Queens of Mystery Crossword Solution

Hope you enjoyed doing the crossword puzzle about the Queens of Mystery –Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh and Margery Allingham. I certainly learned a great deal about these ladies during my research. Just in case you need a little help with the answers –here is the solution.

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The Queens of Mystery Crossword Puzzle

Below is a crossword puzzle about the Queens of Mystery. Most of the questions focus on Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh, since Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers were previously featured in a Crossword Puzzle. Check the Blog Archive on the home page to locate the Christie and Sayers puzzles.

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Margery Allingham & Albert Campion

Margery Allingham is the last member of the Queens of Crime from the Golden Age of Mysteries.

The Queens of Mystery

Agatha Christie was best known for her plots and gathering the suspects together to reveal the murderer. Dorothy Sayers emphasized the intellect of Lord Peter sometimes to the point of overthinking the circumstances. Ngaio Marsh developed the skills of her detective Alleyn, while infusing the stories with her personal knowledge of art and theater. Our last Queen, Margery Allingham, is harder to define, especially since her detective, Albert Campion, in many ways is also a mystery.

Margery Allingham-The Beginnings

Margery Allingham was born in London in 1904 to parents Herbert and Emily Jane who were both writers. Herbert was editor of the Christian Globe and The New London Journal before becoming a successful pulp fiction writer. Emily Jane was a contributor of stories to women’s magazines.

The family moved from London to Essex in a village near Colchester. Margery attended a local school and began writing stories and plays.

Margery returned to London in 1920 to study drama and speech training at Regent Street Polytechnic. These studies helped her cure a stammer which she had endured since childhood. It was also during this time that she met her future husband, Philip Youngman Carter. In 1927, she married Carter, who collaborated with her and designed the jackets for many of her books.

They purchased a country house in Colchester on the edge of the Essex Marshes.  Allingham preferred the image of the country wife as opposed to that of a gifted writer and often down played her writing talents.

Allingham stayed in Colchester while Carter kept a house in London where he was gone for extended periods of time and had many extramarital affairs.

Allingham, while enjoying her county life also suffered from bouts of depression. She sought treatment including electroshock therapy. Her depression and treatments account for the long gaps in her writings, especially in her later years.

Allingham in addition to her depression was diagnosed with breast cancer and died in Colchester, England, on June 30, 1966, at the age of 62. She requested that her final Campion novel, Cargo of Eagles, be completed by her husband and it was published in 1968.

Carter along with Mike Ripley continued to issue additional releases of her work, both with and without Albert Campion. The Margery Allingham Omnibus, comprising Sweet Danger, The Case of the Late Pig and The Tiger in the Smoke, with a critical introduction by Jane Stevenson, was published in 2006.

Allingham the Writer

Margery said she was destined to be a writer. Her father was a writer, her mother was a writer and all the people around her were writers. Allingham

At the age of eight, Margery earned her first money as a writer when one of her stories was printed in her aunt’s magazine. Margery contributed articles and Sexton Blake stories to her father’s papers.

Her first novel, Blackkerchief Dick, was published in 1923 when she was 19. Blackkerchief Dick was well received, but was not a financial success. She wrote several plays in this period, and attempted to write a serious novel. Fortunately for us, she decided that writing mysteries was her true calling.

Allingham’s Albert Campion Appears

Her breakthrough mystery novel was in 1929 with the publication of The Crime at Black Dudley. This book introduced Albert Campion to her readers, although originally, he was only a minor character. He is described by George Abbershaw, who was the main character in this first book, as a “fresh-faced young man with the tow-colored hair and the foolish, pale-blue eyes behind tortoiseshell-rimmed spectacles….”Allingham-Crime at Black Dudley

At first, she continued writing short stories and pieces for magazines such as The Strand Magazine, but her Campion following was growing. Campion returned in Mystery Mile as the lead character. This was in part based on the pressure from her American publishers, but also Allingham found that she liked the character she had created.  With three novels complete and now with a strong central character, Allingham made Campion the centerpiece of another 17 novels and over 20 short stories, until her death.

Allingham’s Albert Campion is a Man of Mystery

Albert Campion is a pseudonym for a gentleman from a prominent British family. In The Fashion in Shrouds he verifies that his real name is Rudolph but he changed it to Albert simply because he liked this name better.

