Book Review: Dancers In Mourning by Margaret Allingham

dancersinmourningJimmy Sutane, London’s favourite song-and-dance man, headlines at the Argosy Theatre, where someone plays increasingly nasty pranks. Albert Campion offers to poke around, but finds explosive egos, including a brooding musician and melodramatic young actress. Campion needs some fancy footwork of his own to evade danger.

Listened to as an audiobook from Audible. Not entirely convinced by the narrator (David Thorpe), who did a good enough job, but there was just *something* I couldnt put my finger on, especially at the beginning. Perhaps it’s simply that I am now too used to James Saxon reading Ngaio Marsh books that I’m used to a certain timbre of voice doing a reading.

Anyway, onto the story. Campion gets involved with a theatre group, who believe themselves to be at the receiving end of more and more “pranks”, ranging from delivery of offensive flowers behind the scenes to stalking in the country house retreat. The success of the current show, and the pressure of bringing in a second show on time, budget etc is making things worse, and is making people crack under the strain.  Jimmy is out driving one evening, only for a recent addition to the show to fall off the bridge in front of him and under the wheels of his car. Initially everyone is convinced that it’s suicide, but as time goes by, people become convinced that it’s murder, and the first of several.

Campion has another problem: he has fallen in love with Sutane’s wife (and maybe she’s in love with him), and finds himself paralysed in what needs to happen next, especially when the body count starts mounting up.

Now I dont know whether it’s an issue with the story, or the delivery, or something else, but I have already forgotten much of what went on in this book now that I’ve come to write the review.  Was fairly engrossing at the time, but didnt remain with me long enough to write a decent review – may have to listen to it again


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