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The Crime at Black Dudley (Albert Campion #1)

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,358 Ratings  ·  243 Reviews
Prim Dr George Abbershaw weekends in musty mansion with secret passageways - only for beloved Meg. "Most dangerous and notorious criminal" holds peculiar household hostage for missing papers. In dark, guests pass dagger to re-enact ritual where dagger bleeds in hands of killer, chair-bound Colonel Coombes is stabbed dead. Vacuous Albert Campion babbles.

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Paperback, 208 pages
Published 1973 by Penguin Books (first published 1929)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Nov 12, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it liked it
”Up the well known creek.”

I first met Albert Campion when I stumbled across the BBC TV show called Campion, starring Peter Davison. I don’t know if there is a more bizarre detective in publishing history. Having a conversation with Campion is sort of like having a conversation with Robin Williams. His mind is so brilliant that he skips ahead of us mortals, making connections, assertions, and leaps of logic that are impossible to follow step by step. We have to hope to assemble enough of the piec
Dec 08, 2014 Miriam rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
WHOA! I had a long review for this, with a discussion thread, and now they are simply gone!

And no, I definitely wasn't talking about the author in the review, so it wouldn't have been deleted for that reason.
Ivonne Rovira
Jan 29, 2015 Ivonne Rovira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Golden Age mysteries
Poor Albert Campion gets no respect — nor does his author, Margery Allingham.

Ninety years after Hercule Poirot first exercised his little grey cells in The Mysterious Affair at Styles and Lord Peter Wimsey first pranced through Whose Body?, these redoubtable detectives and their brilliant authors are still household names. But Albert Campion? Like Ngaio Marsh’s Roderick Alleyn, Gladys Mitchell’s Mrs. Bradley, or Patricia Wentworth’s Miss Silver — all of whom were quite popular in their day but h
❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
Jan 30, 2015 ❀Aimee❀ Just one more page... rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Agatha Christie fans perhaps

This one just isn't simple to rate. This rating reflects how much I personally liked it.

But then consider this was first published by a woman (in her 20's) in 1929. Also consider that this is definitely has slang from England at that time (thank goodness for my Kindle reader - I have only to highlight the word to see the slang definition) I have not read any Agatha Christie, but I have seen a few movie adaptations of her books. I would say this book definitely has that feel. Several
Dec 04, 2010 Mmyoung rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
While I found it interesting to read this book due to the part it played in Allingham’s success as a writer and as the birthing story of Albert Campion I found it otherwise to be an extremely dated and quite unfulfilling read. The datedness of the story lies not in the language or the gender roles nor the stereotypical treatment of anyone who wasn’t a member of the English upper class but rather in the author’s need to include, as was true in so many of the mystery books of that time, a massive ...more
Moira Fogarty
Nov 29, 2011 Moira Fogarty rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Alas, I did not enjoy this mystery. The pacing was awkward, the locale aggressively gothic, the romance element flat and stilted, and the setup for the crime absurdly over-the-top, with a level of emotional maturity and depth similar to what you'd find in a Scooby-Doo cartoon.

If you want to read The Crime at Black Dudley, please do so. Brace yourself for a story that feels remarkably like a transcription of the movie "Clue". Members of a random house party wander around a large isolated mansion
This is a mystery on the lines of Christie's Tommy and Tuppence stories - part thriller, part adventure, part espionage, which its overblown international criminal organisations, guns, and and secret passages. A slightly pompous settled in his ways young pathologist finds himself caught up in first murder and then the schemes of overblown criminals during a visit to the country mansion. Very English old-chaps and threatening foreigners, with women mostly there to be protected and adored.

This is
Albert Campion gatecrashes a party at Black Dudley Manor in which Colonel Coombe dies in suspicious circumstances. It turns out the Colonel was supposed to give a package to Benjamin Dawlish and it is now lost. Dawlish and his criminal gang now hold the guests captive. It becomes clear that the Colonel has been murdered to Abbershaw and the medic. However, it the quirky and mercurial Albert Campion who is instrumental in getting to the bottom of the case. Even though this is a relatively old mys ...more
Mar 16, 2015 Mo rated it liked it
2 1/2 stars

Even though this was the first book in the Albert Campion series, he only played a very minor role. Yet that was enough of an introduction to convince me that I do not want to meet him again.

