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The Tiger in the Smoke (Albert Campion Mystery, #14)
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Albert Campion group/buddy reads > The Tiger in the Smoke (1952)

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Susan | 10219 comments Mod
Welcome to our buddy read of the fourteenth Albert Campion mystery, first published in 1952.

Mild-mannered amateur detective Albert Campion finds himself and his family caught up in a terrifying series of events. Meg Elginbrodde has believed herself to be a widow for five years. Yet since she announced her intention to remarry, she has been receiving some very odd communications: photographs of her husband, Martin, looking very much alive. But why? Is it blackmail, or something more sinister? Chief Inspector Luke joins forces with Campion to uncover the truth. And, amid the gloom of London's November smog, they begin to draw the net round a man who's 'killing mad'.

Please do not post spoilers in this thread. Thank you.


message 2: by Judy (last edited Oct 17, 2020 12:22AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9174 comments Mod
I really enjoyed this thriller, which is generally said to be one of Allingham's best - and although it was a reread for me, found I didn't remember much from previous reads. Who else is reading this one?

It's great to get back to Campion, although in this book he doesn't actually come in all that much - I get the feeling she was possibly thinking of turning the policeman Charlie Luke into her series hero, although this never happened in the end. I do like Luke but not as much as Campion!


Susan | 10219 comments Mod
Oops. I forgot to open this, even though I just read it! Sorry about that.

I know this is meant to be a classic, but it really isn't a favourite of mine. I conclude that I like Campion as a character, but am not keen on his outings.


Rosina (rosinarowantree) | 796 comments I did wonder if I'd misremembered that we were going to read this book!

I re-read it a few years ago (though it seems much more recent ...) and wasn't that keen on it, but may try again to join in the discussion.


Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2122 comments I liked this a lot, the only disappointment was that the main character was Charles Luke, and I do so like Campion. I thought the atmosphere of the heavy fogs in London was well built up. I liked the theme of the ruthless killer, and enjoyed the scenes with the "down and outs" , and their living conditions seemed very fitting. Meg and the uncle however did seem to me to be unbelievably stupid.


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 872 comments I just finished it the day before yesterday, and loved it! Will move to spoiler thread for further discussion.


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9174 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "Oops. I forgot to open this, even though I just read it! Sorry about that...."

No worries, Susan, thank you for opening the others! I think I opened this one up only a few minutes later anyway. :)

Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy it all that much. I had one or two queries with the plot which I'll mention over in the spoiler thread, but overall I really enjoyed it. I do love Allingham's writing and for me she is definitely the one of the classic crime authors I enjoy the most.


Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3017 comments I haven’t read this yet, will put aside some other books now to dive in. This is where I stopped years ago when I first discovered Allingham, so I’m curious how I like it. Will come back once I finish!


Sandy | 2885 comments Mod
I haven't started this one yet, but either it or Mystery Villa will be next.


message 10: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9174 comments Mod
I thought it was noticeable in this one that Campion seems to be ageing in real time, and is now definitely middle-aged rather than "the young man" as he was a few years ago - but Lugg still seems much the same age as he was in the earlier books! At this rate Campion will catch him up before too long. :)


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 872 comments LOL! Lugg is getting softer, though, as he spends more time with children. I noticed that first in the book about the theater people, when he taught the lonely daughter of the house to pick locks. Clearly Rupert adores him!

Not to poison the water, but it does seem there’s a certain element of unconscious classism involved. Servants taken for granted as maintaining their ability (to serve) until retirement or death forces an acknowledgment of the servant’s aging. Even Rupert has picked up a sense of superiority to Lugg, in his protectiveness and assumption that he needs to educate Lugg for his own good. Those scenes are charming but with a distasteful undertow. I felt the earlier interactions between Lugg and the bachelor Campion were more appealing because of the mutual respect and reliance hiding behind the snarling insults. Somehow they took the sting out of servitude.


message 12: by Jill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2122 comments I think Lugg started to sorten up when Campion came home and found Lugg very attached to his pig.


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 872 comments That was so sweet! And so true to how we attach ourselves to simple and seemingly pure things when we’re in complicated or dehumanizing circumstances. I’ve been that way about the birds I feed all this year.


message 14: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9174 comments Mod
Abigail wrote: "Even Rupert has picked up a sense of superiority to Lugg, in his protectiveness and assumption that he needs to educate Lugg for his own good. ..."

I had a feeling Rupert thought he was rather superior to adults in general, but I can see that the class element is there, as you say.

I do like the way Lugg gets on so well with the children, though - as you say, he is definitely softening in these later books!


Sandy | 2885 comments Mod
I've started this and am quite drawn in with the strange circumstances of the reappearing husband, and all that fog.

Remember when we first met Campion's designer sister Val? When she decided to marry it was assumed (by us and her husband) she would be giving up her job. That evidently didn't happen as she has now taken over the business. Amanda has advanced in her profession as well.


message 16: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9174 comments Mod
Ooh, good catch, Sandy. I'm pleased to hear that both Val and Amanda are doing well in their careers.


