I wanted to like this book much more than I did. The Tiger in the Smoke is often said to be Allingham's best novel and I can see how people come to thI wanted to like this book much more than I did. The Tiger in the Smoke is often said to be Allingham's best novel and I can see how people come to that conclusion. The descriptions of the city in fog are atmospheric. The mystery - no, actually there are at least three of them, the investigation of one of them leading to the next - the mysteries are interesting without being either too obscure or two easy to figure out. But the true strength of the book are its characters. The boo does not focus on one single character, certainly not on a detective out to solve a riddle. Each of them, no matter how small their role, comes a life through their psychology. The strongest chapter for me turned out to be one in which nothing much happens expect that the killer and a priest have a conversation.
Allingham appears as observant of people as Jane Austen is often said to be. Each of the characters sports a distinct, convincing personality.
Yet, for some reason I found it hard to lose myself in the book. Perhaps I'll have to come back to it some day....more
I somehow made it through Les Larmes du Cardinal suffering nothing worse than tedious boredom. And I even enjoyed myself a bit reading the sI give up.
I somehow made it through Les Larmes du Cardinal suffering nothing worse than tedious boredom. And I even enjoyed myself a bit reading the smutty and slightly offensive Sword & Blood (which was apparently written by the same author as this series?). But this innocuous little murder mystery is where I give up. I did not even make it through a fifth of this book before I could not take it anymore.
I binge-read the complete d'Artagnan romances this year, and having this book claim it takes place in the same universe as those did not make me happy: The characterisation for our Inseperables is just way-off! And the book does not even get basic details right like their hair & eye colours or where they live! Why then create an elaborate foreword to claim that these are exactly the characters from Dumas' d'Artagnan romances? Oh, and btw. the book constantly misspells "d'Artagnan" as well. That's how closely this book recreates Dumas' stories! In addition the murder-mystery plot doesn't grip me at all. Even the first couple of descisions our heros take upon discovering the body are so outlandish and out-there that I can't get into the plot at all. And on top of that the characters prefer to monologue to themselves, providing the reader with info-dumps, rather than act.
Definitely not my favourite volume from this series. The mystery itself is quite well plotted, with a nice surprising solution at the ending. And onceDefinitely not my favourite volume from this series. The mystery itself is quite well plotted, with a nice surprising solution at the ending. And once again the writing turns out to be wonderfully detailed and enjoyable. But, on the other hand, the unlikeable characters and the gloomy atmosphere Campion encounters in the manor house tend to drag you down. They don't feel as lively and quirky as their counterparts in other books of the same series. The book, ununsually for a Campion Mystery, also has a few unfortunate cases of racial overtones & stereotyping going on, that may be attributed to the climate in which the book was written, but will make the modern reader feel uncomfortable. ...more