Jack Havoc, jail-breaker and knife artist, is on the loose on the streets of London once again. In the faded squares of shabby houses, in the furtive alleys and darkened pubs, the word is out that the Tiger is back in town, more vicious and cunning than ever.
It falls to Albert Campion to pit his wits against the killer and hunt him down through the city's November smog before it is too late.
©2013 Margery Allingham (P)2013 Audible Ltd
"Miss Allingham is one of the few writers who can deal with art. Both her passions and her patterns are beautiful, accurate and serene" (Daily Telegraph)
"Margery Allingham has worked her way up to a worthy place among the tiny hierarchy of front-rankers in the detective world" (
"[Allingham] captures her quintessential quiet detective Albert Campion to perfection... For those who relish classic crime fiction" (Daily Express)
I'm not answering these questions Audible asks, I'm just writing my review.
SPOILERS IN HERE!! SPOILER ALERT!!! In discussing the book you may think I reveal too much if you don't like to know anything about it!! SPOILERS!!
I have read in discussions of Margery Allingham that this is her masterpiece; it is certainly very different from any of her other books that I have encountered so far. Though there are some mysteries in this book, and a number of murders, it isn't really a murder mystery as I see it. Campion is of course in it, but it's not really about him, either. It seems to me to be a meditation on the second world war, and upon loss and grieving and change and how to accomplish these things well (or poorly). Also, and this grows as the story continues, it seems to be a meditation on the nature of good and evil, and upon what God is and what God isn't and most of all what a person becomes when God is lost to them. It's not surprising that someone who was born in 1904 in England would have thought extensively about these things, and their thinking about those points always speaks deeply to me, even though I was born in 1961 in the United States.
There is a scene in the second half of the book, where Meg's father (a minister of the church) goes deliberately out to talk to the murderer. This action on his part is certainly distressing from a pragmatic point of view, but that's part of the point of the story if the story is more than a murder mystery. He believes that he is called to do so by God in order to offer salvation to the murderer, and what he says to the murderer about the path he (the murderer) is on I found to be greatly moving. I also found the final scenes at Sur la Mer extremely moving for the same reason (though more so the second time I listened to it, because the first time I was too anxious to find out what would happen to think deeply about what Allingham was really trying to say.) This is a book I will listen to more than once, especially the second half, for what Allingham has to say about spirit and loss and redemption and faith, rather than because it's a comforting golden age mystery. It's not a preachy book, but I think it has to be understood from the point of view of a discussion of what's real and what's not, rather than as a simple murder mystery. (I'm not advocating what the old man did, either, it usually turns out more like the girl in Patch Adams than how it did in this book when we are talking about real life it seems to me, but I'm just saying that it has a function as part of the philosophical discussion Allingham is illustrating and also of course, people thought differently in a different time and place).
As always, I like the reader. I think he has a remarkable facility for indicating different characters clearly, I had to laugh when I read another review that said they found the difference between Campion and Luke wasn't clear. To me it seems SO clear, Campions voice is clearly older, deeper, not hoarse, more precise, and with a completely different accent (being aristocratic rather than working class, like Luke). In general I feel Thorpe has done a brilliant job with these books as I listen my way through all of them, and since I didn't like Frances Mathew's readings, it's a blessed relief to me not to have to put up with him in order to get unabridged Margery Allingham. I also noticed that as the series is going on and Campion is getting older, Thorpe is making Campion's voice deeper with time, which is a thing that does actually happen with age. This is the kind of attention to detail and fidelity to the writer that is unusual in a reader, and that I so appreciate about Thorpe.
Tell us about yourself! Attorney/Rancher - eclectic taste in books in both fiction and non-fiction. Preference for British authors in mysteries, love well written dialogue and hate historical fiction.
Unlike many of the other reviewers, in my opinion David Thorpe makes the characters live. His ability to create both male and female roles, who one recognizes without having to refer back to their names, is indeed an art. I often think that Americans have great difficulty with accents other than a broad American accent and actually cannot understand some narrators, especially if the narrator is familiar with regional accents in his own country.
It continues to be interesting to pick out Allingham's personal opinions put into the mouths of her characters. Such as the one in which she describes a fog settling on London for days, sufficiently unpleasant enough to make contemporary Londoners wonder why their ancestors insisted own building a city in a swamp - which may make Americans, who live and visit Washington, D.C., also wonder if there was a DNA requirement for the Colonists to want to build their capital in a swamp
Sometimes Allinghams characters are so foolish as to make me to lose patience with them, such as the Vicar, but, then, he may very well represent many of the foolish we also meet today, so one just has to take a deep breath and hope he doesn't do any more harm than he does.
This is not one of her best plots but it is still entertaining and I continue to be hooked on Campion and his friends and relatives.
The crime is that a novel can be this good! I ignored my work, family and chores last night and laid on the couch for three hours listening to it.
The discussion between Geoff and the "band". It started with the power on one side and swung around gracefully. Her characterizations were fabulous.
Probably Dahl. I think David Thorpe is fabulous. Frances Matthews is, too, in a different way. Thorpe is colorful and lively. People criticize how he voices Campion, but, in fact, that's how the author describes his voice in Black Dudley.
Just amazement, as well as enjoyment. Wikipedia says that she started writing these books to parody Lord Peter Wimsey. If that's the only reason, how can they be so sublimely good?
The Campion series are hot and lukewarm for me. This one was red hot.
I love Tiger in the Smoke as a book. I really wish it were the Francis Matthews version though.
The canon was definitely the most prominent and favorite character.
Not really - it was sometimes hard to tell Campion from Luke. Other characters were okay.
Yes - because I love the book.
If they ever release the Francis Matthews version, I would definitely pick it over the David Thorpe one. Francis Matthews will always be Campion to me.
I'm going to try again because I read reviews of the book and nearly everyone seems to like it, but the reader is so dramatic. It's very annoying because it's not how I would read the book in my head at all. Every 3rd or 4th word is over-emphasized and is very difficult to listen to, but I will open my mind before I completely give up because I love this genre...
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