Some objects just cry out to be stolen, and an obliging ring of international thieves stands ready to heed the cry. Their current target is the Gyrth Chalice, a priceless goblet that the Gyrth family has for centuries held in trust for the British Crown. Kept in a windowless chapel, and protected by a fearsome curse, the Chalice should be impervious to thievery. But this is 1930, and the crooks have all the advantages of the modern world. Chief among these is the craving for publicity, to which at least one member of the Gyrth clan has succumbed. Her careless chatter about the Chalice seems to have called up all manner of misfortunes - of which larceny is just the beginning - and the vague, bespectacled Albert Campion doesn't look like he'll be much help against them. But looks can be deceptive.
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Margery Allingham was born in Ealing, London in 1904 to a family immersed in literature. Her first novel, Blackkerchief Dick, was published in 1923 when she was 19. Her first work of detective fiction was a serialized story published by the Daily Express in 1927. Entitled The White Cottage Mystery, it contained atypical themes for a woman writer of the era. Her breakthrough occurred in 1929 with the publication of The Crime at Black Dudley. This introduced Albert Campion, albeit originally as a minor character. He returned in Mystery Mile, thanks in part to pressure from her American publishers, much taken with the character. Campion proved so successful that Allingham made him the centrepiece of another 17 novels and over 20 short stories, continuing into the 1960s.Review:
Wonderfully plotted . . . a marvelous mixture of witchcraft, sacred relics, and ancient oaths. Allingham was a rare and precious talent --Washington Post
Margery Allingham is very, very good, and those who are not familiar with her have a delightful discovery awaiting them --Los Angeles Times
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