Hunt for a serial killer

Hide My Eyes is the grimmest and blackest Campion mystery I've read. It's one of Allingham's later works written and set in the 1950s. Campion's old pal Stanislaus Oates is now Assistant Commissioner at Scotland Yard, and his young protege Luke is set to follow in his footsteps. Although nominally a Campion mystery, Campion actually plays very little part in it, with the bulk of the detecting being divided between various policeman.

Luke connects a series of unrelated crimes, and it then becomes clear that there is a serial killer on the loose. Gerry, the Hannibal Lector, of Allingham's novel is as scary a villain as you're going to meet in British crime fiction. He is amoral, completely conscienceless, and also proud of his craft. A chilling combination.

It's a bleak, grim, and compelling novel. Very different from the earlier lighter Campion's, and much more akin to The Tiger in the Smoke. As ever Allingham's descriptions of London life are well drawn, and in this case positively Dickensian. I never realised what a chilling writer she could be - and that's said with the highest praise.


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