“Dornford killed Fellowes somewhere in Australia.”
I’ve written before about being a fan of Campion and the period-gentle kind of mystery. Here we have a collection of short stories, some with the famous detective, others a little more random. All in all, a rather good mix!
We open with a foreword from Agatha Christie – what better stamp of approval can another mystery writer of the time get, really?
The first story surprised me, as I didn’t know the author dabbled in horror. This is a perfect mystery-come-terror story, which I can wholly imagine being told around a campfire. And, despite the age (so much is reused, and loses something from the familiarity) still gave me a fun little chill. The rest of the stories mix this kind of ‘ghost story’ with mysteries, and a large dose of whimsy.
The strength of the writing is clear. There’s a lovely mix of cosy period elements, throwbacks to more genteel times, but with mysteries that genuinely kept me wondering where it was going next, whether they involved ageing, publicity-hunger actors, or church men who aren’t very godly, haunted parrot cages (!), or a more domestic tale of a couple’s last evening before an agreed divorce.
The Campion stories are scattered between, few of them and one I’d read before (in Campion at Christmas), but always a pleasure to imagine the character as portrayed in the TV series I loved.
Overall: an old-fashioned but nicely so collection of mysteries and light chills, perfect for the season – and beyond!
NetGalley eARC: 269 pages / 18 short stories
First published: 1973 and most recently rereleased October 2019
Series: Campion and other non-series stories
Read from 7th-27th October 2019
My rating: 7.5/10