Margery Allingham is a writer who I only just discovered, but she is a crime/mystery writer from between the 1930s and the 1960s. Because of the period she wrote in I don’t imagine her books would be everyone’s idea of a good read, but I liked the language (if not the inherent sexism) and the tight plotting.
After having read many books this past fortnight by big names in crime fiction today, I discovered I like hers better. They felt honest in a way that the contrivances of modern crime writing often prevent books from feeling.
They were also full of voices and characters that left most of the inhabitants of the other novels far behind for interest and coming alive off the page. And I liked of her descriptive style:
As she passes down these great airy streets, where so many houses are let out in single rooms now, window curtains tremble, blinds creep down and keys turn softly in locks. She passes by like a shudder.
Reading Ms Allingham also made me yearn for a return to one other aspect of her books – they were short. Many a novel would benefit of not trying to be 100-120 K long.