The Margery Allingham Society

From The Glue Works

The newsletter of the Margery Allingham Society

No.15 - July 2007

New Society appointments
It has recently become necessary for our Treasurer and Membership Secretary, Rosemary Costello, to relinquish both positions. We thank her warmly for her work for the Society since she took on the dual responsibility. In her place, two other committee members have generously agreed to serve, Paula Cooze as Treasurer and Lesley Simpson as Membership Secretary. Lesley will combine her new role with her existing one as our Web-mistress. Our grateful thanks go to them both.
Forthcoming event
The next event in the Society's calendar is the meeting to celebrate seventy years of Dancers in Mourning, which first appeared in May 1937. (The Case of the Late Pig, published a month earlier, will be the subject of an article by Michael Cox in the next Bottle Street Gazette, due in the autumn.)
The Dancers in Mourning evening will be a joint event with the Jack Hulbert and Cicely Courtneidge Appreciation Society (JHACCAS for short!) and will take place at the Club for Acts and Actors (formerly the Concert Artistes' Association) at 20, Bedford Street just down from Covent Garden on 21 September next. A booking form for this event is inlcuded with this newsletter. Full details will be sent nearer the time to those who sign up. The date is Friday 21 September and we shall be finished by 10.0 at the latest.
Programme for 2008
In 2008, the Society will celebrate its twentieth birthday, Pat Watt having sent out her first newsletter in January 1968. In addition, five novels have significant birthdays: The White Cottage Mystery (1928) will be 80; The Fashion in Shrouds (1938) will be 70; More Work for the Undertaker (1948) will be 60; Hide My Eyes (1958) will be 50; and Cargo of Eagles (1968) will be 40.
To celebrate The Fashion in Shrouds Marianne van Hoeven will arrange an event relating to haute couture in conjunction with an established costume collection. For More Work for the Undertaker, taking our cue from the song from which the title derives, we shall visit a famous London cemetery ('in a London cemetery, on his tomb-stone you will see...'). It's in Kensal Green in north-west London and is much visited. One of the most famous of all mystery writers - Wilkie Collins - is buried here and there are other literary graves.
It is hoped that the other books may be remembered in the Gazette. The White Cottage Mystery should certainly be written up and the Chairman intends to make the necessary effort. If you would like to write about any of these books for our journal your doing so would be much appreciated.
Two other events will complete the calendar for the year: the usual birthday lunch in May, this time with Margaret Yorke as our guest, and a twentieth birthday party. Margaret Yorke is a prolific novelist, author of romantic, detective and suspense novels. In recognition of her distinguished contribution to crime writing she was awarded the Diamond Dagger of the Crime Writers Association. She wrote about an encounter with Margery Allingham in the centenary collection and recently praised her again in the special supplement to CADS published when this magazine reached its fiftieth edition (to the great credit of its founder-publisher-editor, Geoff Bradley).
The birthday lunch is booked in to the University Women's Club in Audley Square for Saturday 17th May next year. The Society's 20th birthday will be celebrated at the Royal College of General Practitioners on Saturday 8 March. The college is at 14, Prince's Gate in Kensington, not far from the Albert Hall. We shall have lunch in the Long Room and there will be a diversion of sorts relating to Margery and the medical profession.
Recent Events
The latest birthday lunch for Margery and Albert was a great success. Jonathan Gash greatly endeared himself to the company. A full report will appear in the autumn Gazette.
The American convention of the Dorothy L. Sayers Society, in which there was an Allingham component, took place at Wheaton College in Illinois from 13 to 17 June. Susan Peters spoke on Margery's War; Jasmine Simeone on Dorothy and Margery; and Seona Ford on the landscape of East Anglia and its criminous connections, not least Sayers and Allingham. The Society is grateful to all three and to the Chairman and committee of the Sayers Society, who welcolmed us aboard. A report will appear in the autumn Gazette and Jasmine's talk will be featured.
Colchester Tribute
Jasmine also reports that Margery Allingham and Dorothy L. Sayers are to be commemorated permanently in Colchester, a city with which both had strong affiliations. A new housing development is to include both Allingham Court and Sayers Court. Some years ago Tolleshunt D'Arcy made a similar move, naming Margery Allingham Place after its famous resident.
Radio 4 reading
On Friday 13 July Martin Jarvis reads on Radio 4 Margery's story Three is a Lucky Number. It is the last in a series of five going out at 3:30 each afternoon. Liza Cody and Antonia Fraser are others who will feature.
New Publications
The Times Literary Supplement for 22 June carried a full-page-plus-1/3-page review of three newly-republished Allingham novels: Police at the Funeral, More Work for the Undertaker and The Beckoning Lady. They are now available as Vintage paperbacks at 6.99 each. Those familiar with the series will know that the books appear in an attractive format. Chorion, the holder of Margery Allingham's copyrights, having dragged its feet at the time of the centenary, is redeeming itself handsomely. A complete collection of the Albert Campion short stories has been mooted and one hopes it may materialise. If Mr. Campion and Others appears, we shall know that it won't. Keep your fingers crossed or, better still, let Chorion know that you'd welcome a single volume with all the Campion shorts brought together. The non-Campion stories could also be collected, perhaps with a section highlighting the ghost stories. If the existing collections were to be reissured as they stand certain stories would slip through the net. Chorion should not let this happen.
The TLS review was by Trev Broughton, who seems to know his stuff: not only the three novels under consideration, but also The Oaken Heart, the plethora of bishops in Albert's family, The K--------- viscountcy and the shared birthday of Margery and Albert. He quotes most felicitously from the works and gives an entertaining overview of the books and their 'vividly differentiated moral milieux'. He echoes Jane Stevenson, who wrote last year in 'The Guardian': one does not read an Allingham for its plot. 'The typical Campion plot is darkly bonkers and in the end probably not worth the candle.' Hmmm. With the word 'Discuss' attached, that might be an exam question. Mr. Broughton notes the similarity of structure between Police and More Work and develops the comparison agreeably. He tends to steer clear of The Beckoning Lady, perhaps wisely. At least he does not denigrate it, as some have done.
The review was accompanied by a drawing of the young Margery, deriving from the Houston Rogers photograph, taken when she had dark hair cut in a fringe and framing her face closely on either side. She sits in an elaborate padded coffin - no doubt the Queen Mary - (as 'me and the boy call her when we're talking among ourselves') - holding a magnifying glass and with flowers to her right and a wreath to her left. The artist is Welsh, or perhaps Walsh, and he/she has done a very neat job.

Greetings from all at the Glueworks.

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