Book Review: The Fashion in Shrouds by Margaret Allingham

fashionshroudsThe Fashion in Shrouds by Margaret Allingham

Detective Albert Campion has a talented dress designer sister with celebrated clients. Georgia Wells is a glamorous actress who exemplifies the 1930s femme fatale. Vain, stupid, and selfish, she attracts men like moths to a flame. When these men die, Albert suspects Georgia is more deliberately fatale than alluring.
Purchased from Audible.  Narrated by Francis Matthews
Published in the late 1930s, this is a book much of it’s time – there’s language and ideas in here that some modern readers might find offensive, so should be avoided if the reader is one likely to jump to indignation.
Richard Portland-Smith disappeared without a trace three years previously. Albert Campion has recently found his skeleton in some woods, with a bullet in the remains. The investigation of his apparent suicide, which turns out to be murder, leads to Richard’s former fiancée, the actress Georgia Wells, and onto a further series of deaths. Albert Campion’s involvement is more than just professional this time, because the case involves his sister Valentine, Georgia’s dress designer and occasional friend.
Georgia’s 2nd husband (3rd fiancée after Richard), is due to depart on a diplomatic mission to some Colonial Island State, but whilst his wife flirts with the chief aeronautical designer, the husband is found dead in the plane about to take him off. It’s then for Campion and friends to work out whodunnit.
The book is published 20 years after WWI, and just before WWII.  A lot can be said about how working women are portrayed – one of the women is a well thought of engineer – but considering this was published in the year proceeding WWII, there is no indication that anything is wrong in Europe. In fact the only people that could be considering trouble are the Colonial foreigners!
So, on the whole a decent crime novel with plenty of twists and turns. A few scenes and characters that had me twitching (but which I cant talk about without giving away some spoilers.  Only tip is that you need to pay attention to *everyone*!

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