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 872 comments I wonder how much the writings of female novelists did to make career women seem more normal and acceptable? Allingham was herself a working woman, of course. Brava to those imagining the unimaginable!


Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3017 comments Just finished this one, I enjoyed it, but listening to the audiobook was a mistake - the narrator was good, but his regional accents made some of the dialogue incomprehensible! Especially with the slang dialogue thrown about by Havoc and the gang. And Luke sounded straight out of East Enders- I could barely understand some of his dialogue! I would read the book next time, some very exciting, menacing scenes where characters had close scrapes - phew! And the fog, creepy and fitting to the mood.


message 19: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9174 comments Mod
Glad to hear you enjoyed it despite the accents, Susan!


message 20: by Susan in NC (last edited Oct 21, 2020 07:58AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3017 comments Judy wrote: "Glad to hear you enjoyed it despite the accents, Susan!"

I did - she created an amazing atmosphere in so many scenes. Some were a little too “talky” for my taste though, especially scenes with Luke and Avril. Each were prattling on about their interactions with their particular constituents, and they clearly liked and admired each other, but some of it went right over my head. I wasn’t sure what they were babbling about; then I realized it was the same with Tiddy (seriously? Of course, for Tiddington, but spoken on audiobook it comes as “Titty”, so seemed ridiculous to my ears) and Havoc and the cellar scenes. And then later, the scenes of the old former journalist who boards in Avril’s house; the descriptive paragraphs and dialogue, though well-written, just go on and on. I guess I’m more a fan of Christie’s compact, tighter style of writing.

Also, having just reread Lorac’s Bats in the Belfry, I couldn’t help wondering, when educated Londoners in the 1930s and postwar years were stuck inside during bad weather or a pea souper, did they just sit around philosophizing at each other? Seems to be the thing, especially among the wealthy set, to babble at each other about good and evil, life and death - where are those famously stiff upper lips?

Next time I approach this or any Allingham, I’ll only do so if I have the physical or ebook - not the audiobook. Too much blathering on for audiobook, or maybe it’s the narrator.


message 21: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9174 comments Mod
Susan, I find a lot of writers hard to take on audio despite loving them on paper, and must agree it is easier to listen to writers who don't go in for so much description! I love Thomas Hardy but wouldn't fancy listening to things like his wonderfully-written whole chapter describing an old barn in Far from the Madding Crowd.

On the names like "Tiddy", I grew up in remote villages in Allingham's part of the world, East Anglia, and I remember there was an old man in my village known as "Tegger", which doesn't seem all that different! I'm not sure what the reason for this nickname was, though.


message 22: by Susan in NC (last edited Oct 21, 2020 11:46AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3017 comments That’s an excellent point, some writers are grueling in audiobook, but perfectly lovely to read! And, some writers, like Christie or Georgette Heyer come alive in very entertaining ways in the hands of a wonderful narrator- I love Captain Hastings reading Christie, and there are several very good actors doing Heyer- Phyllida Nash is one of my favorites, she’s got this gorgeous accent, rich, plummy voice. Delightful!

That’s interesting about the regional nicknames like Tiddy or Tegger, I imagine American versions might be “Bubba” or “Junior”. Sometimes they make sense, like my father-in-law was “junior” growing up, to distinguish from his father of the same name (John), and others may be confusing to those unfamiliar with a region. My husband told me there is a famous southern football coach who goes by “Dabo”, a nickname he was given as a child that stuck! Apparently, a corruption of That Boy in the accent of the area -“that” became “Dat”, and slur it together, became Dat boy, then Dabo!


message 23: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 864 comments I agree about some books working better than others on audio. I've found that I enjoy non-fiction on audio perhaps because the style tends to be straightforward. More descriptive books, yes Hardy is a great example, I'd rather read as I can miss detail when listening.


Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3017 comments Roman Clodia wrote: "I agree about some books working better than others on audio. I've found that I enjoy non-fiction on audio perhaps because the style tends to be straightforward. More descriptive books, yes Hardy i..."

Very true - I read Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies not long ago, and found it very accessible and enjoyable in audiobook, and my paperback copy.


Frances (francesab) | 393 comments I'm about half-way through, and although this is a reread for me I don't remember much of the plot. I do like how atmospherically Allingham writes about areas of London and about the fog/smog of the time, and enjoy reading about the little hidden corners such as the church/rectory setting here, which was also a factor in our recent Bats in the Belfry: A London Mystery read. Agreed-glad to hear that Val still has her design business, and that Amanda and also Meg are working.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 609 comments Just started & am enjoying so far.


message 27: by Judy (last edited Dec 20, 2020 12:41AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9174 comments Mod
Good to hear you are enjoying it, Carol.

I definitely agree it is very atmospheric, Frances - I'm just reading Fog of Doubt by Christianna Brand which is also full of London fog, making a great setting for a mystery.


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