Best 1952 Adventures (6)

By: Joshua Glenn
July 2, 2017

One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1952 adventure novels. Happy 65th anniversary!

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Margery Allingham‘s crime adventure The Tiger in the Smoke.

The fourteenth Albert Campion novel is an atmospheric thriller about a serial killer — escaped prisoner “Jack Havoc” — who’s on the loose in London. It’s also a hunted-man adventure (Campion, an amateur sleuth, aided as always by his ex-burglar manservant Lugg, seeks Havoc) and a treasure hunt (Havoc seeks a buried treasure he learned about during the war; so do his his wartime compatriots). When her fiancé is kidnapped, Meg Elginbrodde (whose deceased ex-husband may have been involved in the treasure escapade) enlists Campion’s help. With Cockney police detective Inspector Luke, Campion hunts the vicious beast at loose in “the smoke” (period slang for London). A thick fog settles over the city; the plot develops gradually; and the characters — particularly the Lafcadio-esque Havoc, a believer in “the science of luck,” and the street gang of ex-servicemen — are fascinating.

Fun fact: Though not necessarily Allingham’s most amusing novel, The Tiger in the Smoke is considered one of her finest. It is J. K. Rowling’s favorite crime novel.

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Let me know if I’ve missed any 1952 adventures that you particularly admire. Also, please check out these additional lists. The 200 Greatest Adventure Novels of All Time. THE OUGHTS (1904–13): 1905 | 1906 | 1907 | 1910 | 1911 | 1912. THE TEENS (1914–23): 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1920 | 1921 | 1922. THE TWENTIES (1924–33): 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932. THE THIRTIES (1934–43): 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1940 | 1941 | 1942. THE FORTIES (1944–53): 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1950 | 1951 | 1952. THE FIFTIES (1954–63): 1955 | 1956 | 1957 | 1960 | 1961 | 1962. THE SIXTIES (1964–73): 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972. THE SEVENTIES (1974–83): 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982. The goal, eventually, is to publish a Top 10 Adventures list for every year of the 20th century.

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Adventure, Lit Lists

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