In the early books there are subtle hints that Campion is part of the Royal family and in the succession line to the throne. In later books, the royal connection is not mentioned. However, he has an older brother, Herbert, who is a viscount. Later, we learn from an uncle that Herbert has died and having never married the title now belongs to Campion, although he doesn’t use it

Campion was born in 1900, is well educated at top schools and by his twenties is pursuing a life as an adventurer and detective. He is able to operate in the upper class of society, interface with government officials and mingle with the criminal class all with ease. He is often assisted by his manservant Lugg, who was a former burglar.

Campion had a friendly demeanor and often sported a blank expression which could fool those around him into believing he was no threat. However, when needed, Campion rose to the task at hand and either worked behind the scenes or as the main force fighting evil and solving crimes.

Albert Campion and Peter Wimsey

Many comparisons have been made between Albert Campion and Dorothy Sayers’s, Peter Wimsey. Both are from titled families. Both have sufficient wealth that allows them to concentrate on solving cases and not worry about earning an income.

Wimsey has Mervyn Bunter and Campion has Magersfontein Lugg as their manservants and able assistants when working a case. Both spent their wars years overseas involved in never discussed secret missions for the government. Wimsey marries Harriet Vane. Campion marries Amanda Fitton, an aircraft engineer and pilot, who he first meets in Sweet Danger.  In later stories both wives have equal status with their husbands in solving cases. Wimsey has a family and Campion has his son, Rupert.

Was Campion created in honor of Lord Peter Wimsey, as a parody of Wimsey, or a starting point for Allingham to develop her own distinctive detective? Sayers and Allingham lived only a few miles from each other, but other than their professional association in The Detection Club there seemed to be little contact. Although Sayers wrote a good review of Allingham in a Sunday column stating that only a very good writer would have the versatility to create her variety of detective stories.

Allingham’s Unique Style

Allingham’s counterparts locked their detectives like Wimsey, Poirot and Alleyn into a particular format. However, Allingham was much more willing to experiment with Campion and not confine him only to a traditional mystery format.

Her early mysteries like The Black Dudley Murder, Mystery Mile, and The Gyrth Chalice Mystery are more traditional and might be classified as “village mysteries.”

In The Case of the Late Pig Campion tells the story in first person as an autobiographical account of events. In The Tiger in the Smoke, the book is written as a thriller with Campion playing a lesser role to the psychopathic killer Jack Havoc.  Allinghman--Tider in the SmokeUnlike other detectives, Campion is sometimes in the wings watching the action and not the lead character on stage.  Agatha Christie once said that Allingham’s work was “distinctive” and did not rely on plot twists for impact.

In the Campion books our detective ages along with his police associates like Stanislaus Oates, Charles Luke and L.C. Cockran (Elsie). With this aging there is a little less of the young, well-to-do adventurer that tended to stumble into a problem that needed to solved.  Instead there is a maturity which allows Campion to grow beyond George Abbershaw’s original comment of him being a “silly ass” and he becomes a well-rounded character involved in serious solutions to crime.

Campion Lives On

Campion may not be the deep-thinking detective of a Hercule Poirot with his little gray cells−or have the British government and aristocratic in-roads of Wimsey−or have Alleyn’s police knowledge and access. On the other hand, Campion is more willing to venture into a difficult situation and participate where the other detectives might not go. Campion is also not afraid to admit that he can be frightened and sometimes struggles to remain in control of a situation.

Even after all these years, Campion has his devoted followers and so he should. Allingham has provided a series of interesting mysteries, adventures and thrillers with her unique detective−Albert Campion.

 

 

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Margery Allingham-Campion Word Search-Solution

Were you able to find the key words from the 32 novels featuring Marsh’s gentleman detective, Albert Campion? Just in case you have any questions, here’s the solution to the puzzle.

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Margery Allingham-Campion Book Titles

Below is a list of Margery Allingham-Albert Campion book titles. As always look for the capital letters in the puzzle. Solution will follow in a separate post.

