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review 2019-01-09 04:43
Enter a Murderer (Roderick Alleyn #2)
Enter a Murderer - Ngaio Marsh

I've had Ngaio Marsh on my TBR pile for a few years now, and kept putting her off because the titles I have are all related to acting (Marsh herself being a former actress), and the stage and it's behind-the-scenes drama doesn't interest me much.  Still, she's a Golden Age writer of note, and I was determined to give the books a try.

 

I got off to a rough start; Golden Age writers generally have a very different writing style from most of today's fiction.  More staccato, more concise, and it takes me a period of adjustment to find the rhythm.  Enter a Murderer felt like that adjustment period took longer than usual, but once I found the groove, it was easy reading.

 

Alleyn has pale shades of Holmes about him; he's a thinking man's detective, and he likes to hold the clues close.  This was not a fair play mystery, though it was written smack in the middle of the era of Fair Play.  Still, I liked Alleyn well enough and I quite liked his sidekick, Nigel Bathgate.

 

The plot was, perhaps, trying too hard to be clever.  By the end (after the reveal) it's obvious what Marsh was aiming for, and it was an admirable goal, but achieving it required a fair amount of convoluted plotting.  I don't know if it didn't work for me because it was overdone, or because it required too much time with the secondary characters, all stereotypical stage actors of one sort or another, and hence, unreliable in the extreme.  Either way, I was unable to buy the motive, although I did enjoy the ride for the most part.

 

I have a few other Marsh books on the TBR pile, and I'll happily read them; there's enough here to peak my interest, if not quite enough to spark my devotion.

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text 2018-11-23 17:17
24 Festive Tasks: Door 8 - Penance Day, Task 1 (Comfort Reads)
The Complete Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle
Poirot: The Complete Battles of Hastings, Vol. 1 - Agatha Christie
Poirot: The Complete Battles of Hastings, Vol. 2 - Agatha Christie
Gaudy Night - Dorothy L. Sayers
A Man Lay Dead / Enter a Murderer / The Nursing Home Murder (The Ngaio Marsh Collection) - Ngaio Marsh
The Clock Strikes Twelve - Patricia Wentworth
Envious Casca - Georgette Heyer
Margery Allingham Omnibus: Includes Sweet Danger, The Case of the Late Pig, The Tiger in the Smoke - Margery Allingham
The Great Detectives - JULIAN SYMONS,TOM ADAMS
The Golden Age of Murder - Martin Edwards

It's probably no secret that my comfort reads are Golden Age mysteries -- I'm slowly making my way through the works of the members of the Detection Club, including the forgotten and recently republished ones, but most of all, I keep coming back to, again and again:

 

Arthur Conan Doyle / Sherlock Holmes: Still the grand master -- both the detective and his creator -- that no serious reader of mysteries can or should even try to side-step.  I've read, own, and have reread countless times all 4 novels and 56 short stories constituting the Sherlock Holmes canon, and am now making my way through some of the better-known /-reputed Holmes pastiches (only to find -- not exactly to my surprise -- that none of them can hold a candle to the original), as well as Conan Doyle's "non-Holmes" fiction.

 

And, of course --

 

The Golden Age Queens of Crime

Agatha Christie: Like Sherlock Holmes, part of my personal canon from very early on.  I've read and, in many cases, reread more than once and own (largely as part of a series of anniversary omnibus editions published by HarperCollins some 10 years ago) all of Agatha Christie's novels and short stories published under this name, as well as her autobiography, with only those of her books published under other names (e.g., the Mary Westmacott romances) left to read.

 

Dorothy L. Sayers: My mom turned me onto Sayers when I was in my teens, and I have never looked back.  I've read all of her Lord Peter Wimsey novels and short stories, volume 1 of her collected letters (which covers her correspondence from childhood to the end of her career as a mystery writer), and some of her non-Wimsey short stories and essays.  Gaudy Night and the two addresses jointly published under the title Are Women Human? are among my all-time favorite books; not least because they address women's position in society decades before feminism even became a mass movement to be reckoned with, and with a validity vastly transcending both Sayers's own lifetime and our own. -- Next steps: The remainder of Sayers's non-Wimsey stories and of her essays, as well as her plays.

