Mystery Mile is the second book in Margery Allingham’s Albert Campion series. The Crime at Black Dudley is the first, but it features the detective Campion only incidentally. In Mystery Mile, Campion’s playful insouciance and faux-insipid charm is in full effect.
Albert Campion is a golden age of detective fiction staple. He’s featured in 21 books, spanning the years from 1929 to 1970. That was reason enough for me to begin reading, but in case you need more reasons, here are several: Campion is a totally charming and unexpected young man; he’s apparently non-threatening and depends on foes underestimating him; he’s got a mysterious background, complete with rumored ties to British royalty and a knowledge of lock picks that causes him to blush; he knows all significant villains and responds to a ridiculous variety of names, including Honorable Tootles Ash and Our Bertie; he politely steers conversations away from incidents which he would rather not come to light; and, lastly, he’s a delight to revisit, book after book.
I enjoyed the romance and the plot escalation from quaint to really menacing. Of course, I will read all of Allingham’s Campion books (number 7 is home on my shelf), but Mystery Mile is one of my favorites.