Campion's total sangfroid in the presence of extreme peril, and his constant snappy one-liners at the most inappropriate of times, really started to grate on my nerves. I considered him to be completely over-the-top, and he quickly became mostly just a tiresome buffoon. His few moments of lucidit
May 04, 2016 Elisabeth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This book kind of tries to be two things at once—first, suspenseful escapades in an Old Dark Mansion with a Sinister Master Criminal in pursuit; and secondly, a traditional murder-mystery with a small circle of suspects which just happens to occur at the same time. The escapades-in-the-mansion part is very entertainingly done, but I think the book's weakness is that it doesn't give nearly enough attention to the murder mystery itself, which had a terrific initial set-up that I would have loved t ...more
Years and years ago a co-worker introduced me to mystery novels and provided me with a reading list of her favorites. Allingham's books topped her list and as soon as I started reading them I was an apostle too.

The Crime at Black Dudley is not the most readable or enjoyable of the Albert Campion novels, but it is fun to be able to start a series at the beginning and have a proper introduction to the principal character. Campion is pretty much a secondary character in this book but the reader can
Jun 16, 2015 Fanficfan44 rated it really liked it
The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham is the first Albert Campion novel and like in MC Beaton’s first Hamish MacBeth novel, Albert Campion is not the central character, he is just being introduced. The book begins as a classic isolated country manor murder mystery. The guests are trapped with no way to leave, a murder has occurred and a gangster and his minions are among the guests. The guests do manage to flee and the mystery is resolved after the guests have returned to London.

This wa
Jan 14, 2015 Ann rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
I'm ashamed to say that I have never read Margery Allingham before being offered the chance by NetGalley. Like my father, I seem to have a preference for British authors; and like my father, as he aged, I prefer the older titles with less detailed violence, sex, and language.

OPENING: "The view from the narrow window was dreary and inexpressively lonely." This sets the atmosphere perfectly for what is to follow.

A weekend party at a rural estate is ruined when the host's uncle is murdered during
May 23, 2016 Tracy rated it really liked it
What an absolute delight this read is.

Invited to a party at Black Dudley the guests find out about a ritual whereby The Black Dudley dagger, used to murder a distinguished guest in 15oo, is passed around and whoever is touched by a murderer will be covered in blood.

When someone does die, apparently of heart failure, George Abbershaw is called upon, in his capacity of a Doctor, to oversee the cremation of the body. Suspecting foul play he tries to uncover the mystery.

Although not a literary mast
Dec 28, 2015 C. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I anticipated being impressed with Margery Allingham, with no expectation of relating to 1929’s England. Masterful, entertaining work would shine through. Unfortunately, I didn’t care for Margery’s writing! I loathe use of “said”, anywhere a question is posed. I prefer dialogue that flits along without restating each speaker. However far beyond being grammatically incorrect; lazily dumping “said” into any narration following a question mark, annoys me. I know it was traditional to employ charact ...more
Apr 02, 2012 Carl rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Sayers, Christie, Chesterton
"Happy Birthday, Albert Campion!" For those of you who enjoy those Golden Age of English mysteries of the likes of Sayers, Christie, and Chesterton, Margery Allingham, widely regarded as one of the three queens of British Golden Age detective fiction, is worth adding to your reading. In "The Crime of Black Dudley," Allingham gives birth to one of those early detectives: Albert Campion. Although "Black Dudley" is marketed today as the first of the Campion mysteries, in this novel, Campion was sim ...more
Apr 11, 2008 Sharon rated it it was ok
The Crime at Black Dudley is the first Allingham mystery to include her series detective, Albert Campion, though his role in this book is secondary. Allingham supposedly created Campion as a spoof of Lord Peter Wimsey, but the character took on a life of his own and became beloved in his own right. Her books are more dated than Dorothy Sayers', and the character development is not always as complex, but many of them are still enjoyable examples of the "Golden Age" of mystery-writing.

In The Crime
THE CRIME AT BLACK DUDLEY (aka The Black Dudley Murder) (Amateur Sleuth, Albert Campion, England, 1920s) – Good
Allingham, Margery – 1st in series (EBMRG Selection)
Penguin Books, 1929, US Paperback

First Sentence: The view from the narrow window was dreary and inexpressibly lonely.