 

Ngaio Marsh: A somewhat later entry into my personal canon, but definitely a fixture now.  I've read all of her Inspector Alleyn books and short stories and reread many of them.  Still on my TBR: her autobiography (which happily is contained in the last installments of the series of 3-book-each omnibus volumes I own).

 

Patricia Wentworth: Of the Golden Age Queens of Crime, the most recent entry into my personal canon.  I'd read two books by her a few years ago and liked one a lot, the other one considerably less, but Tigus expertly steered the resident mystery fans on Booklikes to all the best entries in the Miss Silver series, which I'm now very much looking forward to completing -- along with some of Wentworth's other fiction.

 

Georgette Heyer: I'm not a romance reader, so I doubt that I'll ever go anywhere near her Regency romances.  But I'm becoming more and more of a fan of her mysteries; if for no other reason than that nobody, not even Agatha Christie, did viciously bickering families as well as her.

 

Margery Allingham: I'm actually more of a fan of Albert Campion as portrayed by Peter Davison in the TV adaptations of some of Allingham's mysteries than of her Campion books as such, but I like at least some of those well enough to eventually want to complete the series -- God knows I've read enough of them at this point for the completist in me to have kicked in long ago.  I've also got Allingham's very first novel, Blackerchief Dick (non-Campion; historical fiction involving pirates) sitting on my audio TBR.

 

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review 2018-11-07 15:32
Artists in Crime
Artists in Crime - Ngaio Marsh

I really had a hard time getting into this book as it started on a cruise and then moved to English countryside with the detective being called back from vacation early to look into a murder of an artist's model on her throne. 

 

While the book provided some good information about artists and their ways of working and was okay, I just couldn't get into the story. I even had to use audio to finish the story. 

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review 2018-04-19 15:32
The Nursing Home Murder by Ngaio Marsh
The Nursing Home Murder - Ngaio Marsh

Because this one involves the murder of the Home Secretary, which is apparently a cabinet level position in the British Government (it seems to correspond loosely to a combination of the Secretary of State and the Head of Homeland Security, near as wikipedia can help me to figure out), it is one of the featured books in Chapter 12 of TSCC100, Playing Politics. 

 

This is also the third Inspector Alleyn mystery, but is the first one that I've read. I am reserving judgment overall because it was obvious to me that there was a backstory to the characters that I didn't have.

 

The mystery itself was fun - by the time Inspector Alleyn gets called out to the deceased Home Secretary, who died on the operating table from a septic appendix, pretty much everyone is a suspect. He's been getting threatening letters from the local anarchists and Bolsheviks, and he's broken it off with a mistress who is taking it badly and who just happens to be, along with his former friend and hopeful swain of the above mentioned mistress, the nurse and surgeon, respectively. They've both recently threatened him because the nurse is not handling the rejection with equanimity. And then we have his rather bizarre wife, a Leninst nurse, and an anesthetist who is disturbingly fond of a hands on approach to eugenics.

 

I didn't get the relationship between Alleyn and Nigel Bathgate at all, and the relationship with his fiancee, the fair Angela even less. I think I need more data in order to draw any conclusions. It was enjoyable, but a bit farcical.

 

Unfortunately, the solution to the crime was just plain bad. I had to read the last two chapters three times before I was able to really absorb what had happened, and at the end I was still just puzzled about the entire thing.

 

 

Allrighty then.

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text 2018-04-01 03:07
Kill Your Darlings - Yellow Team (Round 11, 12 & 13-Finale)
The Masked City - Genevieve Cogman
The Burning Page - Genevieve Cogman
The Lost Plot - Genevieve Cogman
The Last Apprentice: Lure of the Dead (The Last Apprentice / Wardstone Chronicles, #10) - Joseph Delaney,Christopher Evan Welch
Death in a White Tie - Benedict Cumberbatch,Ngaio Marsh

Round 11
>>Collected COD- Stabbed w/ a Sword- Read The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman

(Silver on Cover)


>>Collected CS- Green Dragon Pub- Read The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman

(Three Word Title)

 


Round 12
>>Collected Victim- Atticus Finch- Read The Lost Page by Genevieve Cogman

(Author Last Name Begins with C in Finch)


>>Collected COD- Bow & Arrow- Read Lure of the Dead by Joseph Delaney

(Teenage Hero)

 



Round 13
>>Collected COD- Dark Alley Beat Down- Read Death in a White Tie by Ngaio Marsh

(Book written between 1925-1975)

 

 

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