Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh




16. A Man Lay Dead - book 1 in the Inspector Alleyn series
by Ngaio Marsh
mystery, 1934
Nook book 2
finished 3/26/12


I am now officially a Ngaio Marsh fan! I read the first Inspector Roderick Alleyn book in March, and I loved it. Marsh is considered one of the great writers of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, and now I know why. Her writing is crisp and clear, her characters well-drawn, and the mystery itself was a very good one. A number of guests have been invited to a country home and one of the entertainments is to be a game of murder. One person is to be the 'murderer' who shall choose his or her victim. When the murder occurs, the murderer is to ring the gong. The lights go out, the gong is rung, but instead of a game, a real murder has taken place.

Roderick Alleyn is educated and upper-class. He has connections with the aristocracy. He's an interesting character and I expect in the later books, the reader gets to know him better.

I did try the second in the series, The Nursing Home Murder but didn't finish. It involved a man who died just after an operation, and I just wasn't interested in all the medical details. I'll certainly pick up more by the author as time goes on.

17 comments:

  1. Oh - I'm so glad you've found Ngaio Marsh. Absolutely one of my favorites. And you're right -you do learn more of Allyn and his character develops over time. He is one of the few 'golden age' detectives that actually ages (although his age does not keep time with what it would be in the real world). Also, Marsh wrote continually until her death in 1982 so it is very interesting to watch times and trends from the late 30's to early 80's reflected in her writing. Can you tell that I'm a fan :) Happy reading! - Rebecca

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, I am really looking forward to more in the series.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I haven't read the book but I love the "art deco" cover design.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've been a fan off Ngaio Marsh for years although it's the earlier ones set in the 30s and 40s that I like best. Have you read any of Gladys Mitchell's 'Mrs Bradley' books? I have Rachel's book out and have started reading it now:) Have also ordered one of Gladys Taber's books 'Stillmeadow Sampler'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't! I saw a couple of the tv productions, but will try and find the first in the series. Thanks for recommendation.
      SS is wonderful! I can't tell you how pleased I am that you want to read the works of these women.

      Delete
  5. Do try Overture to Death or Vintage Murder! I much prefer her earlier novels.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I read her books years ago, checking them out from the library when we lived in Ruston. Our Bossier library has culled her books, but I think I'll add some of her books to my Amazon wish list-- I'd like to start with the first one and read through them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I so hate it when libraries do that. They are the repositories for old books. The new ones are everywhere and everyone knows about them. How will someone just come upon a Ngaio Marsh book on the shelves if they aren't there? I can't count how many authors I've found by browsing the aisles of the library. Makes me very sad to hear this.

      Delete
  7. I haven't read a Ngaio Marsh mystery in a long time, but your post has tempted me back. I turned to them after I ran out of Peter Wimsey mysteries. I love a good cozy mystery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That period of writing was truly 'golden!'

      Delete
  8. I've read one short story by her, and enjoyed it ("Death on the Air" if I remember right - it's on my short story list). I plan to look into her longer work as well. From what I did read of her work I liked how she established intricate relationships among her characters and also set up an intricate plot, where the murder had to be pulled off with exact timing. The result felt like a kind of dance.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I probably got an overdose of Allyn as I read too many of her books in a very short time - and grew a bit tired of them. It's perhaps time to reread, at least some of them.
    I've been reading Patricia Wentworth Miss Silver books lately - they are nice, although some of them resemble each other.
    Margaretha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard of that happening.
      I've not read Wentworth. That 'resembling' is always a concern in a series, isn't it.

      Delete
  10. Ah -- at last a Nan post that does not involve my ordering another book! But the reason is that I absolutely adore Ngaio Marsh and have already read everything she ever wrote! I picked up one of the books in a used book store around the time we started RV traveling (the cover said "Better than Christie"). I loved Roderick Allyn; made it my mission to read every one of the books --it was fun treasure hunting in used bookstores all over the country and a real score when I found a new one. And I was actually sad when I finished checking off my list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! I love thinking of you on your search!

      Delete

I am really going to try and respond to your comments as soon as they come in! Please do come back if you've asked a question.
Also, you may comment on any post, no matter how old, and I will see it.