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Enter a Murderer (A Roderick Alleyn Mystery)
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Enter a Murderer (Roderick Alleyn #2)

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  2,901 Ratings  ·  160 Reviews
Final Performance

The Rat and the Beaver had been running for a week when Inspector Roderick Alleyn was given a complimentary ticket. He witnessed what the rest of the audience thought was the finest performance ever given by Arthur Surbonadier, an embittered second-rate actor. But Alleyn knew that Surbonadier wasn’t acting, that he had died as the curtain fell… that the ph
Mass Market Paperback, Berkley Medallion Book, 255 pages
Published January 1963 by Berkley Publishing Corporation (first published 1935)
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Bill  Kerwin

Ngaio Marsh is a mystery writer with style, and in this early book she and Inspector Alleyn are in their element--the theatre. Her character sketches of the members of the theatre troupe are particularly fine.
Feb 27, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book featuring Chief Detective-Inspector Roderick Alleyn. In this mystery, Alleyn is invited to the theatre by journalist friend, Nigel Bathgate, who he met in the first adventure, “A Man Lay Dead.” Again, Bathgate knows one of the principal characters, in this case the leading man, Felix Gardener. During the play, Gardener is supposed to pretend to shoot Arthur Surbonadier, fellow actor, nephew of the theatre owner, disgruntled loser of the leading part and rival for the hand ...more
1935, #2 Chief Detective-Inspector Roderick Alleyn, London; first of her eight theatre-centered novels, old-fashioned but nicely sly; classic theatre mystery - really three-and-a-half stars, not four.

Arthur Surbonadier was a rotter who happened to also be a pretty good, not great, actor. Passed over for a role that he thought was his, *ought* to have been his, he resorts to several nefarious methods to push out the Nice Guy actor Felix Gardiner, who did get the role. And both of them are "intere
Roderick Alley series:
3* A Man Lay Dead (Roderick Alleyn, #1)
3* Enter a Murderer (Roderick Alleyn, #2)
4* Death in a White Tie (Roderick Alleyn, #7)
3* Death of a Peer (Roderick Alleyn, #10)
3* Death and the Dancing Footman (Roderick Alleyn, #11)
3* Night at the Vulcan (Roderick Alleyn, #16)
3* When in Rome (Roderick Alleyn, #26)
TR The Nursing Home Murder (Roderick Alleyn, #3)
TR Death in Ecstasy (Roderick Alleyn, #4)
TR Vintage Murder (Roderick Alleyn, #5)
TR Artists in Crime (Roderick Alleyn,
Jann Barber
Feb 17, 2012 Jann Barber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Our mystery book club is reading books by Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, and a few other authors for March. I have several of Ngaio Marsh's books in the Roderick Alleyn series and decided to revisit them.

The word that popped into my mind was "clean." I like Marsh's writing and it seems clean to me.

In this particular entry, Alleyn is invited to the theater by one of his friends, a journalist. Prior to the opening of the curtain, Alleyn is treated to introductions backstage of some of the actors and
Dec 08, 2013 Gary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ngaio Marsh is very famous but, although her plots are well conceived, her dialogue is so over the top and pretentious that it makes her books difficult to read. Surely, even in the 1930's people just did not talk like this.
Anthony Maiella
Oct 12, 2016 Anthony Maiella rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enter a Murderer was a greatly entertaining mystery book with a twist. This is second of 32 mystery novels by Ngaio Marsh, Enter a Murderer establishes Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn as a leading detective to solve these mysteries. Enter a Murderer opens at the Unicorn Theater with a stage drama that calls for murder and it was a great opening to this story The book keeps you coming back to keep reading and reading, with lots of twist and turns and lots cliffhanger. I love murder mystery that k ...more
Classic 'golden era' mystery in the grand tradition of Backstage Intrigue. Here the murder itself is accomplished onstage, in full performance with costumed cast and paying audience in attendance.

