My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read “Hide My Eyes” on a rainy Sunday afternoon/early evening. When I finished the book, my thoughts immediately were simply, “wow”.
Margery Allingham has written several mysteries with Albert Campion, the hero private investigator, always able to rise to the occasion and solve each particular crime. In “Hide My Eyes”, Sergeant Luke, who simply cannot stop questioning leads he comes across, (despite the skepticism of a departmental superior), needs help in solving a particularly difficult case. Reluctantly he accepts help from Campion and the investigation begins to pick up.
The characters in this novel are engaging and so well done! The young vulnerable girl just up from the country and needing a protector on her first real visit to London, the perpetrator of the crimes himself, hiding his cycnicsm and creativity with cover-ups beneath a respectable exterior, the nosy neighbor who is so helpful to police investigation, the good friend who makes promises (against her better judgment), and then calls the police anyway, the naive elderly lady who can’t stop believing in the ultimate goodness of mankind.
“There’s some good in that boy or you couldn’t love him, dearest,” she said. “That’s a law of God and Nature and none of us here will forget it.”
What makes this mystery different from most others is that the reader knows who the villain is almost right from the start. What makes it so delightful to read is watching him evade detection time after time and the frustrating trails the police are forced to follow that seem to lead, simply, nowhere. What also makes this novel so entertaining are the great lengths and clever tricks the perpetrator takes and the unforeseen and unplanned events that (in spite of all his creative maneuvers) get in his way.
What makes it so incredibly ‘human’, is the scene at the end when the reader is forced to wonder, ‘did he do that because he was just at the end of his rope? or was he REALLY as human as the rest of us?’
This is, if not THE best, one of Allingham’s top novels and definitely worth a second (and slower) read, for pure enjoyment.