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Edith Ngaio Marsh

Many of you have heard about the Golden Age of Mysteries. It was introduced in the 1920’s and reached a peak in the 1930’s, and perhaps lasted as long as the authors who wrote in this style. The Golden Age of Mysteries had specific rules that mystery authors were expected to follow. (Note: check my The Golden Age of Mysteries blog from September, 2012)

Agatha Christie for her entire body of work is called the “Queen of Crime.” However, during this same period there were four writers who were designated as the “Queens of Mystery.” The title belongs to Christie and Dorothy Sayers who were discussed in previous blogs, but there are two other women who share this honor. They are Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh. This blog is about Ngaio Marsh with Allingham being discussed at a later time.

Edith Ngaio Marsh

Edith Ngaio (pronounced Nigh-oh) Marsh was born in April of 1895 and was the only child of her mother, Rose and her bank clerk father, Henry Marsh.  There is some doubt about her actual birth date because her father did not register her birth until 1900. She lived at the same address for 76 years and died in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand in February, 1982.

Marsh-A Prolific Writer

Marsh wrote 32 mystery novels between 1934 and 1982 featuring her gentleman detective Roderick Alleyn. Although Marsh was a New Zealander, only four of her novels were set in her home country. While known for her Alleyn mystery novels, she also published short stories, numerous plays and three non-fiction books including her autobiography, Black Beech and Honeydew. Over the years March valued and protected her privacy. Thus, many were surprised when she wrote her autobiography which gave readers an insight to not only her writings but her private life.

Marsh was an Avid Researcher

Marsh thoroughly researched her stories and plays. For example, for medical knowledge, she relied on doctors who were family friends and had operated on her. She kept a chart of the command hierarchy for New Scotland Yard. Aside from her own observations, she constantly researched other information for her stories at the library. She kept notebook after notebook of her research work. Marsh -young woman

Marsh as Artist, Actresses and Writer 

March was always interested in the arts. She attended St. Margaret’s College from 1910-14, where she showed a talent for writing poetry, prose and plays as well as acting. In 1913, she attended Canterbury College of Art and when she left in 1919 she had her sights set on becoming a professional painter. However, when she was given the opportunity to tour with a Shakespeare company she delayed her painting plans.

Interest in Theater

While Marsh was known for her creation of mystery stories, she also maintained a life-long passion for the theater. At home her parents followed strict Victorian standards, but they took their young daughter to many theater performances. Her parents also performed as amateur actors. Marsh felt her mother had a creative side that was never fully realized and her mother even performed in one of her plays.

One of the early theater performances Marsh attended was Christie’s Alibi. Charles Laughton played the brilliant detective Poirot.

Ngaio Marsh

Awards for Marsh

Marsh received several awards including Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1966 and the Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement as a detective novelist from the Mystery Writers of America in 1978.

March Visits England

In 1928, Marsh made her first trip to England. She enjoyed London life and worked in theatre, interior design and continued to paint. She stayed with her friends Helen and Tahu Rhodes and their five children and the two women remained lifelong friends. She was an avid people watcher and an observer of events. While staying in England, she earned money by sending travel logs back to New Zealand.

While in England in 1931, Marsh purchase some pencils and several notebooks and started writing her first mystery. She would introduce the world to Detective Chief-Inspector  Roderick Alleyn in 1934.

The Golden Age of Mysteries

Ngaio Marsh was the last to join the other ladies as a Queen of Mystery during the Golden Age. At the time Marsh entered the field, the other writers, Christie, Sayers and Allingham were at their prime and perhaps paved the way for Marsh. In 1934 when Marsh published her first book, the others all added to their list of titles.

1934

Christie’s— Murder on the Orient Express

Marsh—first book A Man Lay Dead

Sayers — Nine Taylors

Allingham—Death of a Ghost

 

The Detection Club

On one of Marsh’s visits to England she was invited to attend a monthly dinner of the Detection Club at Grosvenor House. After dinner, the group retired to a drawing room to watch the induction ceremony for E.C. Bentley. Christie was not at the ceremony, but Marsh meet her later that evening.