"They at once sensed the indescribable flavour of the working half of a theatre when the nightly show is coming on. The stage door opens into a little realm, strange or familiar, but always apart and shut in. The passage led directly on to the stage, which was dimly lit and smelt of dead scene paint, o
I have read a couple of Marsh's Inspector Alleyn novels and really enjoyed them. One of the things that stood out for me about this one was the fact that most of it was from the point of view of someone other than the detective. Alleyn goes to the theater with a friend of his who is a journalist and during the play one of the actors is murdered onstage. The journalist is also friends with one of the actors who was involved in the scene where the murder occurred and ends up helping Alleyn in the ...more
Mar 28, 2010 Surreysmum rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 1985
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 23, 2014 Ali rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published in 1935 Enter a Murderer was the second novel to feature Chief Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn. Over the last few years I have read quite a number of Marsh’s Alleyn novels, but I don’t think it matters that I haven’t been reading them in the right order. This novel finds us in Ngaio Marsh’s beloved theatre – a world she was very much at home in and which played an important part in her life. Several of Nagio Marsh’s novels have a theatrical setting; a setting I do think suits ...more
Marsh fooled me, again, but with Enter A Murderer I honestly feel like I could (and should) have figured it out. I know Marsh is famous for her theatre settings, but the setting in this novel didn't attract me in the least. If the murder had occurred during the performance of an actual play, maybe Shakespeare, instead of 'The Rat and the Beaver,' I would most probably have been more intrigued. Roderick Alleyn was at the top of his game, and I felt that he started to develop as a character, espec ...more
Nancy Butts
Dec 19, 2014 Nancy Butts rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This is the second Roderick Alleyn mystery, and the first of several set in the theatre, a world that Marsh knew well from her own work in drama. This is the first of two books set at the Unicorn Theatre, and one can see that Marsh is still experimenting with Alleyn, trying to settle on his personality. He is a vastly different person in this book than he becomes in later novels: much more facetious, almost ridiculous at times though she didn’t intend that. And the reporter Nigel Bathgate makes ...more
Jun 06, 2014 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
I found this a bit more engaging than the first book, and more plausible besides in the way the murder is worked out, but I'm still not sure what I think of Marsh's work, or perhaps specifically Alleyn. I haven't got a handle on him at all; I can never quite tell what he's meant to be thinking, what he'll do, and whether he thinks it's awful fun or perfectly awful, except when we're directly told. Perhaps the alternating, alienating POVs of him and then Bathgate don't help there. For all that th ...more
Enter a Murderer by Ngaio Marsh.

The author copyrighted this novel in 1935 making all others following imitation of this scenario. This book remains the original.

Chief Detective Inspector Alleyn has been invited to attend a new play by his old chum Nigel Bathgate who had received two tickets by one of the actors. Then the unthinkable happens and an actor is killed on stage. But is it part of the play gone awry or is it murder?

I especially enjoy Marsh's character of Inspector Alleyn. The occasiona
Jul 29, 2016 Andree rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
This one worked less well for me. Nigel has less of a reason to be involved in this murder, so is a slightly odd narrator. And Alleyn is a bit... I don't know, there's something not quite clicking with his personality. He's oddly remote all the time, and then there are these weird sparks of playfulness that seem to be out of character. Also seemingly out of character, his sudden moment of intense attraction to the lead actress in the play, who is also one of the suspects. Not because a detective ...more
Marsh uses her extensive theater experience as the setting for the second book in her Roderick Alleyn series. A satisfying read, and Nigel (from the first book) is back, and I am a fan of Nigel. No idea if he appears in other books, but I hope so.
Julie Barrett
I'm a sucker for old mysteries - this one is from 1935. I love reading about advanced police methods like fingerprinting haha. The setting is a mix of modern and old fashioned - the twenties & thirties really straddled 2 eras and I think that makes them fascinating. One insult in the book was calling someone Edwardian. Oooh, snap! My favorite bit of the story was the plot line concerning "heroin parties" at Oxford. I imagined them like the marijuana party in Reefer Madness. One would think a ...more
Karyn Silverman
Jan 19, 2017 Karyn Silverman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nook, 2017-reads
Very happy Nigel is back in sidekick role, because I like the gentle humor in the relationship between he and CID Alleyn. Another absorbing and wonderfully fast mystery. I 100% did not suspect the murderer, which was fun. Off to download book 3 now...
Nov 22, 2016 Christa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-challenge
Marsh's books are satisfying and quick reads. The mystery is engaging and I like that it's solved in under 300 pages. I'm still working on understanding Alleyn's sense of humor and personality but I will certainly keep reading this series.
Nov 22, 2016 Nell rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nell by: SMM
Shelves: mystery
I didn't like it as much as the first one, but enough to keep going with the series. The reference to "Hitlerism," said in jest (if sarcastically), a bit unsettling, especially in view of our recent election. The book was first published in 1935. Standards of policing have certainly risen; I can't imagine that journalists today are allowed to tag along on investigations and even interviews of suspects. Very rum indeed.
I'm currently attempting to neutralize stress by compulsively reading British golden age mysteries. This was a fun one! I like Inspector Alleyn -- I'll definitely stick with this series.
First Sentence: On May 25th Arthur Surbonadier, whose real name was Arthur Simes, went to visit his uncle, Jacob Saint, whose real name was Jacob Simes.

