My first Allingham, and fittingly, her first too. Definitely not my last.
DCI Challenor's son is on his way home to London one evening when he sees a young woman stepping off the bus with a heavy load and stops to offer her a ride to her home. Moments after leaving her there, he and the local constable hear the rapport of a shotgun and on returning find a man most definitely dead and a hallway full of suspects.
This is a very short read, relative to today's average mystery, coming in at just 157 pages. But it's a fast-paced 157 pages and Allingham dispenses with anything monotonous or that might smack of filler. The timeline jumps from one paragraph to another; sometimes by just a few hours, sometimes a few days, towards the end, a few years. This might really aggravate some readers but if you're familiar with Golden Age mysteries, you won't find it unusual.
I thoroughly enjoyed it; so much so that it was 1am when I finally shut the light off, having finished the entire book in one sitting. She had me guessing the entire way through, and not once did I come close. I found DCI Challenor's advice at the end appalling; it would never fly in our time, but in the age it was written, it would have been standard.
A very good mystery and from my first peek, I'd say Allingham is under valued as a master of mystery, but to be sure, I'll have to read a few more - as soon as possible.