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The Mind Readers

(Albert Campion Mysteries #18)

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  639 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Mind over murder
Two schoolboys have discovered a miraculous gadget that enables them to read other people’s minds. Then one of the children vanishes—and Albert Campion is called in to crack the case. Soon the intrepid sleuth becomes snared in a sinister web of conspiracy, violence, and assassination—and in a lethal power play for control of a devastating device that could
Mass Market Paperback, 260 pages
Published July 1990 by Avon Books (first published 1965)
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Average rating 3.42  · 
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Here Allingham tries for a James Bond plot. It's not very successful at all. Especially irritating was the role of women in the story. Despite often producing strong female characters, there's definitely a touch of gender essentialism to Allingham's women which occasionally comes to the fore. Here women are secretaries to men, secretaries become the mistresses of men, mothers, supportive wives to scientists, problematic wives to scientists "acting out" because they're convinced their husbands ar ...more
Aug 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
I was dubious about The Mind-Readers; I didn't remember much about it. I apparently read through the Allinghams years ago (ten?) and never since – I hadn't thought it to be so long. My impression of MR was of an improbable, not to say idiotic, premise, and a slight reluctance to read it. Happily, I was mostly wrong. It was an improbable premise – but it was handled very nicely. This was written in the 60's, which I happily missed entirely but for four short oblivious months - 1965 to be exact. T ...more
Mar 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
I don’t normally read two books by the same author in the same series one after the other, but I was tempted on this occasion for two reasons. Firstly, after reading ‘Coroner’s Pigeon’ and seeing that Campian’s character was developing, I thought that ‘The Mind Readers’ – written twenty years later – would be interesting to look at just to see how much further he had progressed. How would this product of the 1920s greet the 1960s? Secondly, the plot of this seemed to have a supernatural air to i ...more
Nancy Oakes
The Mind Readers is the last book completely written by Margery Allingham; her husband finished up Cargo of Eagles (next in the series). So basically I've come to the end of the original Allinghams and it's a sad day. However, the good news is that I have each and every Campion story on my British reading room shelves (and all of the PBS dvds!) that I can read again if I so choose.

Although this particular edition was published in 1990, the original was written in 1965 -- during the Cold War, an
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
The premise was so promising. It has an excellent science fiction potential in the making.

Then it fails.

Firstly, it takes forever to figure out what is going on. Once again we are bombarded with all sorts of conversations from different people, with no clear idea of what is actually going on.

Finally we are made to understand the western allies, Britain specifically , are looking for ways to transmit communications through esp. Before you laugh, this was an actual objective around the time this
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite authors.
Jun 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Not nearly as good as most of the rest of Margery Allingham (it's very late; the last or second-last one she finished or something--I've been told she didn't actually finish it, but unlike the others written/finished by her husband, I can find no evidence of that on my copy, so I think my informants may have been indulging in wishful thinking). Also strange as to plot; there's an almost sci-fi element, and she's purposefully writing about a much more modern world than she mostly did (fewer old-w ...more
Jul 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the last Campion book that Margery Allingham wrote in its entirety. As with all of her books, it is well-written and has a fascinating cast of characters. However, it's not the best of the series. Campion himself--and since he's as old as the century, he must be in his sixties by the time of the book--is a peripheral character for much of the book. The plot involves a venture on Allingham's part into the realm of science fiction, and the implausibility of the fiction (it involves an elem ...more
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not my favorite of Allingham's. The story just didn't flow and aside from Campion I didn't much like any of the characters. ...more
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
yet another new format, this time the family story, thriller, spy novel and a spot of scifi all thrown in. The problem is the scifi - it's both unbelievable, to us here now, and horribly explained - the average englishman's education now includes too much science to follow this guff and to spot all the flaws, plus there's pages of the pseudoscientific waffle when it crops up, and pages of a transcription of watching a television show. Nice to see the series transition into the 1960s, and modern ...more
Jul 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
I hate to say this (or look stupid), but I could makes neither heads nor tails out of the book. I wanted to like it, since I like Margery Allingham, but this book was barely readable for me. The premise was acceptable, though a bit far-fetched (bad science) , and that's OK for a work of fiction that should be compelling. I felt there were too many characters (this is not War and Peace) and I had a hard time keeping track of locations and logistics. On the upside, our two young protagonists, Edwa ...more
Aug 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Sam Ferris and Edward Longfox, cousins, are on their way to London by train. They are coming home on holiday from school in the east country, and expect to be met by Sam’s mother at Liverpool station. Instead, a young lady shows up claiming to be from hospital and to take the boys to see Mrs. Ferris. Unnoticed by the adults, the boys exchange glances. As she takes them along, they pass a City policeman. One of the boys states to him the lady is trying to kidnap them. The lady takes off and so do ...more
Aug 21, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a new one for me, and quite a bit different from other Campion books I've read. It starts at the home of elderly Canon Avril, Campion's uncle, where Campion and his wife Amanda and another relative, Helena Ferris and her husband Martin and their son Sam, are expected to visit. Sam's cousin Edward, a relative of Amanda, is also coming with them. An attempt is made to kidnap Sam and Edward at the train station, but it is foiled. When they arrive, they each have an "iggy-tube" plastered on ...more
A pretty solid entertainer ... A bit different from other Campions . This one is a Solid mix of mystery ,spy thriller and a topping of SF. I am quite surprised with the quality of the spy tradecraft and subtlety used in the book .Accepted that it's not quite a Lecarre or Deighton but it's hell lot better than any attempts by Christie .Many people seems to dislike the book because of the ESP stuff and outdated technical jargons but ImHO this book is exceptionally well written and atleast I did no ...more
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Allingham was the third of the big three female British mystery novelists, the other two being Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. Allingham's gentleman detective had a long career, taking him from a single man to married with children. Most of the cases are murder mysteries. This one is a little different. It is really a Cold War novel, set in the early 1960s and dealing with a secret project carried out under the auspices of the British government. There is a murder, but it occurs two-thirds o ...more
AUTHOR Allingham, Margery
TITLE The Mind Readers
DATE READ 02/19/19
GENRE/ PUB DATE/PUBLISHER / # OF Crime Fiction/1965/ audible/ 9 hr 31 min
SERIES/STAND-ALONE #18 Albert Campion
CHALLENGE Author Alphabet A 13/26; GR 2019 Reading 25/111
CHARACTERS Albert Campion
COMMENTS UGH… listening to this one was very confusing with the jumping around and so many characters. A few young school boys were fooling around with the modern transist
Nov 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good mystery with one dash of science fiction and another of spy novel.

