Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Vintage Murder (Roderick Alleyn, #5)” as Want to Read:
Vintage Murder (Roderick Alleyn, #5)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Vintage Murder (Roderick Alleyn #5)

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  884 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Death served well-chilled

The leading lady of a theater company touring New Zealand was stunningly beautiful. No one-including her lover-understood why she married the company's pudgy producer. But did she rig a huge jeroboam of champagne to kill her husband during a cast party?

Did her sweetheart? Or was another villain waiting in the wings? On a holiday down under, Inspect...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 15th 1999 by Minotaur Books (first published 1937)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Vintage Murder, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Vintage Murder

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,292)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Yngvild
Vintage Murder is one of four Ngaio Marsh murder mysteries set in New Zealand, although there is little to show that. A Maori doctor and a couple of local policemen have walk-on parts, and there is a very nice account of a picnic trip Commander Dalgliesh takes into the countryside as part of his holiday. Other than that, the characters are all members of an English acting company touring New Zealand. The story might as well be set in Bournemouth.

The pleasure in this story is Ngaio Marsh’s descr...more
Sara
Mar 08, 2011 Sara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of good writing, classic detective fiction, anglophiles
Recommended to Sara by: Me - I used to read her years ago, had forgotten how good she is!
A nicely plotted murder, with a satisfying number of red herrings and some fun theatrical characters!
The thing about Marsh is, she really could write. And she knew her theater inside out, and liked the right stuff.

For instance, this quote: "when he spoke, one forgot his age, for his voice was quite beautiful: deep, and exquisitely modulated. He was one of that company of old actors that are only found in the West End of London. They still believe in using their voices as instruments, they spea...more
Nikki
As with the other books, this is a nice little mystery with a carefully set up puzzle. It relies on all sorts of coincidence and such, but at least we're seeing more of Alleyn as a person, and the omnipresent Nigel Bathgate has not contrived to get himself into Alleyn's pocket for his holiday.

From what I gather, the setting here is close to Marsh's heart in two ways: it's set in New Zealand, and in the context of a theatrical company. That gives it some good moments of description: there's one i...more
Lemar
How had I missed Ngaio Marsh for so long? It must have been the silent 'g' that hinted at a dry British superiority that in fact could not be further from the truth. This is a hip, funny, clever mystery that takes place in a theater, a setting Marsh knew and brings fully to life. Vintage Murder unfolds in New Zealand. Wikipedia informed me that Marsh was born there so I was intrigued to read the only one of her mysteries set there.

Vintage Murder was written in 1937 and in many instances shows h...more
Shannon Teper
Vintage Murder was a satisfying who-done-it with an interesting setting (a touring theatre company goes to New Zealand), an unusual method of murder (a gigantic bottle of champagne is rigged to crash down upon the victim's head), and a variety of interesting suspects with enough plausible motives to keep one guessing. To keep up with the characters and their movements, I frequently consulted the handy character list and map of the crime scene at the front of the book, which caused a lot of page...more
Bev Taylor
written over 70 years ago. no, the vintage does not refer to this but a jeraboum of champagne used as a murder weapon (what a waste of bubbles!)

chief inspector alleyn is on extended leave in n.z. and whilst on a train meets a travelling theatre group and they invite him to the theatre for a showing. here, a surprise birthday party for the owner's wife ends in his own death when a stage prop mal functions

to be honest i found this too old school for me - probably been spoilt by the present day t...more
Leslie
Enjoyable outing with Alleyn in this fifth entry in the series.

Alleyn is in New Zealand, where he is on holiday recuperating from surgery (injured on the job?? I'll have to go back and look at #4!). On the boat from England, and then on the train in N.Z., he travelled along side a group of actors, including Miss Susan Max. The manager of the group is murdered after a performance one evening while Alleyn is there (amongst others) to celebrate the birthday of the leading lady (who is also the man...more
Abbey
1937, #5 Roderick Alleyn, CID, on holiday in New Zealand; cosy police procedural, theatrical, classic. Good book, poor narration.

A nice little man dies a horrible death as he attempts a surprise gift for his beloved wife, lead actress in his touring company of Artistes. Death in the theater, as only Dame Ngaio can do it, plus some lovely comments on life in NZ. Her obvious affection for NZ, and her simultaneous enjoyment of artistic types and annoyance with them, all shine through, in this tight...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in March 1998.

