Old detectives never die, they just find a way – to work after retirement age. That’s true of Rebus and Harry Bosch – but Albert Campion? Well, here he is once again, alive and chipper in the 1970s, up to his ever-sharp eyes in a little caper just up the road from Mike Ripley’s own turf, on an archaeological dig in coastal Suffolk, uncovering the bones of what should have been a right royal scandal in the 1930s involving no less than the putative and priapic King Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson (and a few other nameless and shameless ladies). Campion and the faithful Lugg shake off the years and get into a frightful scrape on site with Campion’s son and Perdita, some impoverished would-be aristos, a dodgy Italian film crew and some equally dodgy beer (no surprise there, given the author’s vast knowledge of archaeology and beer). It’s deliberately reminiscent of the kind of jaunts Campion enjoyed in his heyday and Ripley has captured much of the flavour of those golden age tales (several of which are referenced in this story) and he races his cast of colourful characters to another complex Ripley/Allingham climax. By golly, it takes you back!
Severn House hardback, £20.99, 978 0 727 88735 1