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.