On January 27, 2017, the Allingham estate is releasing something different: one of three so-called “lost” novels that Allingham wrote under the name “Maxwell March” starting in 1931, to earn some extra money. Rogues Holiday is apparently the first of these. This book is proof that Margery Allingham could do very well indeed without the Allingham name and her most famous character, Albert Campion.
Early on, we meet David Blest, a handsome young Scotland Yard Inspector coping with the unexpected death of Eric Ingleton-Gray, a 27-7ear-old man of good family, in the august Senior Bluffs Club, St. James. Colonel Bloom, Club secretary, avers that the unfortunate gentlemen suffered an accident while in his cups after a night on the town in the company of Sir Leo Thyn, an older, long-established club member. Inspector Blest has his doubts, but after a heart-to-heart discussion with his superior officer, Superintendent McQuirk, David is persuaded not to make trouble where there is none. He takes McQuirk’s suggestion to embark on his scheduled two-week leave of absence.
That would seem to be that, but of course, it isn’t. David quietly decides to use his holiday time to pursue his inquiries at the Arcadian Hotel, Westbourne-on-Sea–which just happens to be where Sir Leo is staying. Then, David chances to meet a charming young lady who piques his interest because of her apparent ill health.
From there, the plot thickens nicely; there is another suspicious death, villains of various stripes abound. The lovely young lady, Miss Judy Wellington, turns out to be hiding a secret, including the fact that her apparent delicate health is a carefully orchestrated invention. But why?
This story just keeps gaining momentum, adding layers of complexity and eliciting our curiosity to the point that it is hard to put the book down (at least it was for me). All in all this is a corking good story with an absorbing mix of villainy, romance, intrigue, and mystery. It is less a Golden Age mystery, and more of a thriller. Without Campion, Allingham is still masterful
My thanks to Camilla of the Allingham estate for providing an advance copy f0r me to read and review.