Friday Fatales: Women of Mystery is an occasional series in which we honor an author recognized for her contribution to the genre of mystery (or suspense, noir, thriller, and crime fiction).
Margery Louise Allingham (photo, left, courtesy The Margery Allingham Society), ranked one of the most distinguished writers of detective fiction’s “Golden Age,” was born in Ealing, a London suburb, on May 20, 1904. Both of her parents were authors. Her detective stories feature a gentleman sleuth, Albert Campion.
Allingham, along with Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy L. Sayers, are responsible for the beginning of the “Cozy Mystery” sub-genre.
Agatha Christie opined,”Margery Allingham stands out like a shining light.”
P.D. James believes “Margery Allingham deserves to be rediscovered.”
From 1935 until her death in 1966 at age 62, Margery and her husband Philip Youngman Carter (“Pip”) lived at D’Arcy House in the Essex village of Tolleshunt D’Arcy.
In 1988, The Margery Allingham Society was founded to celebrate the life and work of a great “Queen of Crime.” For more in-depth look at Margery’s life, visit here.
Margery’s short stories appeared in such publications as Strand, Analog, and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. For a list of her bibliography, visit here. To whet your literary appetite, check out the plot summaries of her novels.
In 2014, The Margery Allingham Society will be sponsoring a new competition, organized by the Crime Writers’ Association, for short stories up to 3500 words. There are two key requirements for the Margery Allingham Short Story Competition: it must be an unpublished short story that fits Margery’s definition of a mystery:
“The Mystery remains box-shaped, at once a prison and a refuge. Its four walls are, roughly, a Crime, a Mystery, an Enquiry and a Conclusion with an Element of Satisfaction in it.”
The deadline for the CWA Margery Allingham Short Story Competition is March 16, 2014. The competition is open to anyone over 18, wherever they live. Stories must be in English and must not exceed 3,500 words. The entry fee is 10 pounds (approx $16.40 USD). The Grand Prize is 1000 pounds (approx $1640.20 USD). For further information and an entry form, click here.
The winner will be announced at CrimeFest in 2014 in Bristol, UK. You can follow CWA on Twitter @the_cwa and on Facebook. A Facebook page is dedicated to the Allingham Family Fictions.
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