The last book written completely by Margery Allingham, and the only one of her books that I've yet to read, I found The Mind Readers to be a compelling mystery story.

After a slow start, I felt a growing urgency to identify and put together the pieces of what seemed certainly to fit the several puzzles emerging through the pages. Although involving an invention amplifying natural telepathic abilities (superficially a scienc
Karla Huebner
The last of Allingham's books to be written entirely on her own. Set in the mid-60s, so very Cold War, with young relatives of Campion's mixed up in the one boy's father's top secret scientific investigations into mind-reading. Don't expect hippies and rock music here; this addresses a different aspect of the period, and captures it fairly well as far as I can tell (not having been in England myself at the time). It's tense and a little spooky. ...more
Robert Scott
+++A really convoluted mystery about the existence of ESP revolving around two young boys Sam Martin 8 yo and Edward Longfox 12 yo. EL has with the assistance of others in his age range at the exclusive school found a means of amplifying thought/feelings transmission and reception. This could be a national disaster if the wrong people gain control of it and the scientists have a very porous security.+++
Carol Berkman
Oh dear no

No Campion quirkiness or crime solving here, just a far fetched story about an irrelevant device that allows some thought reading. I guess we should be alarmed about such things (viz Facebook which turned into data mining and Russian meddling while we idjits ignored the danger). But boring. Two stars because I usually love Allingham.
Joan Sevigny
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mindreading is scary, especially when children are good at

Another compelling story that holds one's attention. This one must have been written in the 1950s when the public was nervous about new technology.
An odd duck...there are absconding schoolboys, dastardly foreign powers, ESP, plots aplenty - and Albert Campion in the middle of it all, trying to solve the mystery.
Very much of it era which is 1965.
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
I started off the Campion series really enjoying these books. He was an intriguing character with interesting stories. These last few books have been tough to read. I had to force myself into finishing it. The story did not grab me.
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
The Mind Readers is very different from the rest of Margery Allingham's Campion novels. It has a distinct science-fiction flavor and it just didn't seem like Allingham's strong suit. It was decent, but definitely not a page-turner. ...more
Sarah Daley Rose
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating look at cold war science and fear and race to pursue new, fearsome technology, stealing from other governments if necessary. Exciting fight scene involving Campion and a stronger man, a skilled spy/assassin at the end!
Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
slightly odd ending - just a bit abrupt?
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not my favorite, as the slang really got in my way, the the element of futurism was distracting.
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
I found the language difficult to penetrate which made the story rather difficult to follow. Published in 1965 when the Cold War was on, it has a flavour of the scientific world at the time.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book was not my favorite book in the series.
Chris Hinds
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Almost inreadable. I usually enjoy Margery Allongham’s Campion mysteries, but this one was not a winner. The plot was overwrought, overly complicated and flat out silly.
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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 as Emmie Allingham. 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

Other books in the series

Albert Campion Mysteries (1 - 10 of 21 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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