The slightly wordy legend on the jacket reads ‘Margery Allingham’s Albert Campion Returns in Mr Campion’s Farewell Completed by Mike Ripley,’ but this is the only example of prolixity in this truly civilised and entertaining read. Mike Ripley (with the cooperation the Margery Allingham Society) has completed the untitled third novel left unfinished by the writer’s widower Pip Youngman Carter when he died in 1969. It’s hard to imagine a contemporary writer with a more instinctual feel for the correct idiom here, and if we are to have Allingham at several removes, Mr Ripley is the perfect conduit. Eschewing the customary sardonic wit of his ‘Angel’ novels (or — to be more precise — holding it in check), Ripley provides us with another diverting case for Albert Campion, dragooning several other characters from the Allingham canon. Whether or not you are a worshipper at the shrine of one of the greatest female writers of Britain’s Golden Age of crime fiction, you would be doing yourself a favour by picking this one up.
Margery Allingham’s Mr Campion’s Farewell by Mike Ripley is published by Severn House