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Sweet Danger (Albert Campion Mystery, #5)
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Albert Campion group/buddy reads > Sweet Danger by Margery Allingham

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Susan | 10513 comments Mod
In our Buddy Reads, we have been following a few series, and this continues our reads of Margery Allingham's Albert Campion adventures. "Sweet Danger," is the fifth in the series and was published in 1933.

Nestled along the Adriatic coastline, the kingdom of Averna has suddenly - and suspiciously - become the hottest property in Europe, and Albert Campion is given the task of recovering the long-missing proofs of ownership.

His mission takes him from the French Riviera to the sleepy village of Pontisbright, where he meets the flame-haired Amanda Fitton. Her family claim to be the rightful heirs to the principality, and insist on joining Campion's quest. Unfortunately for them, a criminal financier and his heavies are also on the trail - the clock is ticking for Campion and his cohorts to outwit the thugs and solve the mystery of Averna.

Please do not post spoilers in this thread.


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9408 comments Mod
Neither of our latest buddy reads is a traditional murder mystery - this one is one of the adventure type detective/amateur spy stories which were also very popular in the late 1920s and early 30s, involving all kinds of bizarre secrets, disguises, etc.

I have thoroughly enjoyed rereading this book, which is completely bonkers but a lot of fun. Amanda Fitton, who makes her first appearance in this book, is an important character for the future and I think she's a great character - so resourceful. There seem to be several of these very determined teenagers in GA books.


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9408 comments Mod
If anyone is wondering where the title "Sweet Danger" comes from, I saw in one review that it was a quote, but the reviewer wasn't sure where from. I did a bit of Googling yesterday and I believe it is a translation of a Latin phrase from Horace, "Dulce Periculum". It seems to occur in a couple of places in his work. Do we have any Latin scholars who can tell us more?


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9408 comments Mod
I meant to ask, who is reading this one, and what do you think of it?


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 897 comments I am reading, and enjoying it so far. I have an ancient and much patched-together Penguin paperback that has the maps in it—very helpful!

Damnation, I hate downsizing! I have a copy of the complete works of Horace but it is in storage. The more famous quote is not the right one (Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, “To die for the fatherland is a sweet and honorable thing”). My Oxford Dictionary of Quotations does not have it, nor does Bartlett. The citation is Odes III.25, 16. Will see what I can uncover with that.


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 897 comments Aha! Here’s a translation of the ode (“sweet danger” at the end):

Where are you rushing me, Bacchus,
me overflowing with you?
Into what woods or cave am I, rapid I,
being driven by new thoughts?
From what caves will I be heard as I
practice how to sow among the stars,
how to put before Jupiter’s council,
peerless Caesar’s ageless virtue?
The new me will make his mark
and say what no one’s said before.
Not unlike some stunned Euhias
from some mountain top, awake,
looking down upon the Hebrus
and Thrace white with snow,
and Mount Rhodope
crossed but by the feet of savages,
as I gladly wander along the banks
and through the empty woods in wonder.
Oh! The power of the Naiades,
the strength of the Bacchae
to uproot with their hands the spreading ash!
I won’t be trivial or mean
or mortal when I speak.
Sweet the risk, Lēnaeus,
following a god, temples ringed with green.
translation ©copyright 2010 by James Rumford

Seems to refer to the danger of consorting with immortals!


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9408 comments Mod
Thank you, Abigail, for finding that, what a lovely poem!


Susan | 10513 comments Mod
I have just finished it and struggled a bit. I prefer a mystery and am less keen on these adventurous novels, where Campion is haring around the countryside.


message 9: by Judy (last edited Sep 14, 2018 10:35AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9408 comments Mod
I think these were very popular at the time - Patricia Wentworth did a lot of them, although in those people are often haring round London (and through secret passages running between neighbouring houses) rather than the countryside! I think it makes quite a nice change to have some of these books not centred on murder, although I'd have to admit often the plots are completely potty.


Susan | 10513 comments Mod
I will persevere. I do like Campion himself.


message 11: by Judy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9408 comments Mod
I love him madly. :)


Pamela (bibliohound) | 395 comments I liked this one a lot, I must admit I'm quite fond of these bonkers adventures. Although the plots are quite bizarre, there's always an element of real danger alongside.


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 897 comments I love the opening scene when Guffy comes across the Hereditary Paladin! I always adore Campion’s flimflam-man tendencies.


message 14: by Judy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9408 comments Mod
Abigail wrote: "I love the opening scene when Guffy comes across the Hereditary Paladin! I always adore Campion’s flimflam-man tendencies."

That's a fantastic phrase. I enjoyed that scene too, and felt it was probably making fun of all the Ruritanian books from around this period (well, slightly earlier!)


message 15: by Jill (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2177 comments I have just finished this book and absolutely loved it. Campion called himself an adventurer in a previous book, and this is exactly that, an adventure in the old style.
Amanda is such a strong and direct person , and I was so pleased that Campion seems to like her


Sandy | 3004 comments Mod
Just finished this and enjoyed the romp. Oddly I am willing to suspend disbelief for Campion, while Wentworth's adventure story annoyed me. Perhaps because, as a city person, the fantastical events seems so much more unlikely in London while anything is possible in a land of hill and dale, heath and forest.

So glad Amanda will be back and that Biddy (?) is remembered.


message 17: by Judy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9408 comments Mod
Yes, I’ve been noticing this time around how long he carries a torch for Biddy - similar to Wimsey and his first love Barbara who sadly we never meet!


Rosina (rosinarowantree) | 847 comments I have just finished listening to this - read by Francis Matthews - and enjoyed it enormously. I must have first read it decades ago.

One thing that puzzles is that the 'Orpheus and his Loot' doesn't really work in English, if Loot is meant to be short for Lieutenant (and doesn't work at all as word play on Aide de Camp ...)


message 19: by Judy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9408 comments Mod
Thanks for the explanation of Orph and Loot, Rosina - I was baffled by this but I am sure you’re right that it’s a play on “lute” and “lieut” - presumably spoken with an American accent.


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 897 comments That bothered me too, especially when you consider that the British pronounce the word lieutenant as "lefftenant"! How would one even say Lieut? "Left"?


message 21: by Judy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9408 comments Mod
I don’t think the abbreviation would ever be said with a British accent - only written down


Frances (francesab) | 413 comments I finally found my old copy of this-a battered penguin classic mystery as well-and I’m about half way through. Enjoying it very much, as I did when I first read MA too many years ago to mention, however do find the class distinctions (and the sneery tone often used for those that are not quite quite) a bit grating. Also enjoying meeting Amanda for the first time again. Will comment in the spoiler thread once I’ve finished.


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