Dorothy Sayers was the mistress of ceremonies for this induction. Sayers was an imposing figure who towered over her fellow members. The lights went out, the door opened and Sayers wearing her academic robes, holding a single candle lead the procession into the room. Hidden in her gown was a revolver. In fact, all members had a weapon. The last member of the procession carried a skull named “Eric” on a cushion. Sayers with Eric

While Marsh followed the principles of the Detection Club, she was unable to officially join the group. The club required that members attend five to six dinners per year and with March splitting her time between New Zealand and England she was unable to meet this requirement.

Writing Becomes a Career

Marsh was still torn between her desire to develop her skill as a painter. However, her writing career took off with the publication of Enter a Murderer (1935) and The Nursing Home Murder (1936). These two novels established her place as a leading crime writer.

Marsh’s Detective– Roderick Alleyn

When we meet Roderick Alleyn, in the first book, A Man Lay Dead, he’s 40 years old, but already a Detective Chief-Inspector at Scotland Yard. We learn that Alleyn is a member of the gentry, with an older brother, Sir George, who’s a baronet. He was raised in Buckinghamshire where his mother Lady Alleyn continues to live. He graduated from Oxford, served in army for three years during World War I, spent a year in the foreign service and then joined the police department as a constable.

The first Alleyn Mystery –A Man Lay Dead

A Man Lay Dead is the first novel featuring Alleyn and as mentioned above was published in 1934. The plot concerns a murder committed during a weekend party in a country house where the guests were playing a murder game. This was a popular activity at weekend parties and especially with Sir Hubert. A Man Lay Dead 2

The murder itself concerns a small group of guests staying at Sir Hubert Handesley’s estate. The guests include Sir Hubert’s niece (Angela North), Charles Rankin (a man about town), Nigel Bathgate (Charles’s cousin and a gossip reporter), Rosamund Grant, and Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Wilde. Also in attendance are an art expert and a Russian butler.

During the game, one of the guests is secretly selected to be the murderer. The murderer gets to select the victim. At some point, the murderer taps the selected guest on the shoulder, indicating that they are the victim.  Once the victim is selected, the lights go out, a gong rings, and then everyone assembles to determine who did it. It is all intended to be light-hearted fun. Except at this party, the corpse is for real.

Unlike later novels, this first novel is focused more on Nigel Bathgate and less on Alleyn. However, Alleyn is tasked with uncovering the culprit even though all seven suspects have alibis. He brings it to a successful conclusion while being distracted by sub-plots focused on the Russians and secret societies.

The Marsh Contribution to Mysteries

Marsh is sometimes hidden behind the works of Christie and Sayers, but stands just as tall in following the principles that make a good mystery. There’s a murder, with a substantial list of suspects and many clues. There are sub-plots and of course, red herrings. Then enters Detective Chief-Inspector Alleyn who interviews the suspects and follows the clues until a solution begins to emerge. And if the reader is paying close attention they have an equal opportunity, along with Alleyn, to solve the crime. Ngaio Marsh provides the reader with a good mystery.

One last thought. Now that Hercule Poirot has finished all of his stories on PBS, how about a series featuring Detective Chief-Inspector Roderick Alleyn. There are thirty-two stories just waiting for the opportunity. I do love watching a good mystery on PBS, don’t you?

 

PD James Comments about Marsh

  • “Death is never glamorized nor trivialized in Ngaio Marsh.”
  • “Readers in the golden years demanded not only that the victim be murdered, but that he or she be, intriguingly and bizarrely murdered…the method of murder in a Ngaio Marsh novel tends to linger in the memory.”

 

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Ngaio Marsh-Roderick Alleyn Word Search -Solution

Were you able to find the key words from the 32 novels featuring Marsh’s gentleman detective, Roderick Alleyn? Just in case you have any questions,  here’s the solution to the puzzle.

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Ngaio Marsh-Roderick Alleyn Titles Word Search

Ngaio Marsh wrote 32 novels featuring her gentleman detective, Roderick Alleyn. Listed below are the titles and the date they were published. Look for the capitalized words in puzzle.

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TV Mystery Shows #4 Word Search -Solution

Just in case you want to double check your answers to see if you captured all the latest mystery shows, here is the solution. Although, I’ll bet you found them all.

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TV Mystery Shows #4

There are so many wonderful television shows available to watch. Here are a few more to add to your list. Look for the words in capital letters.

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