Author and friend of the Deighton Dossier Mike Ripley - editor of the Getting Away with Murder
column on Shotsmag, the online resource for fans of crime and thriller fiction - has paid tribute to his friend and fellow author Len Deighton in his new novel.
Mike, the author of the Angel series of detective novels and supremo behind Ostara Publishing
- which is resurrecting lost thrillers and spy novels, book by book - has written the new Albert Campion novel - Mr Campion's Fox
- starring the detective character created by Margery Allingham.
The first novel in this new series, Mr Campion's Farewell,
was based on a fragment of a manuscript started by the author's widower, Youngman Carter, which Ripley completed to resurrect this detective.
This new novel, the second in the revamped series, Mr Campion's Fox, is a new story created by Ripley for the character.
The crime fiction in thebook takes place in the fictional Suffolk coastal village of Gapton. Here's the summary of the plot from the book's publicity material:
'The Danish Ambassador has requested Albert Campion's help on 'a delicate family matter'. He's very concerned about his eighteen-year-old daughter, who has formed an attachment to an unsuitable young man. Recruiting his unemployed actor son, Rupert, to keep an eye on Frank Tate, the young man in question, Mr Campion notes some decidedly odd behaviour on the part of the up-and-coming photographer.
Before he can act on the matter, however, both the Ambassador's daughter and her beau disappear without trace. Then a body is discovered in a lagoon. With appearances from all of Margery Allingham's regular characters, from Campion's former manservant Lugg, to his wife Lady Amanda Fitton and others, this witty and elegant mystery is sure to delight Allingham's many fans. The dialogue is sharp and witty, the observation keen, and the climax is thrilling and eerily atmospheric.'
In the Campion books, Albert Campion worked on and off for British Intelligence, usually just referred to as ‘Security’. The Head of Security (capital S, nothing to do with Sandyman’s Brewery...), who retired in one of the Youngman Carter books, was L. C. Corkran, known as “Elsie” from his initials “L.C.”
In Ripley's new book, as it involves East German spies, he sought a replacement “Elsie” and the thought came to him: who did he know with those initials? So, Ripley invented “Major” L.C. Deighton
as the new “Elsie”. Here's an excerpt from the text:
"My name’s not Corkran, though – that would be rather incestuous – it’s Deighton, actually.’
‘Like the writer of those clever spy stories?’ Campion asked innocently.
‘Never mind.’ Campion turned to the man closer to his own age and took his proffered hand. ‘Delighted to meet you, Mr Sandyman; speaking as a grateful customer.’"
Len's initials are, of course, L.C - Leonard Cyril Deighton. Nice tribute! The book is available on Amazon here