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Margery Allingham

  • A genuine coincidence always means bad luck for me; it's my only superstition.

  • ... Mr. Bull revealed a streak of conscious virtue which his acquaintances somewhat naturally discredited instantly from his very insistence upon it.

  • I am one of those people who are blessed, or cursed, with a nature which has to interfere. If I see a thing that needs doing I do it.

  • If one cannot command attention by one's admirable qualities at least one can be a nuisance.

  • Outrage, combining as it does shock, anger, reproach, and helplessness, is perhaps the most unmanageable, the most demoralizing of all the emotions.

  • The optimism of a healthy mind is indefatigable ...

  • When the habitually even-tempered suddenly fly into a passion, that explosion is apt to be more impressive than the outburst of the most violent amongst us.

  • Love so seldom means happiness.

  • He did not arrive at this conclusion by the decent process of quiet, logical deduction, nor yet by the blinding flash of glorious intuition, but by the shoddy, untidy process halfway between the two by which one usually gets to know things.

  • Once sex rears its ugly 'ead it's time to steer clear.

  • The nicest people fall in love indiscriminately ... while under the influence of that pre-eminently selfish lunacy they may make the most outrageous demands upon their friends with no other excuse than their painful need.

  • When one kicks over a tea table and smashes everything but the sugar bowl, one may as well pick that up and drop it on the bricks, don't you think?

  • ... there are roughly two sorts of informed people, aren't there? People who start off right by observing the pitfalls and mistakes and going round them, and the people who fall into them and get out and know they're there because of that. They both come to the same conclusions but they don't have quite the same point of view.

  • It's pitch, sex is. Once you touch it, it clings to you.

  • You bore me ... when you talk about one sex or the other, as if they were separate things. There is only one human entity and that is a man and a woman.

  • Infatuation is one of those slightly comic illnesses which are at once so undignified and so painful that a nice-minded world does its best to ignore their existence altogether, referring to them only under provocation and then with apology, but, like its more material brother, this boil on the neck of the spirit can hardly be forgotten either by the sufferer or anyone else in his vicinity. The malady is ludicrous, sad, excruciating and, above all, instantly diagnosable.

  • Of all the band of personal traitors the sense of humor is the most dangerous.

  • In common with many other people he cherished the secret conviction that a celebrity should look peculiar, at the very least, and had hitherto been happy to note that a great number did.

  • It's crackers to slip a rozzer the dropsy in snide.

  • ... his mistaken belief in his own superiority cut him off from reality as completely as if he were living in a colored glass jar.

  • ... the pavements looked washed and sticky, like pieces of half-sucked toffee.

  • That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    • Margery Allingham,
    • "The Name on the Wrapper," in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine ()
  • There was nobody who could talk so well to people they didn't know. The first half-hour you were with him made you think you'd discovered something, but all the other half-hours were a disillusionment.

    • Margery Allingham,
    • "It Didn't Work Out," in Six Against the Yard ()
  • Lying wastes more time than anything else in the modern world.

  • Mourning is not forgetting ... It is an undoing. Every minute tie has to be untied and something permanent and valuable recovered and assimilated from the knot.

  • Waiting is one of the great arts.

  • ... the relationship between the two men was something of a miracle in itself. It was a cordiality based, apparently, on complete non-comprehension cemented by a deep mutual respect for the utterly unknown. No two men saw less eye to eye and the result was unexpected harmony, as if a dog and a fish had mysteriously become friends and were proud each of the other's remarkable dissimilarity to himself.

  • Mrs. Gollie came into Luke's office as if she was hastening to the scene of some terrible personal disaster, or perhaps merely going on the stage.

  • ... the old fellow seemed to spot deceit as if it reeked like a goat.

  • Beware of anger. It is the most difficult to remove of all the hindrances. But it is the alcohol of the body, you know, and the devil of it is that it deadens the perceptions.

  • Chemists employed by the police can do remarkable things with blood. They can find it in shreds of cloth, in the interstices of floor boards, on the iron of a heel, and can measure it and swear to it and weave it into a rope to hang a man.

  • Good doctors get a mechanic's pleasure in making you tick over.

    • Margery Allingham,
    • in Nancy Spain, Why I'm Not a Millionaire ()
  • Rhoda is the kind of woman who digs up the mint outside her kitchen door two days after she has planted it, to find out if it has started to grow.

  • People don't alter. They may with enormous difficulty modify themselves, but they never really change.

  • She had one of those high-pitched apologetic voices which seemed to make every pronouncement sound like a spirit message, inconclusive but faintly ominous.

  • He was resigned and on the whole patient, like a man with a very old illness.

  • Mayo was anxious to leave and like so many enthusiasts seemed liable to turn a social escape into a jail break if anything threatened to hinder him.

  • It's some damned innocent. Some little head so full of wool it doesn't know it's bleating.

  • One policeman may be a friend, but two are the Law.

  • There are only two kinds of men who become dentists. The ones who love it and ones who get miserable. Think round and you'll see I'm right.

  • He was a vast red man with untidy hair, prominent eyes, and a loud voice. The state of his clothes suggested that he'd been dragged by the heels through some major disaster.

    • Margery Allingham,
    • Death at the Bar
    • ()
  • It's easy enough to make the truth look silly. A man never seems more foolish-like than he does when he's speaking his whole mind and heart.

    • Margery Allingham,
    • Death at the Bar
    • ()

Margery Allingham, English writer

(1904 - 1966)

Full name: Margery Louise Allingham Carter