Margery Louise Allingham (20 May 1904 – 30 June 1966) was an English crime writer, best remembered for her detective stories featuring gentleman sleuth Albert Campion. Two series were made from her work by the BBC in 1989 and 1990, starring Peter Davison as Campion, Brian Glover as his manservant Lugg and Andrew Burt as his policeman friend Stanislaus Oates. The series is a visual delight as Albert Campion investigates foul play in the stately homes of 1930s England. It is the theme music for the series, a total of eight mysteries, that has captured my imagination.
Nigel Hess, who read music at Cambridge University where he was Music Director of the famous Footlights Revue Company, has since worked as a composer and conductor in television, theatre and film. His music for Campion is iconic for these period pieces. (Unfortunately, I can’t find any details about the theme music to pass along.) With charm, Peter Davison sings the title music for the first series himself; in the second series, it is replaced with an instrumental version. IF ONLY I could add music to my novel writing that sets the scene like Hess’s music does. You can close your eyes and SEE an age I was born just late of, yet seems a part of my D/A. Nigel Hess’s music, like Downton Abbey’s exquisite interiors, costumes and cars serve a purpose. I am determined to learn from the Campion series how to translate Hess’s theme music into words that can leave a reader as captivated.