Ms. Allingham, you can't just slap some Ruritanian Romance into your mystery. It does not work, just like the Holy Grail stand-in, tower-of-mystery trappings in [b:Look to the Lady|383189|Look to the Lady (Albert Campion Mystery #3)|Margery Allingham|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348706971s/383189.jpg|74143] didn't work. And while I'm being blunt, the gritty crime action? You're not so hot at that, either. Stick to the standard parlor-mystery with clues 'n' stuff -- you do that so much better. There's not much mystery in this mystery: the good guys (representing the British government) race to get the Ruritarian McGuffins before the the bad guys. There are a couple of cute barely-legal lasses and some fist-fights.
The brightest note in this installment was the introduction of Amanda Fitton, one of the few Allingham characters I find pretty consistently likable. It is slightly interesting, if it's not a coincidence, that the two novels with the most Romantic trappings are the two that also have the only vestiges for romance. For Campion, I mean; most of her books have the standard innocent-you-love-interests of mysteries of this period. I found the hint-of-interest-but-we're-not-acting-on-it here more convincing than the asserted romantic disappointment in [b:Look to the Lady|383189|Look to the Lady (Albert Campion Mystery #3)|Margery Allingham|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348706971s/383189.jpg|74143], because in that case he'd known the woman in question for years and had been ignoring her obvious attraction to him; he didn't display any interest in her until she fell for someone else. I feel like Allingham just put that in the book to make it clear that Campion isn't gay or completely asexual.
Also, there was a scene that pissed me off where Amanda's brother Hal physically manhandles her, twisting her arms and dragging her to lock her in a shed. Not for any practical reason, even, just because he's angry at her and wants to punish her
. Totally superfluous to the plot. A lot of the book felt kind of haphazard. Reasonably entertaining, but not terribly successful. I'd recommend it more to series completists than mystery lovers.