert Campion Mystery #9)
  • The Fashion in Shrouds
Police at the Funeral (Albert Campion Mystery #4) The Tiger in the Smoke (Albert Campion Mystery #14) The Crime at Black Dudley (Albert Campion Mystery #1) Mystery Mile (Albert Campion Mystery #2) Sweet Danger (Albert Campion Mystery #5)

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