I re-read Margery Allingham's Coroner's Pidgin (first published by William Heineman in 1945, more recently by Penguin). It's an Albert Campion 'thriller' - the quotation marks are there because I didn't thrill. It is a period piece which brings back my teenage years, when I was first allowed to read her books, supposedly for 'grown-ups'. The writing itself is excellent, but the story is twee.
Her story includes a description of war-time London, in ways which can be unexpected: London's "thin, war-time traffic", someone leaning back on the taxi's leather seat, ARP personnel "on duty in the square" keeping pigs there, and calling them 'old girl', a soldier finding himself "living in two worlds which were utterly different" - the civilian and the military, familiar landmarks vanishing - "avenues of neatly tidied nothingness".
Returning the book to the shelf, I found another of her books, Tiger in the Smoke, written in 1952. Again, Albert Campion plays a role, and so does Canon Avril, a wise and kind excentric. There is a cute warning, printed as a small block in italics in the middle of the page preceding the table of contents:
Only the most pleasant characters in this book are portraits of living people and the events here recorded unfortunately never took place.