Originally published in 1955, The Beckoning Lady is one of the frothiest and most deliriously charming books in the Albert Campion series. In The Tiger in the Smoke, the Margery Allingham novel that preceded it, the big event, the one that dominates all thought, is World War II - over for several years, but still casting an endless shadow. In Beckoning Lady, by contrast, the big event is an upcoming party, the swankiest, most glamorous thing that's happened for years in this little English village. There's a murder or two, of course, and some canny sleuthing on Campion's part, but the prevailing flavor is of the best vintage champagne. Fun fact: Minnie and Tonker, the pub proprietors at the center of the novel, are said to be based on Allingham herself and her husband, Philip Youngman-Carter.