What is supposed to be an entertaining weekend at a large country home in Suffolk, becomes the site of murder, kidnapping and suspense. Dr. George Abbershaw is forced to sign a death certificate, and foolish Albert Campi
A nice middle-class doctor gets invited to an old school friend's family home for a weekend and finds an assorted guest list, including several very peculiar gentlemen. When the friend's ill uncle dies suddenly - and suspiciously - the doctor attempts to make sense out of the many plots and counter-plots that seem to be swirling below the genteel surface of the slightly odd gathering. And when a very important piece of paper goes missing, several people do quite unexpected - and deadly - things, ...more
Sep 03, 2014 Gina rated it really liked it
Shelves: campion
The first of the Albert Campion mysteries and a great introduction to the weird but wonderful fellow. This is cleverly written as there is such an early emphasis on the infamous Black Dudley Dagger Ritual, that you are lulled into a world of horrible history and superstition (thinking that this is going to be a bit of a fantasy novel), but are soon rudely awakened by a crime which is alot closer to home. Margery Allingham obviously had an open mind when she developed Campion's character, one doe ...more
May 18, 2011 C.G. rated it liked it
This was my third try at reading an Allingham mystery - apparently the third time is the charm. I'm still not in love with her or her character of Campion, but he's much better as a side character than a main hero. His wit and humor really shine through in this first novel and he certainly brings in humor during very dark parts of the story. In many ways, this version of Campion reminded me a bit of Bertie Wooster. His less-than-serious take on life, his ability to get himself into (and out of) ...more
Sep 01, 2015 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun romp that would appeal to those who enjoy Agatha Christie novels. An unusual introduction for the character of Albert Campion, and the story veers between a whodunnit and a spy mystery. That said I found it a light and easy read.
May 13, 2016 4cats rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
First in the Albert Campion series, it ticks the classic crime boxes but just didn't win me over.
Jan 25, 2009 Joy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being a HUGE fan of the Lord Peter Wimsey novels by Dorothy L. Sayers I was naturally intrigued by Margery Allingham's take on the tow-headed aristocratic sleuth. Then I watched the BBC films from the early 90s and fell in love.

The first book features Campion not as the main character and sleuth, but as another house guest (albeit a gate crashing one) at a house where a murder occurs.

Albert does sound a lot like Peter when seen through the eyes of Dr. Abbershaw. I look forward to seeing how he
Lee Holz
Mar 15, 2013 Lee Holz rated it did not like it
The Crime at Black Dudley is supposed to be a classic of detective fiction. It introduces Allingham’s detective Albert Campion. However, Campion plays no part in the solution of the murder mystery. Rather, he, his facetious banter and daring-do are relegated to a fantastic and ludicrous secondary plot that takes up most of the book and features master criminals who threaten all and sundry. As for the murder, the killer is obvious from the beginning though the actual motive is revealed at the ver ...more
Roisin Shanahan
Mar 03, 2016 Roisin Shanahan rated it liked it
The action takes place at a country house weekend party at Black Dudley. The story is told from the viewpoint of George Abbershaw who was invited down by Wyatt Petrie. A further cast of characters includes two foreigners and Dr Whitby who are aquainted with Wyatts uncle only and Albert Campion, hero of many Allingham books. After dinner the legend surrounding the Black Dudley Ritual Dagger is told and the houseguests decide to do the annual ritual that evening. The ritual involves putting out al ...more
Middle Sister
The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham, republished by Bloomsbury Reader in May 2015. List price: $5.99 for Kindle.

Strongly recommended for fans of traditional or cosy mysteries, especially British manor house mysteries or the Golden Age of Mystery.

Albert Campion plays a minor, almost a cameo role, in his first appearance in the classic mystery series begun by Margery Allingham in 1929 with The Crime at Black Dudley.

The story has all the hallmarks of the Golden Age Mysteries: a house pa
Feb 20, 2016 Miranda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful read in the genre of locked room mysteries! I received this novel as an ARC from NetGalley and enjoyed the quick light read. I love British style locked room mysteries and this fit the bill. The novel is full of secret passage ways, mysterious rituals, polite society and a dangerous gang. I believe this book is a reprint from an older novel and I am interested to see how it does. I know I love this style of novel and I hope that other people do too.

I was reminded of several differen
Feb 16, 2016 Hapzydeco rated it really liked it
For an 87 years old novel, Margery Allingham’s first foray into the world of Albert Campion creates a creepy atmosphere that will keep the reader in wonder.
Jun 16, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-thrillers
The Crime at Black Dudley – An Oldie but a Goodie

The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham was originally published in 1929 here in the UK and across the pond in America where it was known as The Black Dudley Murder. This excellent novel became the first in what became the Campion Mystery series that was popular when written and even the grand old dame of crime fiction Agatha Christie recommended her writing.

Although in The Crime at Black Dudley is considered the first in the Campion Series
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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)
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“as might have been expected, in the dinner-jacket he had worn on the previous evening. His explanation was characteristic. ‘Most extraordinary,’ he said, in his slightly high-pitched voice.” 0 likes
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