The Tiger in the Smoke

by Margery Allingham



British mystery novelist Allingham is less interested in clever plot twists than in her characters, which is both good and bad.  Good, because she’s created an unusually strong villain, the knife-wielding, tortured-soul Jack Havoc (a.k.a. “Johnny Cash” – I kid you not), but bad because her heroes are a bland bunch.  Whenever the action shifts to the story’s quartet of lovebirds, I was reminded of those old Marx Brothers movies – pure genius whenever the boys were on screen, but barely tolerable when the obligatory lovers took center stage.


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