This is one of Ngaio Marsh's best crime novels, and was the fifth to feature Roderick Alleyn as the detective. He is travelling in New Zealand on holiday, and meets up with a touring theatre company from England. At a birthday party in honour of the leading lady, her husband is killed when a surprise he had planned goes horribly wrong: a jeroboam of champagne which should have lowered from above the stage to land in a nest of ferns in front of h...more
John
A solid, early Inspector Alleyn mystery. The inspector is on holiday in New Zealand, and finds himself traveling by train with an English theater troupe, and decamps for a few days in the town in which they are to give their first antipodal performances. When one of the two owners of the company is killed, the inspector, despite his desire to stay out of it, finds himself helping the local police solve the murder.

Great stuff. Alleyn is as always the consumate gentleman detective, and I so like h...more
Michelle
2.5 stars

Vintage Murder was told in third person although it focused heavily on Roderick Alleyn, who was on holiday after a major operation. The setting was New Zealand but the majority of the casts were English except for the detectives investigating the case and Doctor Te Pokiha. The scenery description was good and you could feel the authenticity. Also, the slang and phraseology used by the people of New Zealand were frequently shown here. After all, the author was a native New Zealander. It...more
Kiera Healy
This is the best Marsh that I've read so far, although it's still not without problems. In this one, Inspector Alleyn is on holiday (so thankfully rid of the annoying Nigel Bathgate) in Marsh's native New Zealand. There are a lot of nice touches that stem from Marsh's love of her country: the dialogue is peppered with "good-oh" and "dinkum", there's a sly comment or two about how New Zealanders hate being mistaken for Aussies, and there's quite a bit about Maori culture, which I appreciated. Tha...more
Alger
Classic smooth clue driven mystery. The engaging and all too human Inspector Alleyn falls in with a perhaps too stereotypically eccentric and divided troupe of actors. One gets the impression from these novels that casual murder carried out with insidious cunning was an ever present danger of life in England and her colonies between the wars, and only the lucky coincidence of a visiting inspector of New Scotland Yard prevented evil from getting away. In this case, Alleyn caught the baddie and Ma...more
Starfish
I'm not sure whether this is excitement at the discovery of a mystery that has all the elements I enjoy in a Golden Age whodunnit, or gratitude to Marsh for writing about New Zealand in a way, that if self-conscious, is understandably so, and reminds me of an era I never knew, but is engrained in me as much as any part of New Zealand is -- which sounds affected and makes no sense, but there you are. There's just something about reading Ngaio Marsh talk about New Zealand that makes me nostalgic f...more
Writerlibrarian
This was above average Marsh. Inspector Alleyn is on vacation, following a sick leave from Scotland Yard, it's hinted that he had a surgery of some sort. New Zealand is the place, Marsh knows it pretty well since it's her country where a Theater Company on tour finds itself with a huge problem. The Company's manager dies after getting bashed on the head with a vintage champagne bottle. Alleyn tries to play it safe and not interfere with the local investigation but once a detective always a detec...more
P.d.r. Lindsay
I love the old school, the original writers of whodunits. Ngaio Marsh is an excellent wordsmith, creates tricky whodunit plots and Roderick (Rory) Alleyn is a delightful character.

'Vintage murder' is one of her early novels and is a charming read. Sex is very properly not mentioned, gentlemen tip their hats to ladies, and cads and bounders abound. It's a stylish novel of its time yet enjoyable today.

On holiday in New Zealand Rory meets up with a theatre group from the UK doing a tour of New Zea...more
Sorcha
Number 5 in the Alleyn series, and it's pre-Troy. Alleyn takes a long holiday to New Zealand, falls in with a touring acting company and gets pulled into investigating the murder of one of the Company's owners.

