cover image Mr. Campion’s Mosaic

Mr. Campion’s Mosaic

Mike Ripley. Severn, $29.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-5098-0

Even devoted admirers of Margery Allingham’s originals will be hard-pressed to find any false notes in Ripley’s impressive 10th novel continuing the exploits of her amateur gentleman detective, Albert Campion (after 2021’s Mr. Campion’s Wings). It’s 1972, and the 72-year-old Campion has been a rush replacement speaker at a London gathering of a society dedicated to the works of late crime writer Evadne Childe, whom he knew. Campion was tapped in place of film star Peyton Spruce, who portrayed Childe’s archaeologist sleuth, Rex Troughton, in a less than successful 1950s movie. The BBC has just begun work on a TV series featuring Troughton, with an aging Spruce again playing the lead. But the production has been disrupted by many disturbing incidents, including an assault on the director and a car running over Spruce in what may have been a murder attempt. Campion agrees to investigate, aided by his actor son, Rupert, and his entertaining longtime ally, ex-con Magersfontein Lugg. The lead remains in character, even as Ripley both ages him and features him in plots set after his creator’s death in 1966. Ripley’s brilliant inventiveness demonstrates that golden age characters and tropes can still work for contemporary fair-play fans. (Oct.)