Biography (Critical Survey of Mystery & Detective Fiction, Revised Edition)
Margery Louise Allingham was born on May 20, 1904, the daughter of Herbert John Allingham, an editor and journalist, and Emily Jane Hughes, her father’s first cousin, who also became a journalist. By the time of her birth, the family lived in Essex, where every weekend they entertained a number of other journalists. Although the young Allingham had two siblings, she spent many of her childhood hours alone, often writing. At seven, Allingham published a story in the Christian Globe, a publication of which her grandfather was editor. That year she went away to the first of two boarding schools; she left the second, the Perse School for Girls in Cambridge, when she was fifteen.
Finally, Allingham enrolled in the Regent Street Polytechnic in London as a drama student, but her first novel, Blackkerchief Dick: A Tale of Mersea Island (1923), an adventure story set in Essex, had already been accepted for publication, and when her friend Philip “Pip” Youngman Carter convinced her that her talents were more suited to writing than to acting, she left school to work on another novel. In 1927 she married Youngman Carter, who had become a successful commercial artist.
With the publication of her first mystery novel, The White Cottage Mystery, in 1928, Allingham settled into her career. In The Crime at Black Dudley (1929), she introduced Albert Campion, the amateur detective who was to appear in all the mystery...
(The entire section is 397 words.)
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