Read: because Ngaio Marsh is awesome (Harper Collins, 304 pages, originally published in 1941)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (finished 7/28/10)
Synopsis: Ngaio Marsh’s most popular novel begins when a young New Zealander’s first contact with the English gentry is the body of Lord Wutherford — with a meat skewer through the eye. The Lampreys had plenty of charm — but no cash. They all knew they were peculiar — and rather gloried in it. The double and triple charades, for instance, with which they would entertain their guests — like rich but awful Uncle Gabriel, who was always such a bore. The Lampreys thought if they jollied him up he would bail them out — yet again. Instead, Uncle Gabriel met a violent end. And Chief Inspector Alleyn had to work our which of them killed him…
Overall Impression: I can see why this is one of Marsh’s more popular novels in the Roderick Alleyn Mystery series. There is much to like about the novel. So many of the characters are daft but absolutely loveable — and none of them have alibis. And then there are all the unlikeable characters — and none of them could have committed the murder. The murder is fairly grusome — a meat skewer through the eye … barf. All of this is wrapped up in a great little mysterious package. I did, however, miss Inspector Alleyn in this book though. He’s become one of my favorite characters in literature, and to have him show up more than halfway through the book felt wrong. It was like the plot took too long to get going and then wrapped up too quickly. But other than that, it was a great mystery. If you’re a fan of Agatha Christie, I implore you to check out Marsh. She’s a great mystery writer!
Pros: Absolutely delightful characters, some really fun bits involving twins, and references to New Zealand (Marsh is a Kiwi).
Cons: I missed Alleyn!
Other books I’ve read by Ngaio Marsh: (I read all these before starting this blog, so I have no reviews) A Man Lay Dead, Enter a Murderer, The Nursing Home Murder, Death in Ecstasy, Vintage Murder, Artists in Crime, Death in a White Tie, Overature to Death, and Death at the Bar.
Other blogger reviews: Jandy’s Reading Room