RETURN OF MR. CAMPION
Despite the title, this collection of Allingham snippets contains precious little of the enigmatic Albert Campion, and he is best showcased in a (brief) transcript of a 1935 radio interview--during which Allingham charmingly recaps his career and her delight in her upstart character. As for the stories here in which he does appear: "The Curious Affair in Nut Row," written in 1955, is a modest success, while "The Dog Day," "The Black Tent," "The Case is Altered," and "What to do with an Ageing Detective" are little more than wispy fragments. Hardly more endearing is an early Allingham effort, "The Wind Glass," written when she was barely out of her teens and featuring an oriental menace. Editor Morpurgo, with the assistance of Allingham's sister, seems to have cleaned out the family attic and rescued ephemera that might better have been consigned to the dustbin. HIS oddly phrased introduction and story afterwords do offer some insights into the author's writing relationship with her husband, Youngman Carter; with her Strand editor; and with her ever-scribbling family--but contemporary readers may blanch at her blatant racism. Overall, then, not likely to burnish the Allingham reputation--or even attract new fans.