A historical novel about smugglers set on Mersea Island in the 17th century inspired by a series of seances held by the Allingham family while on holiday on Mersea. Margery Allingham was born in Ealing, London, in 1904, to a family immersed in literature. Her first novel, Blackkerchief Dick, was published in 1923, when she was 19. Her first work of detective fiction was a serialized story published by the Daily Express in 1927.
Entitled The White Cottage Mystery, it contained atypical themes for a woman writer of the era. Her breakthrough occurred in 1929 with the publication of The Crime at Black Dudley.
This introduced Albert Campion, albeit originally as a minor character. He returned in Mystery Mile, thanks in part to pressure from her American publishers, much taken with the character.
Campion proved so successful that Allingham made him the centrepiece of another 17 novels and over 20 short stories, continuing into the 1960s.