On the Bookshelf...

Mr Campion's Mosaic

Mike Ripley

Albert Campion travels to Dorset as he attempts to get to the bottom of a series of shocking events connected to a TV adaptation of one of Evadne Childe's famous novels. London, 1972. The Evadne Childe Society has gathered in honour of what would have been the author's eighty-second birthday, and Albert Campion is there as a reluctant guest speaker and ceremonial birthday cake cutter. But Campion's oratory skills aren't the only thing in demand. A TV remake of a twenty-year-old film adaptation of one of Evadne's classic novels, The Moving Mosaic, has been derailed by someone attempting to murder the leading man - the latest in a series of increasingly disturbing incidents - and the society wants Campion to investigate. Who is determined to sabotage the production at any cost, and why? Travelling to the picturesque village of Kingswalter Manor in Dorset where filming is due to start, Campion soon stumbles upon dark secrets, ghosthunters, an impressive mosaic, and murder.

I'd never read any of the Marjory Allingham Campion stories. I picked up this book because I liked the blurb. A detective visiting a literary society where a murder takes place. Throw in a film and a Roman mosaic and I was hooked. The story was a solid read keeping me interested throughout the story with only a minor drop in the middle. I sadly can't compare it to the originals, but if this is any indiction then it'll be worth reading some of them.

Campion, a man in his seventies is invited to be a guest speaker at the Evadne Childe Society conference. Whilst there, he is persuaded to investigate a problem the society are having with getting a TV programme made of the books of Childe. Intrigued by the mystery, Campion agrees and with his son Rupert, 'a resting actor' heads for deepest Dorset.

The story was a delightful read. The characters interacted with each other really well. I loved the landlord of the Dorset pub who put a BBC crewman in hospital after eating one of his 'curries'. Lugg, Campions foil, is a great likeable character who for some reason made me think of Brian Glover (the school teacher in Kes), but with a posh accent. The village in Dorset seemed like a beautiful place. I could almost smell the grass and trees. All in all the story was a solid read. The story was set in the seventies, but something in my head had me placing it in the thirties. It had that same style of writing of books from that era.

All in all a good book and recommended if you like those writers like Agatha Christe and Majory Allingham.

Thanks to Netgallery and Severn House for allowing an eARC to read in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

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