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The Crime at Black Dudley (Albert Campion #1)

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  2,601 ratings  ·  178 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.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published 1973 by Penguin Books (first published 1929)
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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldTrapping the Butterfly by Debra ParmleyThe Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy ParkerThe Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha ChristieBrideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
I am '20s, hear me roar!
36th out of 250 books — 108 voters
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Stately Home mysteries
41st out of 110 books — 40 voters

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Community Reviews

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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.
Aimee ❀just one more page...❀
Jan 30, 2015 Aimee ❀just one more page...❀ rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Ivonne Rovira
Jan 29, 2015 Ivonne Rovira rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
Moira Fogarty
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
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
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
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
Apr 02, 2012 Carl rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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
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
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
Jann Barber
I received this from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. I have not read any of the Campion books before and was interested to find (from Wikipedia) that Allingham originally intended Dr. George Abbershaw, a pathologist who was occasionally called in by Scotland Yard as a consultant, to be the hero of this book and any future mysteries. However, Campion’s character seemed to be more memorable, and the publishers encouraged her to use him as her focus.

The story was layered. A house party
Kindle Monthly Deal |

Better than so many of the Golden Age British mysteries that get recommended to me, crammed full of plot but manages to make it work out, though the actual solution to the murder was clear from about 30% into the book. |

I didn't expect to like this particularly, as there have been so many more famous authorial names of the time period who wrote mystery series with characters who are just as well-known as their creators, which I have really not cared for. Something about th
Sweet heaven, this was tedious. Just how many trap doors and escapes and recaptures and escapes and more trap doors and escapes and recaptures do we have to go through? I started to suspect something when the action started far from when the novel ended. When they were, for about the jillionth time, captured again, I finally gave up and checked Wiki. Wiki has saved me countless hours of plowing through tedious books such as this just to at least know what eventually happened. Thank you, Wiki. Re ...more
The first in the series of Albert Campion "mysteries," although it's easy to dismiss this one and move straight on to "Mystery Mile," the first to focus on Campion as the protagonist. Frankly, it's obvious from the start that these aren't true mysteries in the traditional sense: an Allingham novel rarely gives the audience the ability to put all of the pieces together on their own, and this one is no exception. It is more accurate, really, to call the Campion books adventure-thrillers, and usual ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Two stars only for this series-beginner, because it was so awfully familiar. I realise it was a product of its time but the similarities with Ngaio Marsh's first Inspector Alleyn novel were startling. Country-house party with far too many people to keep them all straight, a dagger in the dark, and an obscure but powerful organisation of baddies. There are far too many baddies, as well--hard to keep them all straight. The arch-enemy is a stereotypical Hun, which probably played very well in post- ...more
A weekend house party, a ritual involving an ancient dagger, a murder, stolen documents, house guests held hostage. Sounds like the perfect weekend. This is the first of Margery Allingham's novels to feature her amateur detective Albert Campion, but strangely he is only in a supporting role here. I found this book entertaining, especially when Campion was on the scene but I expect this series gets better as it goes along.
Barth Siemens
Early comment ...
The opening scenes were jumbled; might have dropped the book were it written by a lesser-known author. But the story has caught me and we're going steady.
At the end ...
Albert Campion barely makes an appearance and doesn't contribute to the sleuthing—more of a wild card. Actually, there wasn't much sleuthing to speak of, but it was an enjoyable, light adventure.
I prefer Margery Allingham for old time mysteries, even though the criminals are a bit dated, (slang and violence wise), her books are well plotted and never with the the derogatory remarks about other nationalities, religions, classes, or women that other authors from the early to mid 1900s so often express.
Intelligent "cozy" British murder mystery writer of the 1930's (ish). I love her quirky Albert Campion (Gentleman Sleuth), unusual plots and well-written characters. This book does not disappoint.
This may be old enough to collect Social Security and probably be in a retirement community, but you’d hardly know it since this sparkles with all the elements of some of our best modern mysteries.

An old spooky British mansion with secret passages, a weekend gathering of friends, a deadly game played with a dagger in the dark, some sweet romance, and a danger that goes beyond the small village limits helps create one terrific page turner of a mystery.

You know what? You deserve a treat today – he
This is a vintage mystery novel that largely takes place in a British country home. (aka The Black Dudley). It is also the first Albert Champion novel. All of those facts being said, this really isn't a good novel. Mainly, I kept reading it and wondering why it was still continuing. Several chapters are retreads of previous chapters and characters frequently spin their wheels and the plot stalls out. Further, Champion isn't the main character and we really don't learn anything about him anyway. ...more
I received a free copy from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Bloomsbury USA.
A whodunit in an old mansion that was once a monastery, set in the olden days, a haunted dagger, a dangerous game... I should have loved this book with a passion. Unfortunately, even if I did like it, I wasn't as engrossed by the mystery as I had expected. All the good detectives in classic crime literature must have some flaw, but Albert Campion is not such a likable character. He is not even that
George Abbershaw, who is really quite a bore despite occasionally consulting for Scotland Yard, only agreed to come to the creepy old Suffolk manor of Black Dudley because Meggie was going to be there. His relaxing romantic weekend turns to terror when an innocent after-dinner game of hide-and-seek with a dagger ends in death. On top of that, there is a dangerous gang of criminals about. Luckily, the inimitable Albert Campion is on the scene, ready to save the day while prattling like an idiot. ...more
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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)
  • 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
  • Traitor's Purse (Albert Campion Mystery #11)
Police at the Funeral (Albert Campion Mystery #4) The Tiger in the Smoke (Albert Campion Mystery #14) Mystery Mile (Albert Campion Mystery #2) Sweet Danger (Albert Campion Mystery #5) The Fashion in Shrouds

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