Margery Allingham Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Along with Ngaio Marsh, Nicholas Blake, and Michael Innes, Margery Allingham was one of those writers of the 1930’s who created detectives who were fallible human beings, not omniscient logicians in the Sherlock Holmes tradition. Her mild-mannered, seemingly foolish aristocrat, Albert Campion, can miss clues or become emotionally entangled with unavailable or unsuitable women. Yet, though his judgment may err, his instincts demonstrate the best qualities of his class. Although Allingham is noted for her careful craftsmanship, for her light-hearted comedy, for her psychological validity, and for such innovations as the gang leader with an inherited position and the inclusion of male homosexuals among her characters, she is most often remembered for her realistic, often-satirical depiction of English society and for the haunting vision of evil that dominates her later novels.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Gaskill, Rex W. “Margery Allingham.” In And Then There Were Nine . . . More Women of Mystery, edited by Jane S. Bakerman. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1985. Examines Allingham’s place in the canon of female mystery writers. Bibliographic references.

Krutch, Joseph Wood. “Only a Detective Story.” In The Art of the Mystery Story: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Howard Haycraft. Reprint. New York: Carroll and Graf, 1992. Entry discussing Allingham’s works in a widely cited and reprinted collection of essays. Bibliographic references and index.

Malmgren, Carl D. Anatomy of Murder: Mystery, Detective, and Crime Fiction. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 2001. Discusses Allingham’s The Tiger in the Smoke. Bibliographic references and index.

Martin, Richard. Ink in Her Blood: The Life and Crime Fiction of Margery Allingham. Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press, 1988. Study alternates between biographical chapters and chapters of criticism analyzing the works Allingham produced during the period of her life chronicled in the previous chapter. Bibliography and index.

Pike, B. A. Campion’s Career: A Study of the Novels of Margery Allingham. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1987. Focuses on the representation of Albert Campion and his relationship to other fictional sleuths.

Reynolds, Moira Davison. Women Authors of Detective Series: Twenty-one American and British Authors, 1900-2000. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2001. Examines the life and work of major female mystery writers, including Allingham.

Rowland, Susan. From Agatha Christie to Ruth Rendell: British Women Writers in Detective and Crime Fiction. New York: Palgrave, 2001. Allingham is the third of the three major figures discussed in this study, as her novels are compared with those of Christie and Rendell. Bibliographic references and index.

Thorogood, Julia. Margery Allingham: A Biography. London: Heinemann, 1991. Discusses the lives of both Allingham and her fictional creation, Campion. Bibliographic references and index.