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The Tiger in the Smoke (Albert Campion #14)

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,998 Ratings  ·  173 Reviews
London, 'the Smoke' to Cockneys and the hipsters who appropriate their slang, is living up to its nickname: an unusual cold snap has combined with the fug from coal-fires to produce the 'Great Smog', blanketing the city in choking shadow. And lurking in those shadows is Jack Havoc, a killer with a particular fondness for knives. Havoc is by far the most dangerous villain t ...more
Paperback, 290 pages
Published April 16th 2010 by Felony & Mayhem (first published 1952)
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Feb 28, 2010 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a thriller, not a detective novel, and a superb one. The holding back of one star is because I deem the thriller genre, defined as a tale focused primarily on danger and pursuit, to be inherently limited. Tiger boasts, however, a nugget of theological drama which, if it had been integrated into the fabric of the novel more thoroughly, might have raised it into the same class as Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. The killer, Jack Havoc (this is not a spoiler), follows what he calls "the s ...more
May 08, 2014 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourteenth novel in the Albert Campion series and was published in 1952. The book begins with Meg Elginbrodde and Geoffrey Levett in a taxi. Levett is a wealthy businessman, used to getting what he wants and he is desperately in love with Meg and intends to marry her. The problem is that since their engagement was announced, Meg has been receiving photographs from her husband - who she believed had died in the war. She has turned to Campion and Detective Chief Inspector Charles Luke ...more
Feb 10, 2016 Theresa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
From the very first, this book gripped me. Margery Allingham discloses a mystery right from page two when Meg and her fiance are presented with a dilemma. Meg's first husband, Major Elginbrodde, thought to have died during the war, has suddenly resurfaced, just days before Meg's wedding.

Thankfully Meg has resources available to her, and she immediately turns over the case to Detective Albert Campion. But even with the aid of Campion and the expertise of the local police force, Meg is going to ta
London is enveloped by an almost apocalyptic smog that obscures everything, both physically and figuratively speaking. A murderer is wandering the streets, searching for a way to a treasure. Albert Campion is called to help on the case, but he doesn't really do much detective work, appearing instead as a distant character mostly hovering in the background. Misleading, because the series is supposed to contain Albert Campion mysteries. Campion isn't even his real name! Allingham does a lot of dwe ...more
May 12, 2013 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometime in the 1980s my local paper, the San Francisco Chronicle, published the favorite mysteries of Dilys Winn, editor of Murder Ink and Murderess Ink, which are apparently companion volumes for fans.

I used to clip the reviews of appealing new books with the intent of getting around to them — a pre-internet version of the To Be Read shelf. Like my TBR shelf here on Goodreads, that file got really thick, and most of the stuff in it was ignored and forgotten.

But I recently decided to get rid of
For being written in 1952, I think The Tiger in the Smoke holds up pretty well. It's not a *great* mystery/thriller, but it was an amusing enough diversion. I also didn't realize it was the 14th book in a series when I started it, but that didn't affect my enjoyment. Allingham isn't Christie, but there is plenty of intrigue - possibly not-dead husbands, new engagements, kidnapping, and plenty of murders and attempted murders. I'd recommend it for a rainy or snowy afternoon.

I listened to the aud
Mar 08, 2010 Anne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Margery Allingham was a contemporary of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers and, as such, a member of the 'Golden Age' of detective fiction in the 20's and 30's in the UK. I have read some of Allingham's mysteries in the past and liked them, but this title disappointed or at least puzzled me. 'Tiger in the Smoke' finds Detective Albert Campion (Allingham's main detective character) tracking a vicious killer over several days through a very foggy London. The fog serves as a character in itself and ...more
Sheila Beaumont
"The Smoke" is fogbound post-WWII London. "The Tiger" is the truly evil Jack Havoc, who has escaped from prison by feigning mental illness to get sent to a psychiatrist, whom he fools and then murders. In his quest to get hold of a priceless hidden treasure, he doesn't care how many people he kills. This thriller, one of my favorites, is notable for its graphic contrast of good, personified in the saintly Canon Avril (protagonist Albert Campion's uncle), and evil, personified in Havoc. There's a ...more
Sep 24, 2015 Daniela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
2 1/2 stars

When Meg Elginbrodde receives photos of her late husband Martin, presumed dead in WW2, she is shocked - not in the least because she is to marry Geoffrey Levett in a few days. But what starts out relatively harmless turns into a dangerous game of life and death very soon - and corpses begin to pile up.