The book sets up characters that are repeated in later books (e.g. the Noble Aboriginal Doctor). As usual the investigations take part over the following 48 hours after the death of the main character and there is a lot of interviewing of the secondary characters, including the dead man's...more
Katie Hilton
Vintage Alleyn, visiting New Zealand, witnesses a murder after a theater performance. Marsh is at her best, dealing with some of her favorite themes. This book precedes "Artists in Crime," in which Alleyn meets and falls in love with his future wife, as he is leaving New Zealand to return to England. A good read.
Georgene
Another offering from Ngaio Marsh with her leading character, Chief Detective Roderick Alleyn. Set in New Zealand in an indeterminate time, a murder committed with a jeroboam of champagne is the case to be solved among a company of English actors touring New Zealand.
Elizabeth Manwell
Not the best of Marsh's novels, some of which are exquisite. But Alleyn never disappoints, and Marsh's insider's knowledge of the theatre make this a pleasure for those interested in looking behind the scenes, while enjoying a good yarn.
George
#5 in the New Scotland Yard Inspector Roderick Alleyn mystery series. Alleyn is traveling in New Zealand starting a vacation and becomes involved in murder in a traveling actors performing company similar to his earlier ENTER A MURDERER case in London. Alleyn finds himself working with the local New Zealand police to help solve the murder as well as discovering the Maori culture and New Zealand's scenery.

It is a good mystery which stretched out the investigative process of talking to all the peo...more
Mary Lauer
We get to learn more of Alleyn. Can't wait for Troy's introduction in #6! also, love the New Zealand stuff.
Kate  K. F.
This is an early Alleyn mystery which is clear in the style of writing and some of the interactions. One thing that makes it stand out for me is how this book shows a lot of Marsh's love for New Zealand and the theatrical world through Alleyn's eyes. Marsh spent most of her life working in the theater in New Zealand and in this short mystery captures the feeling of a small troupe and the beauty of New Zealand. I wouldn't use this book to begin reading Marsh's works but it is a pleasure to read h...more
Sarah
I always enjoy a Marsh mystery. Summer called for me to read at least one.
Rog Harrison
I actually am reading the omnibus which contains "Death in ecstasy" and "Artists in crime" but it seems simpler to review them separately.

I do remember reading this one in my youth but I could not remember whodunnit. Chief Inspector Alleyn is on holiday in New Zealand and gets involved helping the local police in a murder at a theatre. I will be honest and admit that I did not quite grasp how the murderer had managed to do the deed unnoticed even though Ngaio Marsh had drawn a plan of the theatr...more
aPriL loves HalLowEen
The writing is gorgeous in spots. Marsh is stretching her wings and finally taking flight as a genre author with her own voice. It strikes me that she may have found her detective star boring, since Alleyn had to be the strong noble aristocrat at all times, so Marsh really let herself go with her suspects' characters. For me, the best part of most of her novels is the oddball people who could also be murderers. However, I find myself recognizing Marsh suspects as I chat with real people, so doub...more
Rose Blum
I think that I like Ngaio Marsh's name more that her books!!!
Viji
Nice read.
Kelly
Very broad strokes. Marsh has a tendency to provide everyone with motive or opportunity and then at the very end make it seem ludicrous that anyone but whodunnit would have acted on said motive or have reasonably been able to kill in the opportune window. I don't know, between this one and Picture Perfect I'm starting to sour a bit on these. Still some terrific period dialogue, for whatever that's worth. Oh and I do love it when a map is required to figure it out - more maps, please!
Sarah
It's an AC!torly one, with a deadly JEROBOAM of champagne. Great fun for a while but runs out of steam towards the conclusion.

I probably like Enter a Murderer and Light Thickens slightly more out of the theatrical ones, but honestly, not much to quibble with here. Even the laid on heavily NZ dialects don't bother me, although ymmv as some feel they are CROOK.

Alleyn is not yet married to Troy and is a DOG. Love it.

And did I mention the DEADLY JEROBOAM?
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 43 44 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Black Plumes
  • The Case Is Closed (Miss Silver, #2)
  • The Documents in the Case
68144
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
More about Ngaio Marsh...
A Man Lay Dead (Roderick Alleyn, #1) Death in a White Tie (Roderick Alleyn, #7) Death of a Peer (Roderick Alleyn, #10) Artists in Crime (Roderick Alleyn, #6) Clutch of Constables (Roderick Alleyn, #25)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“There are people to whom one need not show off. It’s a great comfort sometimes.” 4 likes
“can remember. How did it” 0 likes
More quotes…