Margery Louise Allingham is ranked among the most distinguished and beloved detective fiction writers of the Golden Age alongside Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Ngaio Marsh. Allingham is J.K. Rowling's favourite Golden Age author and Agatha Christie said of Allingham that out of all the detective stories she remembers, Margery Allingham 'stands out like a shining light'.
She was born in Ealing, London in 1904 to a very literary family; her parents were both writers, and her aunt ran a magazine, so it was natural that Margery too would begin writing at an early age. She wrote steadily through her school days, first in Colchester and later as a boarder at the Perse School for Girls in Cambridge, where she wrote, produced, and performed in a costume play. After her return to London in 1920 she enrolled at the Regent Street Polytechnic, where she studied drama and speech training in a successful attempt to overcome a childhood stammer. There she met Phillip Youngman Carter, who would become her husband and collaborator, designing the jackets for many of her future books.
The Allingham family retained a house on Mersea Island, a few miles from Layer Breton, and it was here that Margery found the material for her first novel, the adventure story Blackkerchief Dick (1923), which was published when she was just nineteen. She went on to pen multiple novels, some of which dealt with occult themes and some with mystery, as well as writing plays and stories – her first detective story, The White Cottage Mystery, was serialized in the Daily Express in 1927.
Allingham died at the age of 62, and her final novel, A Cargo of Eagles, was finished by her husband at her request and published posthumously in 1968.
Date of Birth:
May 20, 1904
Date of Death:
June 30, 1966
Place of Birth:
Place of Death:
Colchester, Essex, England
Endsleigh House School, Colchester; the Perse School, Cambridge; and the Regent Street Polytechnic, London