I seem to be in the absolute minority here, but this didn't work for me. I am a fan of psychological mysteries/thrillers and this was more about organized crime, so I guess my low rating
Aug 09, 2013 Damaskcat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Albert Campion is asked to get involved with a strange case in the middle of a very bad London fog. A young relative of his, Meg a widow, is about to remarry but she keeps receiving photographs through the post of her late husband in situations where the photographs can only have been taken recently. Is it a crude blackmail attempt or is it more sinister than that?

Featuring the inimitable Charlie Luke, some definitely strange criminals and a marvellous clergyman this is an entertaining mystery s
Allingham, Margery. THE TIGER IN THE SMOKE. (1952). ***.
Allingham’s hero, Albert Campion, appears in this novel, but he doesn’t have a whole lot to do. This story, supposedly one of the author’s favorites in the series, is more like a young boy’s adventure book, full of nasty thieves and freaks who have no compunction about murdering whoever gets in their way. The plot concerns a young woman who is engaged to be married. She was married before, but her husband was reported missing and presumed
Sep 25, 2011 F.R. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the genius things about crime novels is that because they’re all the same, there are limitless possibilities of what you can do with them. Yes, there’s the basic structure that the reader expects, but beyond that the author can use his or hers ‘hunt the murderer’ yarn to tackle anything they damn well like.

Take this interesting, if very flawed, Albert Campian novel. The basic set-up is that there’s a ruthless and expert killer on the loose in London; he is one of the most dangerous men in
DeAnna Knippling
Suspense novel, almost the brightest, cheeriest suspense novel you'll ever read. JK Rowling called it her favorite crime novel--looking back on the plot, it's easy to see similarities to the Harry Potter books.

Reading it, I definitely kept wondering what was going on and why I should care, but looking back just an excellently put together novel. I can't give it five stars, though--it pleased me more in retrospect than the actual reading.
I've been aware of the title ever since my teens but never read it for some reason. It was mentioned by Chris Fowler in his column so I felt it was time.
At the end of any war there are loose ends all over the place, stories without endings, and people lost from their proper places. It was natural for authors writing in the late 40s, early 50s, to pick up those loose ends and spin tales from them. It helped to give readers a sense of restored stability. Meg Elginbrodde was assured that her husban
Jun 27, 2009 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really great classic mystery. Something about it reminds me of and C.S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength and the fiction of Charles Wallace. It's set after the close of WWII. A young war widow is engaged to be married again, and suddenly begins receiving photos that seem to indicate her first husband is still alive. An intricate mystery follows, with some great characters,suspenseful plotting, and graceful writing.
Dana Stabenow
Jul 23, 2012 Dana Stabenow rated it liked it
The great thing about going to book conferences is that there you are, penned up with a bunch of other people who all love books. This time it was the Poisoned Pen Con in Phoenix, a small, intimate gathering with single-track paneling where you have time to visit and hobnob with other readers and your favorite authors.

One of my favorite authors is Francine Matthews (aka Stephanie Barron) and she and I and Barbara Peters were talking about our favorite Golden Age mysteries. They were as one in de
Sep 10, 2012 JZ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
14th in series. 1952.

This is Margery Allingham at her very best.

She's written 13 Albert Campion mysteries leading up to this one, and it was worth the wait.

Character development was paramount in this book. Not of Campion or his wife, Amanda, or Lugg, but I think it was presumed that you were familiar with them by this time.

No, it was the five main characters, Charlie Luke, Meg Elginbrodde, Geoffrey Levett, Canon Avril, and Jack Havock, that made the book. Their interlocking lives were intertwi
Sep 03, 2014 Gina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: campion
I really enjoyed "Tiger in the Smoke", it was well written with plenty of description, I almost felt like I was in grimy London surrounded by fog, and breathed a sigh of relief when I looked up and remembered I was in a bright room on a comfy sofa. It is scary how the fog in London could become so thick that you really could not see where you were walking.

There are plenty of attractive characters in this story, especially the endearing Meg, practical Amanda and odd Campion. Another of my favour
Feb 05, 2012 Leah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
I quite enjoyed it. It's not, as I expected, a mystery at all, but a thriller, the chase of a deadly criminal through the foggy streets of post-war London and not a few coincidences.