When Inspector Roderick Alleyn accepts an invitation to the theater from his friend, newspaper journalist Nigen Bathgate, he doesn’t expect to be witness to a murder. During a scene in the play, actors Arthur Surbonadier and Felix Gardner struggle over a gun.

The gun had been loaded by Arthur but, in the struggle, fired by Felix and Arthur dies.
Sep 18, 2016 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I re-read it, though not a thoroughly as the first time
Kimberly Ann

A theater company run by a dubious sort, powerful & brash. A leading lady who is always "on stage". A leading man who is more than that to the leading lady. A disgruntled 2nd man, nephew to the theater owner, trying a spot of blackmail & still in love w/ the leading lady. Chief Detective-Inspector Alleyn on the scene and a witness to the murder. Nigel Bathgate, newspaper reporter & friend of CDI Alleyn, he too was at the scene.

During a performance of the West End hit, The Rat and the
Book Concierge
Chief Detective-Inspector Roderick Alleyn accepts his journalist friend’s, Nigel Bathgate, invitation for a night of theatre to see a hit mystery play. But the actors and audience are all surprised when the play’s villain is shot not with blanks but with a live cartridge which someone has slipped into the prop gun. Alleyn has, of course, witnessed the event, and he’s immediately on hand to begin the investigation and ensure no one leaves the theater without being questioned, but there are no eas ...more
Uno dei lavori più significativi di Edith Ngaio Marsh, grande e conosciutissima scrittrice di detective story inglese, precedentemente pubblicato nella collana Giallo Mondadori, "Delitto a Teatro" è un romanzo veloce, intrigante e molto scorrevole che non potrà che affascinare tutti gli amanti dei romanzi gialli classici.

Ci troviamo in uno dei casi dell'ispettore capo di Scoltland Yard Roderick Alleyn che, convinto di godersi una semplice serata a teatro, si ritroverà ad assistere all'omicidio d
Jan 16, 2010 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Throughly entertaining read; in my experience of reading Marsh novels, this is beaten only by Night at the Vulcan and Swing, Brother, Swing. The most enjoyable aspect of Enter A Murderer is Alleyn's central role here; unlike many of her contemporaries, Marsh often produces whodunnits where her detective is hardly the focus andhis appearance is almost an afterthought. Here, however, Alleyn is the focal figure from beginning to end, and it is wonderful getting to know him better.

Alleyn is the type
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in August 2001.

The earliest Ngaio Marsh novels have a rather tentative air which probably would not be tolerated by publishers today. This, her third and the first with a theatrical setting, is the one in which she really hit her stride.

The plot is simple. Journalist Nigel Bathgate, who appears in many of the early novels, takes Inspector Alleyn to a West End play. It is a thriller, which climaxes with a shooting. But this particular night, someone has switch
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English Mysteries...: March 2014 - Enter a Murderer 61 166 Apr 01, 2014 05:30PM  
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Dame Ngaio Marsh, born Edith Ngaio Marsh, was a New Zealand crime writer and theatre director. There is some uncertainty over her birth date as her father neglected to register her birth until 1900, but she was born in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Of all the "Great Ladies" of the English mystery's golden age, including Margery Allingham, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh
More about Ngaio Marsh...

Other Books in the Series

Roderick Alleyn (1 - 10 of 32 books)
  • A Man Lay Dead (Roderick Alleyn, #1)
  • The Nursing Home Murder (Roderick Alleyn, #3)
  • Death in Ecstasy (Roderick Alleyn, #4)
  • Vintage Murder (Roderick Alleyn, #5)
  • Artists in Crime (Roderick Alleyn, #6)
  • Death in a White Tie (Roderick Alleyn, #7)
  • Overture to Death (Roderick Alleyn, #8)
  • Death at the Bar (Roderick Alleyn, #9)
  • Death of a Peer (Roderick Alleyn, #10)
  • Death and the Dancing Footman (Roderick Alleyn, #11)

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“With a slightly accentuated jaw-line, Inspector Alleyn advanced to the footlights and gazed into the swimming darkness of the stalls. "Mr. Bathgate," he said. Silence. "Mr. Bathgate," lied Alleyn, "I can see you." "You're not looking in my direction at all," declared an indignant voice. "Come” 0 likes
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