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Traitor's Purse (Albert Campion #11)

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  982 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
Albert Campion, is in hospital, the victim of an apparent accident, with no memory of anything except the fact that the fate of the British Empire is somehow cradled in his bandaged hands.

He can?t remember his faithful manservant or his fianc, and most particularly he can?t remember killing a policeman, a crime for which whispering voices outside his hospital room claim h
Paperback, 243 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Felony & Mayhem (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)
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Sep 16, 2016 Nigeyb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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."
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
Jul 03, 2009 Cece rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Mar 11, 2010 Stven rated it really liked it
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
Feb 12, 2016 Magistra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant, intelligent and wonderfully plotted, one of my favourite Campions with some beautiful characterisations.
Apr 20, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
...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
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
Jul 27, 2015 Yeemay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 04, 2008 Mairi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Katie Hilton
Oct 27, 2015 Katie Hilton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a brilliant Albert Campion mystery/spy novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat. In the early days of WWII, Campion is called upon to unravel a situation that threatens the entire British nation. The problem is that at the onset of the story he has suffered a concussion and can't remember his assignment. He only knows that the nation depends on him. As he struggles through the motions of an investigation, some clues help bring back some recall, and a second "cosh" helps, too.
Jun 01, 2014 George rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
#11 in Alfred Campion criminologist mystery series. Opens in village hospital somewhere outside of London with Campion in bed suffering from amnesia not remembering anything previous to waking up. As bits and pieces come to him, he realizes he's on a government mission to stop something from happening and on top of a deadline. The story traces Campion's efforts to stop whatever from happening while keeping his amnesia from others and racing against a deadline.

This was an extremely good mystery!
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
Simon Mcleish
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Colin Mitchell
The story opens with Campion lying semi-conscious in a hospital bed. Has he killed a policeman, what is he up to? He staggers through but has Amanda fallen in love with someone else? Written in 1941 at a time when spies and fifth columnists were seen under every bush in rural England. This portrays the period well and the description of Campion pacing the floor of his cell had you right there with him and you can feel Lugg's hurt when Campion fails to recognise him. A good read.
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.
James Robertson
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
Julia Carpenter
Read an article in The Guardian raving about this book. Unfortunately, I found it tedious, which is about the best word I can think to describe it. I did read it on my tablet with a Kindle app, the first time I have done so, and wonder if that affected my perception, since I'm used to reading a physical book. Looks like most of the Goodreads readers liked it better than I did.
Oct 08, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mysteries, 2014
I was a little nervous going into this one, unsure of how well Allingham would be able to pull off a whole book with the amnesia theme. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to find this was the best of the last 3 or 4 I've read. I was more surprised by this one than some of the others, too.
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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 Mystery #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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