I have been inspired to review, if possible, a case involving each of the sleuths listed in 100 Greatest Literary Detectives (ed. Eric Sandberg) and whilst I have lazily linked in some previous reviews to the page that will summarise my progress, this is the first review written specifically for this purpose.
Joyce Blount’s Uncle Andrew is missing and whilst her fiancé, Marcus Featherstone, sees nothing sinister in this, he does point her in the direction of his friend and amateur detective, Albert Campion.
Joyce explains that Andrew’s disappearance is unexpected as like her other relations, Uncle William and Aunts Julia and Kitty, he has no money of his own and is dependent on Great-Aunt Caroline Faraday, an imposing matriarch who still lives as if it is the 1880s. As her explanations finish, a telegram arrives from Marcus, to say that Andrew has been found murdered.
Whilst Lord Peter Wimsey is happy to detect under his own name, with the advantages and disadvantages that brings, Mr Campion, also the younger son of an aristocratic family, hides his true identity for professional purposes. Great-Aunt Faraday refers to him initially as Rudolph and trusts him to act on behalf of her family as she knows all about him having corresponded with his grandmother for the last forty-five years.
It soon becomes clear that someone has it in for the Faraday family and that they are all in imminent danger. Can Campion catch a killer before they strike again?
Whilst things hang together neatly, especially regarding the psychology of the characters, and Stanislaus Oates is confirmed in his prejudice against coincidences I did have a problem with Campion’s actions because SPOILER IN ROT13 vg frrzf gung ur qbrfa’g jnag gb gvc-bss gur zheqrere ol univat gur ubhfr frnepurq sbe qrngugencf – ohg ur oryvriref gur zheqrere vf nyernql qrnq fb jung qbrf ur guvax jvyy unccra vs ur vf jebat?
This is the fourth Campion novel that I’ve read and none of them have particularly excited me. However I did enjoy the short-story collection “Mr Campion and Others”.