Thursday, August 6, 2015

THE CASE OF THE LATE PIG by Margery Allingham

In Margery Allingham’s The Case of the Late Pig (1937), Pig dies twice. At least it seems that way.

“Pig” is the nickname of a man Albert Campion knew as a schoolyard bully. When Lugg, Campion’s butler, reads him Pig’s obituary, Campion decides to attend the funeral. He hadn’t seen the man since their school days.

From there Campion ends up investigating at least two murders including Pig’s second death.

The first-person story unfolds slowly. It is both macabre and humorous. Campion is interested in a young woman, but he is so incompetent at courting that he loses her.

Allingham fills The Case of the Late Pig with strange characters--a greedy uncle, an odd young woman who forces herself on Campion, an unexplained young male visitor, and the local doctor who pushes into the investigation.

One strong thing about the book is it concept of small towns. At one point, a local police official says,

“Don’t you see, my boy, a terrible thing is happening. It’s the strangers who are getting killed off. The field’s narrowing down to our own people. Good God! What’s to be done now?”

Allingham’s story is incredibly complex. It involves mixed identities, mania, and an interestingly difficult backstory.

Campion’s tragic mistake makes for a hair-raising ending.

According to what I read, The Case of the Late Pig is the only Albert Campion story Allingham wrote first person from Campion’s point of view.

I learned of this book from the Pattinase blog’s “Friday’s Forgotten Books.” On Fridays, Patti lists links to blogs which feature “forgotten” books of all kinds.

Others help Patti with the “Friday’s Forgotten Books,” sometimes taking over the listings to give her that day away.

In any case, I have found so many good books from this source. I recommend it highly.

This is my first Margery Allingham. I’ve heard a lot about her, but I had never read a book she wrote.

If you like complicated cozies (or semi-cozies), you might like the Albert Campion books.


TracyK said...

Great review. I have read all of the Allingham books when I was younger, now I have started rereading them with Sweet Danger. I recently read Death of a Ghost and have one more to read before moving on to The Case of the Late Pig. Must do that soon.

Joe Barone said...

Tracy, So sorry to be so long in moderating this comment. I was away from the computer. I'm told this book is somewhat different than the others. I enjoyed reading The Case of the Late Pig. I look forward to hearing your comments after you have read it. --Joe.