The fog-as-character was a bit forced, but that's possibly just because it is completely outside my frame of reference, and so I felt it was intruding on the story during its frequent mentions. I found the post-war setting fascinating, small asides about how a prisoner jailed in 1944 wouldn't understand that the figh
Sep 16, 2013 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite Albert Campion book. In this one, Margery Allingham gives us a picture of a darker, more sinister and dangerous London, where Jack Havoc, an ex-army, knife murderer is out of prison and out in the streets of London. He is the Tiger in the book title. While in prison, Havoc heard of a treasure which if found, would bring him untold wealth. It is Havoc's ruthless search for this treasure through the houses, alleys and pubs of "the Smoke" (London) which brings him too close to A ...more
Carlos Sun
I was somewhat disappointed with this book. This book was part of the Essential Margery Allingham collection that was free on Prime for my Kindle. I enjoyed the first two, Sweet Danger and Traitor's Purse very much (4-5 stars), but this third, Tiger in the Smoke, was not very enjoyable to me for the following reasons:
1. Despite Albert Campion making an appearance, the main protagonists are two new characters, Lovett and Meg Ellinbrode who were not very well developed. So I was expecting a Campi
Vanessa Knutsen
Jun 02, 2016 Vanessa Knutsen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set in early 1950s, Tiger in the Smoke is considered mystery writer Margery Allingham's finest novel. Some have compared "Tiger..." to Dostoevsky. I am not sure if it is quite at that level of excellence, but the warfare between good and evil is intense and beyond the scope of a mere "mystery" novel. It is likely to become a classic!

Like most of the best mystery/detective novels I have read, there is a logical and well-done theological aspect...Not preachy...but woven into this drama.

The Tiger..
Erich Strelow
Jan 27, 2016 Erich Strelow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective
I had reach the time in summer vacation when I needed some detective fiction. I took this book because I liked More Work for the Undertaker and some reviewers stated this was a page-turner as much as they were scared of the story.
I love how the author describes the characters and their surroundings. It's like you can picture them, feel the smell of the places. In particular, there's a couple of chapters that are Dicken's inspired, both in characters and scenarios.
This is not a whodunnit story, r
Susan Hutchison
Jan 02, 2015 Susan Hutchison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
So much more than just a vintage murder mystery/thriller. Campion takes a back seat to one of his wife's relatives, an elderly clergyman who captured my heart. I particularly loved the passages in which Cannon Avril struggles through temptation to rationalize his human nature, rather than follow his simple knowledge - mystical as it is - of God's will. How wonderful to have some of the nail-biting tension in this novel come from whether or not the saintly will remain saintly.

This is all in cont
Sep 07, 2014 Peacejanz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an old-fashioned mystery written by one of the grand dames of mystery. Allingham is at her best in this novel featuring Albert Campion and friends. Campion, as always, is helping friends including the police and Scotland Yard. His wife is friends with a young war widow who is going to be married again after five years of widowhood. There is a missing treasure that her young husband left for her but she does not know about that. But crooks do. She suddenly seems to see her dead husband an ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Having seen a few episodes of the "Campion" TV series in the eighties, I was curious about the books. I somehow got the impression this one was the beginning, which it obviously is not. But anyway, I read it. There were a few too many characters in Campion's household (or Meg's household, or whatever) and I got confused about who was who and what was what. I even took Luke for Maggers, there for a bit, until I remembered M's name. However, the language is good and the story flowed well until abo ...more
Mike Katz
Jul 08, 2008 Mike Katz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime
As enjoyable as the earlier Campion novels and stories are, this later addition to the canon (1952)is definitely a cut above. Superior writing and a noirish cinematic atmosphere are its standout qualities. Interestingly, an older Campion plays only a small supporting role in the story. Unfortunately, this book is not currently in print in the US and tough to find. Cheap paperbacks a-plenty in UK, however.
Feb 22, 2011 Jan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Finally got around to reading this well-known 1952 Allingham book; she was an early star of the mystery genre. Anyone who can construct such an intricate, coherent plot has got to be admired, although I found the Britishisms and the slang made it hard going in the beginning. The "tiger" refers to the perpetrator and the "smoke" is London.
Oct 19, 2014 Divya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story. Nice nice.
I find over-description in any book tremendously annoying though, and this book was full of it. Allow me to demonstrate-

"She went over to her laptop, whose screen shone maleovalently in the darkness of the night. The night was in fact so dark that it would make the bravest of men stop and reconsider their path. She sat down in a manner that conveyed her intention in every possible way. The way her hair swayed only served to emphasise how resolute she was in what she was goi
Jul 11, 2016 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Post WWII London with its impenetrable fog. The tiger is a truly evil man who is bent on finding a treasure he heard about during the War. Allingham's sleuth, Campion, does not play a big role. The real hero is his friend the elderly Canon Avril. A rich cast of characters, many likeable. Hard to say more without giving away the plot.
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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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“In common with most writers, he had evolved his own technique for making bearable the drudgery of his abominable trade,” 2 likes
“Mourning is not forgetting,' he said gently, his helplessness vanishing and his voice becoming wise. 'It is an undoing. Every minute tie has to be untied and something permanent and valuable recovered and assimilated from the knot. The end is gain, of course. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be made strong, in fact. But the process is like all other human births, painful and long and dangerous. This” 0 likes
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