ALLINGHAM/SWEET DANGER (CD)
Campion, for those of you who don't know him, is a spy in the line of Lord Peter Wimsey-- seemingly effete and ineffective, his demeanor hides deadly incision and a sharp wit. The Fear Sign is a memorable addition to his canon of books.
"The Fear Sign" combines all the key elements that that Margery Allingham uses to create her classic British adventure stories starring our universal uncle, Albert Campion. Aside from Campion's company of young British upper-class, the novel also stars Amanda, Mary and Hal Fitton (plus Aunt Hatt), who are the possible (and possible illegitimate) Pontisbright heirs, a supporting cast of appropriately quirky villages and a complete host of villains.
In short order Guffy is in love with Mary, Campion has found a partner in Amanda and even Lugg has a new buddy in Scatty Williams. When Amanda shows Campion an old verse carved into a hidden tree bole the chase is on.
"If Pontisbright would crowned be, three strange happenings must he see. The diamond must be rent in twain before he wear his crown again. Thrice must the mighty bell be tolled before he shall the scepter hold, and ere he to his birthright come stricken must be Malplaquet drum."
With this clue in hand Campion sets off to save the kingdom and reinstate the Fittons to their title, followed close at hand by Brett Savanake. Then, no soon do they start their quest, but Campion disappears, leaving Guffy and the rest to proceed on their own.
Before the mystery is solved readers will find themselves participating in a failed museum theft, listening to the world's first hi-fi system, and invited to a conjuration of the devil. As is often the case, Allingham provides a continuous series of distractions to bemuse the reader, culminating in the classic chase and confrontation between the forces of good and evil.
While this style of plot is an Allingham regular, she once again manages to flesh it out with enough novelty, fascinating characters and rip-roaring action to keep the reader fascinated. Like all Campion stories it never fails to entice and delight.